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"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

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“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Link

Josh Marshall articulates something that's been in the back of my mind for a while but that I couldn't quite pin down:

Which gets me to the larger point about the mainstream media. Let me start by defining terms. We are talking about large news organizations which at least purport to be apolitical in their editorial outlook and are owned and controlled by large corporations. People have lots of different definitions of the "MSM". But I think this is the most valuable one for present purposes.

Two things to keep in mind: all of these organizations have business models which are based on appealing to people across the political spectrum. So for instance, CNN cannot afford in business terms to get too out of sync with Trump and his supporters. (This is one of the big points about the campaign. Trump harped continuously on CNN but it was in fact one of his most accommodating news organizations. It even hired a group of bespoke supporters as pundits for the duration of the campaign. He harped on them because he saw them correctly as the most vulnerable.) Second and just as important, every big media organization and especially every big diversified corporation that owns a media organization have lots and lots of business before the federal government all the time. Even for broadcast TV networks alone there are regulations about how many local stations they can own. Telecoms like Comcast, which owns NBC, have a long, long list of business before the government.
(Emphasis in original.)

The government and the business sector are so intertwined -- and not just in lobbying and the "revolving door" between the two, but also just in the normal course of each taking care of its business -- that it's inevitable that government -- being, in bare bones respects, the more powerful -- is going to influence the workings of the media. There's been a lot of bitching since the Reagan years about news organizations soft-pedaling their criticisms of the government for fear of losing access. And now various news organizations have become more partisan, also affecting their coverage and the impartiality of their reporting.

I suspect we're about to see a lot of more that.

Read Marshall's full piece.

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