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View Diary: Is it time for the Media Ownership Reform Act, again? (30 comments)

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  •  Media Businesses Are True Modern Robber Barons (2+ / 0-)
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    Brecht, jamess

    Media ownership reform is an absolutely essential start, but I don't think it addresses the core problem.

    The original robber barons were European lords whose castles taxed and regulated river traffic.

    The core traffic of the information age being information, it's the owners of our all-private-property information infrastructure who wear the mantle of Robber Barons in our time.

    The problem was not solved by ownership regulation of Robber Barons and highwaymen and high seas privateers, preventing them from accumulating too much market share.

    The problem was solved by a quantum leap in property right concept, recognizing that society required a vast public commons for transportation of goods, services and information that could not be claimed and operated as private property by anyone. Those who tried to do so were proclaimed "pirates" and prosecuted as criminals.

    Clearly the press business is protected by the 1st ammendment. But so is the right to own "arms" by the 2nd. Yet we recognize the need to progressively limit and curtail that right as weapons grow in power beyond anything the framers could have conceived, with the ability to target masses of people over distance and time.

    Beyond media ownership reform we need to recognize a fundamental need for free or trivial-cost nonprofit communication to society on a constant basis, not just during election campaigns.

    No snappy answers here but we're never going to have much of a role for the people so long as the discussion is merely which and how many lords own and operate the common reality we share.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 04:16:54 PM PDT

    •  you raise some good points (1+ / 0-)
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      you raise some good points:

      about "the property right concept" as it applies to information.

      and the need for a "quantum leap in property right concept"

      This is indeed an over-riding issue, that rides the rails of the information highway,
      no matter who built, or now holds the lease to the railways.

      Google probably more than anything, has enabled the "great democratization of information" that we have all benefited from in the last decade.

      I dread to think, what would happen to "this cultural freedom of information"
      if toll booths were installed, to regulate passage of each idea that crosses over the rails.

      as bad as that thought is, a bigger issue that I worry about though is:

      For many, especially for those not internet savy, the Media IS their source of info on the World!

      The Media tells the great masses of viewers, what to think, and what's important, and what is not.

      It is the lack of "critical thinking", and the general "dumbing down" of society,
      that allows the "Robber Barons" to continue to get away with their priateering.

      I saw it on TV -- SO it must be true!

      (Just watch a few of Jay Leno's segments that he calls Jay Walking,
      if you need any evidence of how much the "value of information" among society at large, has been deflated)

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