Diversity in Media

Tuesday, January 7, 2003

“Having seen how totalitarian regimes moved the world to war through domination of their news media, the government during the 1940’s put restrictions on how many news media outlets one company could own, both nationally and in a single city.

“Though those rules have been relaxed in the last 20 years, companies are still blocked from buying a newspaper and television station in the same city or from owning more than one TV station in the same market.

“Three weeks after it proposed eliminating those rules, the F.C.C. released a series of reports about the current media marketplace. But the reports focused almost entirely on the economic impact of relaxing the ownership rules. They largely ignore the public’s interest in a diverse and independent press.”

NYTimes Op-Ed

Let me restate an old opinion:

Everyone in this country should have both the will and the means to express themselves publicly. Media isn’t something you watch, it’s something you participate in — or should if you value the society and community in which you live. We lack forums, interactive centers of discussion, thought, and art. Television, newspaper — these are not forums. They’re bullhorns. You can’t talk back. The reasons behind the lack of diversity in media are complicated, no doubt, but if we had a more educated population who had things to say and a better sense of how to say them in this modern world, having just a handful of voices dominating the local and national conversation would be inconceivable.

And seriously — you have no excuse. Dorky as it may be, if you are reading this, then you have access to the world wide web — truly and honestly a global interactive forum. Say things. Do things. If monoculture is something you can’t stand, fight it by creating something better.

(Many people seem afraid to write. They feel like they have to put on some sort of writerly cloak to organize words for other people to read. Fuck it. Just write as you think and you’ll do just fine. Better, possibly.)

And also, remember that when it comes to media, you vote with your eyes and dollars. Media is a democracy, so be aware of what you’re looking at and paying for. Shop local. Support newcomers. Read with a purpose rather than just absorbing everything that falls in front of your eyes. Don’t do stuff or think you need to see something just because everyone else is.

And turn off goddamn Fox News. Those jackasses only make money because people watch them…


(Stepping off of my soapbox.)