Through the MCDM

February 24, 2009

Media Monoploy: You Landed on the Television Industry, Rent is…. Your Soul

Filed under: Reflection — captainchunk @ 9:38 am

Mr. Bagdikian isn’t a very happy individual, at least he doesn’t seen very happy in his article The Media Monopoly (1997). Saying that he is critical of the media (specifically the television) industry, is like saying cars go “vroom vroom.” He attacks the government as being inefficient and ineffective by not taking a stronger hand in how the television industry operates. He cites other countries around the world as successfully supporting commercial-free television and how the government should adopt a similar stance in America. I don’t agree with the author that America could just be like the United Kingdom and the BBC. The qualities of American society that make us different than our international allies, also make our American broadcast system different. Commercial television is here to stay. I do think that there is more opportunity for commercial-free programming on the internet. With the extremely low cost of distribution, advertising revenue is not needed to make commercial-free programming.

A portion of the article is devoted to the American family and the television. His pessimistic attitude shines once again, as he supports the decaying family unit with evidence such as, “a limes Mirror poll in 1993 showed that 53 percent of Americans want less violence and 80 percent agreed that TV violence is harmful to society.” I question the validity of the data that births those numbers. People want to think of themselves as generally good people. It is one thing to say that violence on TV is bad and quite another to be entertained by it and watch it. The author says that people could have turned off their televisions, but they didn’t. Why not? Perhaps people liked the programming, or maybe they preferred the ease of staying at home and being entertained instead of dressing up and going downtown. Whatever the reason, they obviously liked it and pushed television to become the dominate form of entertainment in the household to this day.

I agree that watching 18 hours of television a day is a bad thing for Americans. Has the typical American family dynamic changed because of the television? Yes. He would have said the exact same thing about the internet and how it turns everybody into an anti-social internet user. I don’t agree that our media industry is in the state of shambles that Mr. Bagdikiam probably thinks it is in. To be honest, I don’t care if commercial interests are backing my televised programming or even news programs. The beauty is that I get to choose what I watch. Even if people don’t turn off their televisions like the author wants them to, they still can. The day that I can’t choose my programming, what channel I watch or if I want to turn off my television, is the day that America will be in a crisis.



  1. Sort of sounds like you are his 180 degree cousin. If you take away all his histrionics, there are some interesting ideas. I’m not in favor of taking away anyone’s choices but I don’t really see all that many choices even on cable. Good to see you posting again. Meg

    Comment by Meg — February 24, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  2. I see what you are saying about choice in television/cable. It is more like the appearance of choice.

    Comment by captainchunk — February 24, 2009 @ 9:55 am

  3. From New Media Monopoly – paraphrasing from memory – about 90 percent of what we (in the U.S.) watch, see and hear (TV, radio, concerts, music, magazines, newspapers, billboards) is controlled by five global mega-corporations.

    Comment by kegill — February 24, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  4. […] Brian – Media Monoploy: You Landed on the Television Industry, Rent is…. Your Soul […]

    Pingback by Week 8 - Class Notes « evolution and trends in digital media technologies — February 24, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

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