Merger_Mania_in_the_Media[1]

Merger_Mania_in_the_Media[1] - Merger Mania in the Media...

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About the Center | Staff Search » Search Ethics Home Page Focus Areas Bioethics Business Ethics Campus Ethics Character Education Government Ethics More... Publications Ethics Articles Ethics Cases Ethical Decision Making Ethics Blogs Podcasts Center News E-letter/Subscribe Events Contact Us Make a Gift Site Index Merger Mania in the Media: Can We Still Get All the News We Need? By John H. McManus John Smith lives in Los Angeles. On his way to work this morning, Smith catches the news on KLOS over his car radio. When he arrives at the of fi ce, he peruses a copy of Women's Wear Daily, the bible of the apparel industry for which he works. After a hard day at the of fi ce, he returns home, puts up his feet, and watches the local news on Channel 9, followed by Peter Jennings on 7 (while his kids are occupied with the Disney cable station). And he reads himself to sleep with the newest issue of LA Magazine. Observing Smith's day, you notice he has access to an impressive array of information sources. But Merger Mania in the Media http://ww.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v7n1/mediacon.html 1 of 7 9/23/10 2:38 PM
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does he? Each of these media outlets - the radio station, the trade journal, both TV stations, the cable station, and the magazine - may soon be owned by the same company, through a proposed merger of Walt Disney Co. and Capital Cities/ABC. Is the concentration of media ownership represented by Disney/ABC a problem, or, more speci fi cally, an ethical problem? On the surface, the creation of media giants may seem to have more to do with business considerations than it does with morality. But media concentration and its effect on the information you need to run your life are worth considering from an ethical point of view, especially as such deals proliferate. In broadcasting, concentration of ownership-already a trend - is becoming the rule as merger mania hits the industry. If a proposed CBS-Westinghouse merger goes through, the conglomerate would own 15 TV stations (more than the law currently allows), not to mention 39 radio stations. Another intended merger - of Time Warner Inc. and Turner Broadcasting - would produce the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world, reaching more than 40 percent of cable households. And a third deal - between News Corp. Ltd. and MCI - would make the products of Rupert Murdoch's global media empire available through a broadcast network (Fox), TV stations, newspapers, magazines and your home or business computer. In the print media, concentration of ownership has long been the trend. Just after World War II, four out of fi ve U.S. newspapers were independently owned. By 1989, only one in fi ve was not the property of a chain. In 1981, 20 corporations controlled most of the nation's 11,000 magazines. Only seven years later, the number shrank to three corporations.
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