Thursday, August 02, 2001

I'm grateful to Michael Hardt, co-author with Antonio Negri, of the social satire "Empire" for reminding me of a *very* inconvenient fact that the foes of Media Monopoly hope we'll forget.

On the WBUR (Boston) program "The Connection" after talking about the initial promise of radio as a liberating medium he said:

"The way radio and television have developed have been ways in which democratic voices have been excluded systematically and have been controlled by the forces of capital -- the ones who own these media."


Listen: (quote appears just after 16:00).

What he hopes the rest of the world will forget and Americans will never know is that from the dawn of broadcasting until the last few years almost all of the Earth's radio and television were owned and operated by the various national governments.

Read the history of the pirate radio ship Radio Caroline if you want to see the lengths to which governments went to secure their monopoly:

Radio Caroline History

With all of the different channels into our brains (many of which didn't exist 25 years ago), it is hard to argue that electronic media is less competitive than it was when most of it was controlled by governments.

When I was growing up, three white guys in NYC determined everything 90% of Americans saw on TV. Most towns had no more than two newspapers. Radio was exclusively Top 40 format. Yet, today, with 6 broadcast networks, 1000 newspapers available online, netcasting costing $39.95/month, and hundreds of millions of webpages extant, those commentators who themselves favor monopoly *government* complain that a Media Monopoly exists. There are more media outlets than ever.

Monday, July 30, 2001

From a front page article in the WSJ 30 July 2001:

The major oil companies would love to put the ready cash into developing elephantine oil fields, but few of those remain. With about 90% of the world's oil supply controlled by government-owned entities, publicly traded companies are finding it hard to expand their energy reserves.

Governments control 90% of the earth's oil but all we hear about is the evil oil companies.