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Old 12-10-2012, 10:44 AM
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SlobRay SlobRay is offline
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Originally Posted by kcbrown View Post
I can.

The media in the old days was owned by a relatively large number of groups and individuals, and was largely localized. Elections are won or lost based on the perceptions of the voters, and those perceptions are the result of the information the voters receive. In a world where there are many competing news outlets, control of information is relatively limited and, thus, news sources have some incentive to actually get things right.

Then broadcast television came into existence. For the first time, not only was the media able to reach most of the entire population of the country, but the number of media outlets that was able to do so was very limited. National news took center stage and the local news sources became relegated to the back. Additionally, there was a shift from news being a source of information to news being a source of entertainment.

What happens when you put control of the information that the majority of people receive and subsequently use to control their voting decisions into the hands of the very few? Control over elections, that's what. The advent of cable threatened to disrupt that control, but that has since been taken care of through mergers and acquisitions.

Today, it is impossible for a national candidate (like the President) to get elected unless that candidate gets national media attention. The situation isn't much better for congressional candidates, since most local broadcast news outlets are owned (and thus controlled) by the very entities that own the national broadcast outlets. The national broadcast media is now in the driver's seat when it comes to elections, and has been for the past 40 years or so. This is why you don't see the media criticizing government all that much: the government as it is exists because the media itself made it that way, through its control over the information people use to vote.

At this point, only the internet can possibly reverse this, which is why you can expect to see continuing efforts on the part of the government to control it.

Thanks for your clear and insightful reply. Makes perfect sense, since we see bills like SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA making the rounds in congress and both parties initiating and endorsing them.

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