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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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December 10, 2007 1:19 PM

Comment response

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Expect to see more entries here at Daily Democracy now that I am back from vacation and have wrapped up another project. A lot happened last week on the media consolidation/FCC front. Will post on that once I get caught up.

First, I would like to respond to some comments left here about my disappointment with Hilary Clinton's weak response to a question about media consolidation. Matt Zemek wrote:

Ryan, You are aware that Hillary has accepted cash from Mr. Murdoch, at least $500,000, if I'm not mistaken (this happened several months ago). This would explain her non-answer answer.

Nice to hear from you, Matt. I am not aware of the amount of money that Rupert Murdoch has given to Clinton, but was aware he held a fund-raiser for her. I think you are correct about this being part of the reason for her non-answer. Here is a New York Times story about Murdoch's Clinton fund-raiser.

Not everybody agrees with Matt and me. Michael wrote:

All Presidential candidates accept money from someone who has corporate interests. They are standing in line, trying to give Hillary money for her campaign. It would be illegal for Murdoch to give her $500,000 for her campaign and he wouldn't do that, anyway.

Why wouldn't Murdoch do it? I would assume that Murdoch would want to be in Clinton's good graces if she becomes president. A number of stories out of New York and Washington, D.C. have mentioned how Murdoch's New York Post has warmed to Clinton.

Clinton's unwillingness to move beyond a canned response on media consolidation is disappointing. Especially considering that a number of other Democrats seeking the presidency such as Barack Obama and Joseph Biden have come out strong against media consolidation. This should be an easy call for any candidate, Republican or Democrat.

Another comment left to the Clinton post dealt with media consolidation, but not in the presidential race. Jack wrote:

Has Ryan Blethen forgotten that his company owns several other newspapers in Washington state? Is this not media consolidation? Doesn't Yakima and Walla Walla deserve a local, independent newspaper?

No Jack, I have not forgotten, and I am not worried about my family's ownership of these newspapers. The Yakima Herald-Republic, and Walla Walla Union Bulletin are not in the same market. There is no overlap in circulation, or management. Both newspapers are operated independently of Seattle. Owning three daily papers in Washington is hardly comparable to the obscene number of broadcast outlets, and newspapers owned by the conglomerates that dominate this country.

UPDATE: Here are links to Columbia Journalism Review and Free Press. Both Web sites keep a list of what the media biggies own.

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