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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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February 1, 2008 8:57 AM

Media consolidation's impact on politics

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Below you will find a blog post by Eric Easter on ebonyjet.com. Another example of how media consolidation hurts the political process.

Not to be all self-serving, but an article I did back in August about how media consolidation would begin to impact politics is bearing out, according to our crack reporter, Adrienne Samuels, who's down in South Carolina looking for some red meat for us.

As she noticed, Black talk radio, which would normally be blowing up the airwaves as part of the Get Out The Vote effort, is non-existent in this particular South Carolina race. Why? It's all Clear Channel-owned stations in the major markets. Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner and a host of other syndicated content in the morning and throughout the dayparts. That means little to no local radio mobilization, no on the spot reports of violations or obstructions at precincts come election day, no chance for Obama or Edwards or Clinton to call in to radio stations and talk for 20 minutes directly to someone who can force them to contextualize their arguments for a specific audience with specific issues.

Not that Joyner et al have no power to organize, of course. But in the trenches the local angle works much better. The ability of a voter to call in immediately and say he or she had trouble at the polls puts an immense amount of power at the hands of the guy in the street. A huge tool in black political organizing is gradually being lost.

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