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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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June 7, 2008 10:43 AM

Media buster

Posted by Ryan Blethen

MINNEAPOLIS - In this age of rapidly advancing technology it is easy to forget the history of media and comparable eras of consolidation in other industries. Some historical perspective was brought to the media reform debate by Tim Wu at a panel this morning.

He pointed out that the consolidation that is currently happening in the media is like what happened in industry in the early 1900s. The comparison is apt when you look at how a couple huge corporations have gobbled up much of what is read, watched and listened to. Much like the titans of industry did in the early 20th Century.

Now that the traditional press and media has been consolidated to a dangerous point I expect to see much of the smaller successful media outlets to fall under the Big Media umbrella. The big companies that now control the advertising dollars and Internet networks are in a continuous search for content to pair with advertising and to retain control of their systems. I suspect that blogs with a large following and other popular sites on the Web will start to be bough up by the likes of Google and Verizon.

Wu asked if it is possible to avoid repeating history. When we look back 10 years from now will we be wondering how it is that only two companies control the Internet?

Wu asks a good question. Will the next president be a modern day Trust Buster?

Reader thoughts? Can the big cablecoms be stopped from consuming the Internet?

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