Media Self Censorship Jonathan made some good p…

Media Self Censorship

Jonathan made some good points yesterday I feel are worth expanding on here. First, I agree that a broadcaster, in this case we are talking about Clear Channel, should be allowed to air or not air whatever content they feel will suit their audience. The problem I have is with the underlying results these decisions are having on the information (or lack there of) that is making it to the American public. Our Democracy requires a free exchange of information to remain healthy yet it seems that broadcasters are all too willing to stiffle voices that may offend advertisers. I personally could care less about Howard Stern but would argue that while the drivel that he spews adds nothing to the debate in this country, the message sent by Clear Channel is clear, “say something we don’t like and you are gone!” I am certain that the views of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the like are offensive to a significant portion of the population but those people obviously do not buy enough advertising to offset the damage their points of view would do to the networks who carry them. Case in point, when Media Matters attempted to get a Disney owned station, WMAL in D.C., to run one of their ads they refused. The reason given by president and general manager Chris Berry was,

Rush Limbaugh is the top-rated show on my station… I’m not going to run something that screws him.

We are in a time where the free exchange of information is critical to the ability of Americans to make informed decisions. I would argue that there is way too much control of information resting in the hands of corporate interests and the folks in Washington. The Michael Moore example illustrates this vividly but it is by no means the only case. You may recall back in January that CBS decided not to sell advertising time to political advocacy group Moveon.org claiming that they have a standing policy of not running politically hot ads yet today we can turn on CBS and watch countless misleading ads run by the GOP. My point is that while it is the right of a broadcaster to air whatever they want, these decisions have created a medium which is completely skewed to points of view of the right.

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