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Fighting Yesterday's Fights

Written By mista sense on Monday, February 26, 2007 | 7:16 AM



The Washington Post's savvy media writer, Frank Ahrens, has a brief but brilliant review of Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media, written by Eric Klinenberg.

Liberals such as Klinenberg are obsessed with media ownership. That is, they worry that Time-Warner, Viacom, NBC Universal, the News Corp., etc. are going to impose "monopolistic control" on the rest of us. (Such liberals don't seem to worry about being propagandized by the likes of NPR and PBS, but that's a story for another time.)

But as Ahrens points out, any media monopoly, or would-be monopoly, is under extreme challenge from the endlessly proliferating new media. As the Postie puts it, "Citizens exercise their greatest power when they act as a market, which they did by choosing new media over old. Old-style media empires -- radio, TV, newspapers -- no longer have the eyeballs to support the kind of audience scale that justified '90s consolidation and so alarmed media activists. Why? Because of MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, satellite radio, XBox, iPods, et al."

Sorry, Mr. Klinenberg, but those companies--and another thousand to come--are the real solution to the alleged problem of media monopoly, not the standard leftist prescription of more bureaucrats and more red tape. As Ahrens explains in his devastating conclusion, "Imagine it's 1875 and a virtually unregulated railroad industry is crisscrossing the country. At the same time, Washington is busily crafting close and careful rules governing the canal business."

The Cable Game is about to become more exciting than ever, thanks to technology and entrepreneurship.

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