Corporate Control of Information
In his classic work The Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian documents the continuing trend of media concentration in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations. The latest megamerger has Viacom taking over Paramount. Expanding corporate control of media poses serious social and political consequences to the functioning of a pluralistic democratic society. Major technological breakthroughs promise to radically transform the media landscape of tomorrow. Clinton and Gore are heralding the information superhighway. “It’s a historical turning point,” Clinton says, “to move ideas, data and images around the country and around the world.” Gore calls it, “The most important and lucrative marketplace of the 21st century.” Interactive TV will be the brave new world of communication. You’ll be able to sit back, shop, watch videos, pay your bills and order pizza. What about the crucial questions of program content and ownership? Will the highway be a taxpayer-subsidized giveaway to the corporate sector? Unless policy is changed, information and news will be organized, processed and distilled through a few corporate filters. The highway and all its entrances, tool booths and exits will be run by large corporations.
Recorded at Rutgers University.
Herbert Schiller was a noted authority on communications policy and media. He founded the communications department at the University of California at San Diego. He was the author of many books, including Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression and Information Inequality. He passed away in January 2000.