Obama Ratchets-Up His Attacks on Big Media

On Friday, I wrote about how Obama is subtly sending out signals that he is going to reform media by emphasizing a more diverse ownership structure. Currently, radio station ownership is mostly held by white men. Latinos own 2.9% of all radio stations and African-Americans own 3.4% of them. TV is even worse. According to Free Press, "people of color own just 3.15 percent of commercial television stations in the United States... while women own just 5.87 percent of television stations."

Pledging a more diverse ownership structure is a serious challenge to the current media environment. Today, Obama pledged to use antitrust tools to work on media consolidation.

"I will assure that we will have an antitrust division that is serious about pursuing cases," the Illinois senator told an audience of mostly senior citizens in Oregon.
"There are going to be areas, in the media for example where we're seeing more and more consolidation, that I think (it) is legitimate to ask...is the consumer being served?"
I wrote about this in November, 2007, when Obama came out with his media and tech proposals. He's got a strong open source, almost libertarian attitude, as evidenced by his technocratic advisors and slightly more conservative stances on economic stimulus and health care. While cautious instincts are part of his DNA, when it comes to media, they serve the public extremely well. Unlike health care and the green economy, elites in technology are extremely powerful and progressive, so they counterbalance the more corrupt and conservative telecom and cable interests. The Obama camp is close with Silicon Valley, which is both libertarian in general matters and progressive when it comes to technology; venture capitalists were some of Obama's first Presidential backers, and you can get a really good sense of who he is by reading this blog post endorsing Obama by Marc Andreesen, the founder of Netscape (and a Mitt Romney donor). Google itself is willing to get into the fray, pushing back against Joe Lieberman's demands to censor Youtube.

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