A Free but Not Competitive News Media in the USA

A free news media is one in which news outlets report and comment on the news from whatever point of view they choose. A competitive news media is one in which there are a large enough number of news outlets so that no single point of view dominates. America enjoys a free news media but not a competitive one.

The news media is an industry that provides a service. It is composed of news outlets or business firms with various formats, including CBS in television news and The Los Angeles Times in print news. The industry operates much like other industries that supply goods and services, including the automobile industry, which is composed of product outlets or business firms with various vehicles, including Ford and Toyota.

Much like managers in other industries, the last thing managers in the news media want is competition. In fact, they do everything possible to eliminate competition and increase market share. An automobile company’s market share is the number of automobiles it sells as a percent of the total amount sold in automobile markets. Similarly, a television network’s market share is the amount of time viewers watch its news programs as a percent of the total amount of time viewers watch all news programs.

For the most part, news is not differentiated based on point of view but on format, style, and personality. Liberal points of view dominate in both print and television news. Liberal television news outlets include ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN. Liberal print outlets include The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Nation, and Newsweek. The pervasive culture in these news outlets is that if you give credit to conservative points of view, you border not only on ignorance but stupidity—a liberal theme that grew out of the counterculture of the 1960s.

From a marketing point of view, it is not surprising that liberal points of view dominate. A liberal slant is a much better marketing tool for capturing market share because more often than not, it suggests change, which is exciting, while more often than not, a conservative slant suggests maintaining the status quo, which is boring. Although FOX and the Wall Street Journal provide liberal points of view, they are often viewed with contempt because they provide conservative points of view as well. It is laughable to watch the dominant liberal news media saturate the public with negative commentary on conservative points of view and then take polls that show the public is negative on conservative points of view. Surprise! Surprise!

So what is to be done? Should we limit the freedom of the news media? Absolutely not! A government-controlled news media like those in China, North Korean, and Iran is not a step forward in a free and competitive society. But what’s wrong with using the power of the federal government to ensure not only a free news media but a competitive one as well? Why not protect the general welfare from those who sell us the news in the same way that we protect it from those who sell us automobiles and other goods and services?

Copyright © 2019 Frank Zahn

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