Ted Turner on upcoming rule changes by the FCC

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
June 2nd, 2003 • 12:03 am

Media mogul Ted Turner (who launched CNN back in 1980) now writes:

If these rules had been in place in 1970, it would have been virtually impossible for me to start Turner Broadcasting or, 10 years later, to launch CNN… It’s hard to compete when your suppliers are owned by your competitors. We bought MGM, and we later sold Turner Broadcasting to Time Warner, because we had little choice. The big were getting bigger. The small were disappearing. We had to gain access to programming to survive.

I like how people such as Ted Turner are now able to present themselves as victims of something that was beyond them. It’s a convenient thing to do long after the fact, long after you yourself contributed to the damage that you are now lamenting. I suppose he’s trying to clear his conscience for posterity. I doubt historians will ever give much credence to any of his present statements.

What Mr. Turner fails to see is that some things simply cannot be bought. No matter how big they are, the five media giants that now control most of what we listen to, watch, or read will never achieve the level of control that totalitarian regimes were able to achieve in the last century. The current level is already revolting, and people are already waking up to that fact.

I, for one, almost never watch ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN. I never visit their web sites or the web sites that they own. I rarely ever buy anything that’s at the top of the Billboard charts. I rarely ever go to the movies. I don’t listen to any kind of radio, except for Canada’s public broadcaster CBC. I know I am part of a small minority — but that minority is big enough to “do damage”. And, slowly but surely, damage it will do.

Most importantly, however, these corporations are gradually becoming parodies of themselves or of what they are supposed to be. And the public will, slowly but surely, lose interest. Because, short of imposing totalitarian force, you cannot prevent uncontrollable elements from seeping through. And seeping through they will. They already are.

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