Copyright 2001 The Washington Post
The Washington Post
September 06, 2001, Thursday, Final Edition
STYLE; Pg. C02; ART BUCHWALD
387 words HEADLINE:
Offer You Can't Refuse BYLINE:
The media are getting closer to it
all the time -- one voice for the entire country.
The latest is the
Disney-Fox merger. Each merger by the big boys is shutting out the little
independents, thanks to a benevolent government that doesn't see any antitrust
problems. TV stations own cable television, cable television companies own radio
stations, radio stations own magazines, and magazines own anything else that
breathes and speaks. There are now only a few major voices in the United States.
All this is spelled out for us by takeover spokesman Edgar Soprano, who says
we're getting closer to a one-network country every day.
I asked if this
was good or bad for the public.
He replied that it makes more sense for
us to have everyone connected. People get confused if you give them too many
"It's strange," I said, "but I thought competition was the most
important thing in delivering news and entertainment."
"It is, up to a
point. Don't forget, even with one voice you still have control of your remote."
"That doesn't change the ownership of the networks," I said. "If
newspapers own the television stations in the same towns, you get only one
"But it comes through loud and clear. We have to
dominate the marketplace. The independent outlets don't know quality
communication when they see it."
"But you also put on a lot of junk.
Shouldn't consumers have a choice of the junk they want to see?"
wouldn't deprive people of junk on TV. We would just make sure it's our junk."
I asked Edgar if the present administration is trying to limit
He said: "We have a saying, 'If you can't fix it, merge it
with something else.' I see the day when one giant monolith will be in charge of
our news and entertainment. If anyone has any gripes, at least they will know
where to go."
"With only one network, will you start laying off people?"
"Yes, but it will be for their own good. One voice has to mean fewer
jobs, but that's the way the cookie crumbles."
is a good thing for the media.
"It's the only thing. When the few holdouts for mergers give in, you are
going to see how well it works. They have it in China and no one who owns a
television set over there complains."
(c)2001, Tribune Media Services
September 06, 2001