While there's been a lot of media attention given to different opinions concerning the right for gay couples to marry, there's been a near blackout on the disgusting marriage of news and advertising.
When I wrote my latest book, Soft News, in 2007, it was basically a "what if" type scenario, like when Dr. Robin Cook first wrote "Coma." The plot of Soft News shows what "could happen" if a large enough corporation takes over too many news outlets. People don't get the truth. Instead they end up with whatever slant or version of an event the "owner" of their news outlet wants them to believe. If the same corporation owns the local newspaper, weekly or bi-weekly magazine and television and radio stations, only one view is presented to an entire coverage area.
As of this week, the premise behind the plot of Soft News has not only become a reality, but is being put into play nationally on a damaging scale most won't realize until it's too late.
On Dec. 3 The Dallas Morning News announced what it calls its "bold new strategy:" news editors will report to sales managers.
That's right, sales departments will have the last say on what goes to press. Just hit your searchbars folks. Put in Dallas Morning News and strategy. You'll find links if you look for them. But where are the national headlines blasting this crazy scheme?
Shouldn't this be on front pages all across America?
Following this travesty, Dec. 4 Comcast Corp. announced its plans to buy NBC Universal. This means that Comcast, which already has 23.8 million cable television customers, 15.7 million Internet subscribers and 7.4 million customers for its telephone service, would control the Peacock network many have relied on for their news since the heyday of radio.
NBC Universal (which was a big enough merger to begin with) owns both NBC and Telemundo broadcasting, 26 television stations, an array of popular cable channels; the Universal Studio and theme parks and has a stake in Hulu, which distributes television programs online.
Although I have predicted the merger of television and the Internet for many years, the single corporate ownership is what is so dangerous. In other words, the lack of individual voices has reached a frightening level already and is about to decline by another 30 or 40 percent.
If this deal goes through, it will be similar to the previous AOL acquisition of Time Warner in 2001 which merged more than 1,000 brands.
Will rival stations (CBS or CNN for example) eventually have to "purchase" news from NBC?
We could eventually end up with "one voice" just like many countries in the former USSR.
People say that can't happen here because of free enterprise but the premise of "free enterprise" is the very guise that is being used to take our choices away.