More corporations instead of fewer?

In its latest letter, tells us

The controversy over Don Imus’ racist remarks goes far beyond one bigoted commentator. But getting rid of Imus won’t fix the media problem.

Most of our TV and radio stations are owned by giant corporate conglomerates. They don’t represent the views of most Americans — and they make huge profits off the public airwaves.

What we need are more diverse, independent and local media owners. Yet right now less than 10% of TV and radio stations are owned by people of color or women.

But instead of addressing this national disgrace, the Federal Communications Commission is actually trying to let the largest companies buy up even more stations!

What if more media corporations owned more radio stations and what if those media corporations were owned by people of color or women? Wouldn’t those corporations seek a profit even at the expense of the public good?

Additional corporate ownership of media won’t properly address the latest diversion from the continuing occupation of Iraq, lack of universal single-payer health care, non-living wage paying jobs, environmental exploitation, and other life-or-death social maladies. If the independence speaks of would include individuals sharing media bandwidth like we share the Internet now, that would be more interesting to me. But in order to get that we’d have to do away with the idea that spectrum should be auctioned off as a marketable commodity because that ensures it would go to the richest person or organization and we’re right back to locking up spectrum in the metaphorical hands of the megacorporations.

Additional ownership of media won’t necessarily give us more ownership by people of color or women. Nor am I convinced that changing the people at the top is going to effect change for the user. disagrees, they would have us believe that Don Imus’ latest kerfuffle should be resolved by shuffling the deck chairs of management:

The best way to stop this race to the bottom is to change who’s sitting at the top — and making the decisions about who’s behind the mic.

The Corporation shows us that the problems of corporate power are structural not personal; very nice people can become CEOs of corporations with sexist, anti-environmental, racist, and homophobic policies that have made their shareholders rich in the past. An organization built to pursue shareholder wealth above all else gives heads of corporations the power to behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise behave. For more on this, listen to this extract of Mark Achbar’s commentary track from the excellent movie “The Corporation” (Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Speex). In the background you can hear the soundtrack of the movie “The Corporation” including Noam Chomsky discussing this point.