Hugo Black, associate justice on the Supreme Court, was a judge who got it, particularly when it came to the role of the press and why having competition in the fourth estate was vital to the proper maintenance of democracy, something under attack as giant multinational corporations do the merger game in order to attain even more power at the expense of a viable press, a process essential if a democracy is to survive.
The much-admired Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black may be rolling in his grave at the prospect of a merger between 21st Century Fox and Time Warner Inc., which would reduce control of the major Hollywood studios to five owners, from six, and major television producers to four, from five.
“The widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” he wrote in the majority opinion that decided a 1945 antitrust case involving major newspaper publishers and The Associated Press. “The First Amendment affords not the slightest support for the contention that a combination to restrain trade in news and views has any constitutional immunity.”
As seen below, 6 corporations own 90+% of all news and media organizations.
This infographic created by Jason at Frugal Dad shows that almost all media comes from the same six sources.
NOTE: This infographic is from last year and is missing some key transactions. GE does not own NBC (or Comcast or any media) anymore. So that 6th company is now Comcast. And Time Warner doesn't own AOL, so Huffington Post isn't affiliated with them.
But the fact that a few companies own everything demonstrates "the illusion of choice," Frugal Dad says. While some big sites, like Digg and Reddit aren't owned by any of the corporations, Time Warner owns news sites read by millions of Americans every year.
As George Carlin famously said, "You have no choice". Food for thought, don't you think?