Barack Obama Is Serious About Anti-Trust

In a statement Sunday at a campaign stop, Barack Obama made it clear that he does not want to continue the Bush policy of ignoring, or advancing, corporate collusion, consolidation, and other anti-competitive activity.

Obama: “We’re going to have an antitrust division in the Justice Department that actually believes in antitrust law. We haven’t had that for the last seven, eight years.”

Obama specifically cited the media as an example of an area that warranted scrutiny with regard to anti-trust behavior, although the scope of his comment was much broader. He has previously addressed media consolidation via his support of the Media Ownership Act of 2007, and an op-ed he co-authored with Sen. John Kerry:

“In recent years, we have witnessed unprecedented consolidation in our traditional media outlets. Large mergers and corporate deals have reduced the number of voices and viewpoints in the media marketplace.”

Taking a hard-line on matters that impact the media’s ambition to grow unrestricted has historically proven to be fraught with risk. Ask Howard Dean. If Obama intends to pursue this issue in the campaign, and in the White House, he better be prepared for the battle. Liebling’s lament that, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” has evolved in the electronic era into, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own a massive, vertically integrated, publishing, broadcasting, and Internet monopoly.”

The media can be a dangerous enemy, and any effort to take it on must be approached with an awareness of what’s at the other end of the tail you’re hanging onto.

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8 thoughts on “Barack Obama Is Serious About Anti-Trust

  1. That’s why you don’t tell anyone you are going to do it until you are ALREADY ELECTED.

    Obama’s taking a big chance, here. He would have been better off to keep his mouth shut until after the election. Then the first thing would be to revoke the citizenship of Murdock and Moon, and seize their assets, presses, and office furniture.

    Shut ‘em down so hard they splash. Then ban all corporate owned media from White House briefings.

    But hey, I’m just sayin’.

    • Actually…I think it’s important to take a stand as part of the campaign platform. That way, when you’re elected, you can assert that you have a mandate to take this action. Yes, it’s risky, but it won’t get done if you cannot persuade voters that it’s necessary.

      I have often thought about the consequences of revoking Murdoch’a citizenship – which was granted by an act of Congress so that he could buy Fox (American TV networks cannot be foreign-owned). I don’t much like the idea of the government seizing a media company’s assets though. I’d be fine with revoking Murdoch’s citizenship (let him get in line like other immigrants), transfer ownership to an American company, and continue to educate people about Fox’s propaganda (and the rest of them too).

  2. I think Obama should take this on and tell the media he is taking them on. Smart people will see that if the media goes after him they are only doing so to hold onto to their fortunes. And then maybe people will wise up about the media and how it’s been doing a disservice to consumers when the whole purpose of the media is to serve.
    I met Obama and Dick Durbin in Illinois in 2004 and I had an opportunity to talk to Sen. Durbin. I told him that before we could do anything in this country, we needed to fix the media. If Obama is about change then the very first thing we need to do is change the way the media is operating. The only way to hang onto a Democracy is to have informed citizens who can make informed choices. A strong healthy media is imperative to a strong healthy Democracy. Obama should do what needs to be done and rely on the American people to back him up.

    • My sentiments exactly. If we don’t solve the problem of the media, we won’t make any real progress on any other problem.

      That said, we can’t be naive about “relying on the American people.” We have to make sure the people know what’s at stake. And how do we do that without the media? There is no easy answer. We just have to keep fighting.

  3. well the news rooms and news papers dont have real journalist running things these days you have right wing idealogs and corprate hacks runnin things so that you get the info they want you to have not the info you need to make informed decisions….

    that being said the big media conglomerates got togeather and decided who was going to be in our dem primaries by sidelinein anyone that posed a threat to there bottom line kucinich.dodd.richardson. gravel paul ect ect they wernt worried and repugs cause they knew they woul;d tow the line and so would clinton look at clinton and the media deregegs in the 90’s they put someone up against clinton who was an unknown and a black man to boot they didnt think in a million years that obama had a chance in hell against the clinton political machine well looks like they didnt get what the bargined for and you can rest asured that there not tru with him yet fear of loseing billions of dollars can do terrible things to people’s minds and they will stop at nothing to see that doest happen…….but thats just my opinion what the hell do i know

  4. Well, he definitely is not taking them on by complying with their Mickey Mouse coverage of this election. Why not start now in cutting through the bullshit?

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