Faye Steuer is a former psychology professor living near Charleston, South Carolina, who spent much of her career researching how violence on television affects children. Over the years, Steuer learned about the inner workings of the media business and stumbled upon what she believes to be an even bigger problem.
“As I did that, I became more and more aware of how the consolidation of media ownership was really having an impact on democracy, and that worried me even more than the impact of [TV] violence on children,” Steuer tells Truthout.
A historic wave of corporate media consolidation is changing the landscape of America’s most utilized news source – local TV news. Media reformers say the consolidation diminishes the public’s access to information and, in turn, harms our democracy.
In the first eight months of 2013, 211 full-power broadcast stations changed hands, the highest number in a decade, according to a recent report by media watchdog group Free Press.
The Pasadena/Foothills Chapter of American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California ACLU-SC honored longtime Los Angeles Times journalist, editor and commentator Tim Rutten at its 12th Annual Garden Party on October 2 at the Western Justice Center in Pasadena. Rutten, who had been let go this past summer after nearly 40 years at the Times, spoke to the more than 100 attendees of the threat to civil liberties by the demise of the press in the country and concentration into fewer and fewer corporate hands. He talked about a wide range of topics concerning knowledge, ignorance, and the consequences of media conglomeration.
“The coming concentration of the media is probably a bigger threat to your civil liberties than anything the government’s doing right now,” he said.
“Knowledge isn’t just power, it’s self-protection. Most of the newspapers in this country today are hollow shells of what they were 10 years ago and sadly diminished from what they were five years ago,” Rutten continued.