Video Creates the Political Star
"I once was lucky enough to have a long conversation with Peter Bergman of the Firesign Theatre. At one point he expressed his belief that television has proven too much for humanity. He suggested that we should gracefully admit defeat, obliterate television, and then possibly match wits with it again after another twenty million years of evolution. As Bergman put it, "TV too much for monkey man. Will try again later."
On that topic, here is an article that I highly recommend reading. It talks about how Silvio Berlusconi used the media to gain and consolidate power in Italy and discusses how similar tactics are being used more and more often in the United States.
In concluding, the author, Alexander Stille, notes,
"That there are strong parallels between the Italian and American situations is not coincidental. Italy is the European country that has come closest to following the American model of commercial TV. Both Italian and American media are the products of a period of intense deregulation in the 1980s that has produced ever-greater concentration of ownership and a system devoid of any real antitrust or equal-access rules."
With that in mind, here is something worth paying attention to.
"The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, today tabled in Parliament a proposed policy direction to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). It is the first time since the adoption of the Telecommunications Act that such a policy direction has been issued to the CRTC. This is the first step in the government's plan to issue a formal policy direction to the CRTC.
"Tabling this document signals the government's intention to direct the CRTC to rely on market forces to the maximum extent feasible under the Telecommunications Act and regulate — where there is still a need to do so — in a manner that interferes with market forces to the minimum extent necessary," said Minister Bernier. "All Canadian consumers will benefit from a stronger competitive environment that will bring greater choice and even lower prices and better services."
Of course, when he was talking about greater choice, I guess he wasn't referring to this kind of thing:
"Bell Globemedia’s purchase of CHUM Ltd. will radically reshape broadcasting in Canada, critics say, leaving only two major private media conglomerates, CanWest Global and Bell Globemedia."
Perhaps it hasn't occurred to Bernier and co. that 'relying on market forces' and promoting a market with a lot of diversity of choices aren't always complementary activities.