Media MonopolyOn a regular basis now, media mergers are announced. Sometimes they are scuttled, as has been the case in 1999-2000 of the proposed WorldCom/Sprint merger. But others such as ATT's 1999 incursion into cable television, the merger of BellAtlantic and GTE, and the merger of TimeWarner and AOL have been smoothed over without much public outcry.
By the time news of these events reaches the public, the process of building resistance to particular mergers seems to be overwhelmingly difficult. Retroactive fights against monopolies like that of Microsoft are equally complicated by the glacial pace of the legal process. The much ballyhooed political organizing power of independent new media has not managed in significant ways to resist the conglomeration of media power. Since the initial publication of Ben H. Bagdikian's Media Monopoly, the concentration of ownership in the mass media has only become more acute.
One initiative online, called Media Space attempts to document this process of concentration, and the status of media ownership today. But recognition of the existence of media monopoly is only a necessary precondition for redressing the situation. What will actually lead to a reversal of this trend?