The media and the kleptocracy

If the Democrats get back in power, a reader argues, they need to break up the oligopoly mass-media combines.

A reader reflects on a special case of the bribery-and-extortion problem:

I think the Democrats will inevitably come to at least a brief sojourn in political power. The failures of GWB are really all the slogan they need to accomplish this.

But, if they do not take the opportunity to bring about a thorough-going Media reform, they will be swept from power just as quickly. The long Whitewater saga culminating in the Clinton impeachment, the media’s well-orchestrated slander of Gore and long defense of Bush, the reluctance to look at the scandals of the Iraq War and Reconstruction, ought to be object lessons.

Media consolidation has left our political discourse in the hands of a few giant corporations, and those giant corporations depend directly on government for intellectual property, bandwidth licensing and other rents. Big Media and the political class are now in symbiosis, and together they are parasitic on the productive part of the society. Unless their symbiosic relationship is destroyed, it will choke this country’s democracy to death.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: