The consolidation of two media empires is a disaster for those who want a diverse, independent media.
'BURBANK, CALIFORNIA — The long-rumored Fox-Disney merger was made official Wednesday, as Disney closed on its purchase of much of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. The $73.1 dollar “merger” – more accurately described as an acquisition – continues a worrying trend of media consolidation and gives Disney control and ownership over a historic 35 to 40 percent of the movie market. As of this week, it now owns the 20th Century Fox film and TV studios, Fox Television Group, countless international broadcasters, including the Star India conglomerate, and a controlling stake in streaming service Hulu.
Why this is bad news and bad for the news
Those who hoped the acquisition might result in the family-friendly Disney providing a moderating influence on the hardline conservative political tone of Murdoch’s media holdings will be disappointed; Rupert is not going anywhere. The acquisition left untouched the Australian tycoon’s more overtly political possessions, like the Wall Street Journal or Fox News, which are still controlled by his NewsCorp company. Rest assured, Murdoch’s publications will continue to pump out right-wing content. Tucker Carlson will still be “100 percent his bitch,” as it was recently reported Carlson said.
In 1983, when the great media scholar Ben Bagdikian wrote his seminal book The Media Monopoly, he warned that just 50 giant firms dominated almost the entire media landscape, giving them an enormous power to “set the national agenda.” Bagdikian warned of the collective power of these firms — with their numerous interlocking corporate interests and possessions, along with unified cultural and political values — concluding that the media has the power to effectively decide “what is true and what is false, what is reality and what is fantasy, what is important and what is trivial” and that “there is no greater force in shaping the public mind.”'
Read more: Bad News for The News: The Fox-Disney Merger Again Shortens the Media Menu