Dean promises to break up media conglomerates

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets in the United States today, and that if he’s elected president he will break up the nation’s media conglomerates.

“Yes, we’re going to break up giant media enterprises,” Dean said to interviewer Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Dec. 1. “What we’re going to do is say that media enterprises can’t be as big as they are today.”

Dean was critical of the Bush administration’s FCC. “First of all, 11 companies in this country control 90 percent of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television. That’s wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community. We don’t have that because of Michael Powell and what George Bush has tried to do to the FCC,” Dean said.

“What I’m going to do is appoint people to the FCC who believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one,” Dean said.

The former governor and physician called for locally owned radio stations throughout the United States and lamented the fact there are only two or three stations left in his home state of Vermont that report local news. “The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP,” he said.

Such concentrated ownership of media outlets “is not compatible with democracy,” Dean said. “If the state has an interest, which it does, in preserving democracy, then there has to be a limitation on how deeply the media companies can penetrate every single community.”

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