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Concentrated Media Power is Real Power: We've Let Markets Rule the Public's Airwaves

As James Madison said, "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both."

For months we have done our best here at the Laura Flanders Show show to keep it a Trump-free zone. As far as humanly possible we’ve not commented on Donald Trump's rise, his fall, his peaks, or his lows.

But maybe just maybe there is something positive that could come of this Trump fiasco. And that's the creeping realization that media critics were right all along. Concentrated media power is real power, and we should worry about it.

As James Madison said, "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both."

Or, to put it another way, years in office, climbing the political ladder, are no match for hosting fourteen seasons of the Apprentice.

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Trumps success with real voters has put the GOP's gatekeepers in a snit. Media bias they cried way way way way too late in the game. But Trump is far from the only dangerous bully puffing himself up on the public's airwaves.

His eleven years on NBC isn't close to Bill O’Reilly’s twenty years on Fox. Just like Trump, O'Reilly's never seen a civil rights violation he couldn’t blame on a civil rights victim, or a goat he couldn’t scape. But who cares - only ratings matter in this game.

O'Reilly's bosses didn't even blink when O’Reilly, who spends much of his time ranting about derelict parenting by Black parents lost custody of his kids after his daughter told a court she’d witnessed him drag her mother down a staircase by the neck. Only ratings matter.

These are the public’s airwaves. And these are the people in whose hands we leave them. That's not a bias problem. That's a power problem. And its exactly what happens when we let markets, not sense, rule.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is a best-selling author and broadcaster who hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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