Obama vs. McCain on the Media

I no longer work there, but that won’t stop me from plugging this nicely summarizing Slate piece by Tim Wu detailing the two presidential candidates’ positions on media ownership and net neutrality.

Suffice it to say that I fall squarely within the Obama camp on the question of net neutrality: the Internet can no longer be considered a product, but instead a network similar to the airwaves. Like the airwaves are licensed by the government, there’s room for licensing of the Internet’s physical network by bandwidth costs, but you can’t package “the web” and sell it to consumers in a realistic fashion. That’s a really old-fashioned way of thinking about it. Instead, the web is the marketplace wherein websites sell their goods and duke it out for audience and revenue share. To change the web into a cable-television model is just imposing an old-fashioned dynamic on a system that’s already created its own rules.

As for fair share of political views within the media, the lefty side of me thinks it’s necessary, but the MBA/realist side of me thinks differently: people are going to listen to or watch the crap no matter what you do, so somebody might as well make some money off of it. Do you then require those moneymakers to put on informed, objective (if that’s even possible), educated content as a result? I don’t think it’s even relevant: the media marketplace is so segmented these days anyway that the consumer is going to seek out whatever they want and likely find it, whether that’s on-the-scene reporting from Zimbabwe’s reconstituted parliament or the skateboarding dog.

It’s a dog on a skateboard!

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One Response to “Obama vs. McCain on the Media”

  1. Love that skateboarding dog!

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