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The Press and 'Group-Think'

September 03, 1989

It is ironic that David Shaw's articles on the narrowness of the press (Aug. 24, 26) illustrated and reaffirmed exactly such narrowness. Dan Rather, David Broder, Robert Novak and so on hardly span a range of views. Shaw centers on the personalities and group-think psychology which characterize the media in this country, avoiding far more important issues of media bias and concentration of media ownership.

The recent mergers between corporate giants such as Time and Warner Communications, and General Electric's purchase of NBC, evidence the more fundamental problem with the media in this country. The same conservative corporate interests which marble the rest of our political and economic life own and operate the major television, radio, and newspaper organizations in this country. Given this effectively monolithic corporate ownership, the issues raised by Shaw become inconsequential.

The individuals who work in the media, for any number of apparently disparate reasons (not just the factors Shaw focused on), will ultimately report and discuss only a narrow range of issues; issues thought appropriate to a small group of corporate people, mostly male, white and middle-aged. Shaw only focused on the pawns in the game, leaving the major players in the background.

ROBERT LIPTON

Los Angeles

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