Whenever the “media conglomerates control America” argument rolls around, it’s easy to pass it off as watchful paranoia at best and mad ravings at worst. Sometimes, the arguments are so poorly conceived they can ignored completely.
As bad as anyone wants to pretend media control in the United States, North Korea is worse than anything we have ever had. According to a 2006 report on media censorship by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ):
“The world’s deepest information void, communist North Korea has no independent journalists, and all radio and television receivers sold in the country are locked to government-specified frequencies.”
This is the same country that just threatened the United States with “miserable destruction.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that North Korea is entirely unfit to make that claim. (Though North Korea is also in need of rocket scientists.)
I believe that by keeping their people in dark, the government of North Korea has similarly disillusioned themselves. By letting any public media outlet atrophy without competition or innovation, real information has become scarce. A glimpse of the dream-like world of false information can be seen in the following propaganda video:
Not to say state-run media outlets are always the devil. The BBC and Al-Jazeera are owned by Great Britain and Qatar respectively and both are well respected media sources. The United States has similar public media, PBS and NPR, though they are not owned directly by the government.
By looking at international media models, we can see there is no magic bullet to media ownership. A state-run media outlet may be free from the threat of advertising taking over content but it also runs the risk of becoming a government puppet.
I would much prefer my media selling out to Coke and Pepsi than to Kim Jung-Un. So while there will always be critics of the US and it’s media model, I still believe we have one of the better functioning media in the world. At least if this country does experience “miserable destruction” we will know about it.