Perhaps the most important lesson learned in 2004 by those who are NOT on the right is that we cannot trust the media. Although successful campaigns were waged against the media giants, preventing them from controlling 45% of television audiences. We saw that Michael Powell was more than compliant in helping these giants achieve their goals. Clear Channel controls radio , with over 2,000 stations and one Clear Channel station actually firing an employee for opposing the Iraq War. Rupert Murdock, ultra right-wing media mogul of Fox
News and The New York Post expanded his empire. Reese Schonfeld, co-founder of CNN and international cable network developer writes:
"One of the most significant media stories was Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of DirecTV. Now he automatically has distribution for any network he wants to launch nationwide. None of the other major media companies are national. It gives him the freedom to launch anything he wants to launch."Now he's got the power, and Rupert knows how to use the power. If he wants to replace CNN International with Sky News, he can. He is the first major cable network provider to have access to a nationwide audience. It may make EchoStar [another national satellite cable provider] the most valuable company in the next year, and it wouldn't surprise me if someone like Sony or Viacom or NBC started looking at this."
In spite of these negative developments from the perspective of he or she who is center-left, 2004 did have it's success stories too. Sinclair broadcasting was not able to air its anti-Kerry message in its entirety. Air-America, a center-left national media outlet that got off to a somewhat rocky start is now thriving with 41 new stations. Two of their radio personalities Al Franklin and Randi Rhodes have developed a massive following. Pacifica Radio Station WBAI in New York City experienced a huge increase in listenership in the New York Metropolitan Area during the Presidential campaign primarily because of skepticism of mainstream media coverage. MediaMatter.org can correct a misconception by Rush Limbaugh or Shawn Hannity practically the same day that they say it. The big battle for 2005 should be the "fairness"(or lack of fairness) of the 2004 Presidential elections. Republican Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell refuses to answer questions and has even sought legal protection. NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC to my knowledge have not mentioned this, nor have they mentioned the progress of the ongoing investigations of John Conyers and Jessie Jackson. What we on the left have learned is that mass media cannot be trusted to give both sides of an issue. As a result alternative media is THE option for 2005 and beyond.