Democrats can’t possibly criticize media companies, so they’re denouncing them instead

To state the obvious: the Republicans have established a preferred network of media moguls. That, along with their financing, means they have an inherent veto power in the political world over how the medium operates, two Democratic politicians argued in two separate op-eds published Thursday in The Hill and Variety.

In their op-eds, Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Cory Booker of New Jersey describe in detail how concerns about the AT&T-Time Warner merger have led them to oppose the deal and to demand transparency regarding the conditions imposed on the merged firm by the government.

“Let’s make sure the conditions handed down by the courts are practical and effective,” wrote Wyden, the senior Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “And, to increase competition, we need to ensure that smaller and emerging media companies can also compete, without government favor or intimidation.”

Both of the op-eds are detailed and appropriate criticisms of the merger, particularly Wyden, who represents a state with an interest in telecommunications policy. The op-eds, however, also make two points that many Democrats have made in the past: One, that the Republican Party is built on increasing the reach of big media corporations. And two, that doing so further favors particular constituencies, such as entertainment interests that happen to be of a particular racial makeup.

Wyden’s op-ed cites CenturyLink, for example, a telecommunications company that is selling off its 15 local TV stations — presumably because it did not want to comply with the Obama-era net neutrality rules, which now have been rescinded.

“There’s less coverage of rural America than rural America sees. And while AT&T fights hard to promote minorities in Hollywood, more minorities in our media are not the goal, but the outcome.”

The point here is not a racial one, or even a political one. Instead, the point is that the media moguls have built their empires on propping up specific groups and selling access to the rest of the nation — for a few hours a day, at least. Why should the rest of the nation be denied that access at all, and therefore hobbled as a result?

Booker, meanwhile, comes to the same conclusion:

“You do not need to assume the worst from your political opponents in order to side with consumers against their interests.”

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