POWER LAWS AND THE FCC

Clay Shirky, he of Power Law fame, uses the weblog analogy to explain why the hubub over FCC deregulation of media buyouts is misguided:

inequality can arise in systems where users are free to make choices among a large set of options, even in the absence of central control or manipulation. Inequality is not a priori evidence of manipulation, in other words; it can also be a side effect of large systems governed by popular choice.

Shirky expounds upon this point in the post.

Jeff Jarvis takes some exception to this analysis, but agrees with the general point and advocates even wider deregulation:

I would allow media companies to merge to deal with the realities of a business that is getting more competitive thanks to the Internet and cable and instant, worldwide digital delivery of content. I would not get all hot and bothered about consolidation in local TV news (what the hell is really local about a guy standing on a street corner at 6 am where a murder occurred 12 hours before so he can read copy that was probably written by the AP; he’s standing there just so he can look “local”; it’s an illusion, folks). I would not get all huffy about consolidation in radio (hell, what’s local about playing Jewel’s CD?). I would allow Howard Stern to say whatever the hell he pleased on the air (for if he goes too far, his audience and advertisers will reject him and he will fail).

There’s even a guest appearance by Glenn hisownself in the comments section.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.