Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Some people are worried that media consolidation might cause the films and TV that people see to be systematically skewed to fit a political agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the Walt Disney corporation. Now, it's true that they're refusing to distribute Micahel Moore's new documentary on Dubya's connections to the Saudis, which will probably keep it out of theaters throughout most of the country. But look at their reasons:

A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company had the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films if it deemed their distribution to be against the interests of the company. The executive said Mr. Moore's film is deemed to be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film, which does not have a release date, could alienate many.

"It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle," this executive said.

See? They're trying to avoid politics!

Besides, there are other political documentaries coming out. NPR this morning had a story on them -- which didn't mention Moore's troubles at all. It did, however, feature John Podhoretz saying that the reasons a lot of these films are coming out right now is that liberal foundations were funding them all. The reporter briefly mumbled afterwards something to the effect that Podhoretz was wrong about the funding for most of the particular films discussed in the report. But even though the reporter knew Podhoretz was basically lying, he subscribes to the code of the American journalistic profession. A code which demands that even when people with a prominent enough role in the establishment are flat-out-lying, they deserve a forum anyway in which to present their lies. In the name of balance and objectivity.

More: Well, that's what Disney say their motive is. But they're also rumored to have an eye on the Florida tax breaks under the purview of Dubya's brother Jeb... a bit that I'd missed in reading through the same New York Times article. It didn't get past Floridian Michael Froomkin...


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