URLs du Jour


  • I can understand if you've overdosed on Milton Friedman tributes, but Thomas Sowell's is very good.
    Students were not allowed to walk into his classroom after his lecture had begun, distracting others. Once, I arrived at the door just minutes after Friedman began speaking and had to turn around and go back to the dormitory, wondering all the while whether what he taught that day would be on the next exam. After that, I was always in my seat when Friedman entered the classroom. He was also a tough grader. On one exam, there were only two B's in the whole class--and no A's.
    Pay attention, kids. You can bounce back from a missed lecture. (Although he doesn't say so here, diligent readers of Professor Sowell's memoir will know he got one of those B's.)

  • Looking up "media consolidation" at the Google will give you (as I type) a hefty 442,000 hits. Many, probably most—sorry, didn't check them all—are alarmist "threat or menace" sites, pointing with dismay to the looming disaster of a small handful of moguls controlling free expression in America. Aieee!

    At the Technology Liberation Front, Adam Thierer points out the recent trend toward deconsolidation, as exemplified by the crackup of Clear Channel, which only a few years back was Exhibit A among the doomcriers.

    Again, don't expect the Chicken Little media critics to acknowledge any of this. As I've said again and again in this ongoing series, this is an example of a well-functioning, competitive marketplace at work. Media critics think every merger or acquisition is all just part of some sort of grand conspiracy to destroy democracy or competition. But when the opposite happens and firms reorganize or downsize, the critics never say a peep.
    To make a Sowellian observation: holders of the unconstrained vision are quick to Point With Alarm to the workings of the free market, in hope that their fearmongering will result in political power down the road. Ironically, in this case—remember those 442,000 hits—they have plenty of willing mouthpieces in the media. People like Thierer are an invaluable counterbalance.

  • On a related note, Clear Channel is being bought by a group of private investing firms, one of which is Bain Capital, which (in turn) was founded twenty years ago by (among others) Mitt Romney.

    The increasingly worthless Blogometer picks up and amplifies lefty thoughts on the matter uncritically:

    ROMNEY: Clearly A Threat To Democracy

    The netroots have taken notice of MA Gov. Mitt Romney (R) founded Bain Capital's purchase of Clear Channel. MyDD's Chris Bowers picked up the story from Rochester Turning who writes: "Mitt Romney is running for president in 2008 (some consider him the frontrunner for the Republican nomination). I bet a fleet of t.v.and radio stations might come in handy. Remember - this is how Berlusconi got elected in Italy." Bowers adds: "To prepare for their 2008 runs, most potential candidates stock up on staff, a Leadership PAC, and support from party leaders, advocacy organizations, and grassroots groups. Mitt Romney buys a media empire. I can't argue with what will probably be an effective strategy, but I can fear for American Democracy. Maybe Romney did this in order to match Giuliani's defacto news organization, Bloomberg."

    A quick look at Wikipedia would have been enough to deflate this hot air balloon:
    Romney departed Bain in 2001, selling off his majority interest.
    The reality-based community never lets such piddling facts get in the way of an ominous dark fantasy, though.

Last Modified 2012-10-21 12:47 PM EDT