There’s an old saying that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Of course that’s nonsense. What we don’t know could make us placid zombies in a world where nearly all media is falling under the control of a few giant corporations.
I bet you didn’t know until now that Rupert Murdoch was making a $76 billion offer to buy Time Warner.
The news leaked out only because Comcast (owner of NBC Universal) is trying to buy Time Warner Cable (which was spun off from Time Warner Inc., the company Murdoch’is targeting) and AT&T is gobbling up DirecTV, and those deals are undergoing review by the agency that’s supposed to be regulating the industry.
Yes, I know, who can be expected to get their heads around these mega deals? So much information, such convoluted arrangements… It’s enough to make any normal person dizzy.
Let’s see … You know that Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News. But did you know that Time Warner owns CNN?
Murdoch’s bid was rejected but you can bet he will keep trying. He is not the kind who takes no for an answer.
If he succeeds, Murdoch would control a vast entertainment and information conglomerate, including Warner Bros, producers of the Harry Potter and Batman movies; 21st Century Fox’s X-Men and Avatar; and Time Warner’s lucrative cable channels, including HBO, home of Game of Thrones, Cinemax and Fox’s FX, as well as Fox News and the Fox broadcast network.
The 83-year-old Australian-born media mogul and political propagandist already owns the Wall Street Journal and is showing interest in the Tribune newspapers (which owns the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun). And that’s only the American slice of his empire. He also controls an array of newspapers and TV stations in Britain and Australia.
Murdoch would reportedly be prepared to sell CNN to appease the regulators, but sell to whom? Who else has that kind of money? Disney? Viacom? CBS? And would the regulators let Viacom or CBS have CNN when billionaire Sumner Redstone holds a controlling stake in both Viacom and CBS?
Also, the regulators might balk at Disney, which already owns ABC and ESPN.
Anyone who wants – and can afford – CNN would probably be in the same league as Fox and Comcast. As media companies merge, fewer and fewer options exist.