Liberal media bias?

Since the days of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, conservatives have been fond of blaming MSM (mainstream media) for interfering with their agenda.   They contend that most news outlets are run by liberals and therefore biased against conservatives. 


The vast majority of media outlets are owned by just five conglomerates (CBS, Disney, General Electric, News Corp, and TimeWarner).  Who do we have to thank for the ever-shrinking number of media owners?  Well, conservatives of course. 

For example, during the Reagan administration, Congress passed the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 which deregulated cable TV rates.  As a result, cable rates skyrocketed 25-30 percent through 1986-1988.  Then, following the Newt Gingrich-led Republican Revolution, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  Conservatives sold the bill as a way to increase competition and lower consumer costs (Does that sound familiar?).  But like most Republican legislation, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 did the exact opposite.   Following its passage, cable TV rates have jumped more than 40 percent and the number of cable system owners dropped dramatically. 

Prior to deregulation, there were thousands of cable systems.  Today, five corporations (Comcast, TimeWarner, Cox, Charter and Cablevision control the lion’s share of the market – more than 50 million households.   In addition, two companies (DirecTV and Dish) control satellite TV serving than 31 million households, three media giants own all of the cable news networks, five corporations dominate Internet news, and one corporation (Clear Channel) owns 900 radio stations. 

Such large media conglomerates can hardly be accused of liberal bias.  Indeed, the exact opposite is more likely to be true.  Certainly many of the News Corp–owned media promote conservative points of view.   And combined with the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, it has become increasingly easy for these behemoths to control public opinion (and therefore legislation). 

Could that be the real reason behind deregulation?