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For the most part, a very few corporations control the information in most magazines, newspapers, television, radio and on the Internet. Between 40 and 70 percent of that information is generated from news releases and PR-material from better-funded companies and organizations. In this climate, perhaps it won't surprise you that a significant minority get their news from "Saturday Night Live", "The Daily Show" and other satiric shows.
While we appreciate SNL, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Trevor Noah (and Jon Stewart!) and all their writers' many talents, comedians can't be expected to do all the heavy lifting. PNS believes mainstream media today (with a few notable exceptions) seems frenzied and not as thoughtful as it could be. Many journalists find it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the quality of in-depth reporting to which they aspire. And PNS believes the ultimate casualty is a spirited, informed public debate about a wide variety of issues.
Further, while 10s of 1,000s of radio-related jobs have been lost since the Telecom Act of 1996 deregulated the radio industry, in 2010 we are losing about 1,000 journalism jobs per month (according to John Nichols, The Nation). The Federal Communications Commission is poised for even more deregulation, and the prohibition against owning television stations as well as newspapers is highly vulnerable, which would clear the way for mega-media players to control the major news outlets in many markets. These trends - fewer employees, and greater syndication of programming between fewer media conglomerates - means a more "homogeneous" news product, with less depth and fewer meaningful local or regional angles. For the latest news on deregulation, visit www.reclaimthemedia.org or www.mediareform.net.