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Monopoly on news offers no choice

“Fair and balanced.” “The world’s leader in news.” “America’s finest news source.”

We’ve heard all these slogans from news sources. While the slogans certainly are different, the product isn’t nearly as diverse as it should be.

It is hard to get news that isn’t biased. Due to this fact, it is important to have a number of options when looking for information about the happenings around the world.

Right now, consider any news source and you can expect to get the same news from every other source.

Is this bad?

It certainly is. The biggest benefit of free enterprise is competition. The news business does compete, but that competition is based more on promotion than substance. The content remains the same.

Could it get worse?

It is about to. A proposal is in place that would merge ABC News with CNN. Recently, it was announced that the proposal was put on hold, but it looks like the two units eventually could merge.

They say the merger is to better serve the customer. More likely, and easier to believe, is that they will merge to cut costs and make more money.

While they certainly have the right to try and make money, the customer is the one who will experience the negative consequences of such a merger.

In the current climate, there are limited choices for getting your news. If ABC News and CNN combine, the few choices that do exist will be consolidated even more.

Gannett, Knight Ridder and Lee Enterprises are all corporations that have considerable holdings of newspapers around the country.

Many readers don’t realize who the parent companies are. In many cases, a viewer or reader will assume they are getting a different slant on the news without realizing all the sources are owned by one company.

News should report the truth, but it is often about making money.

University Wire — Oregon State U.