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Free Speech for Me, But Not For Thee

The Democrat hypocrisy on free speech continues:

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), a vocal critic of the free market for ideas, recently stated, "We really do literally have five or six major corporations in this country that determine for the most part what Americans see, hear and read every day."

Unfortunately for the Senator, we really don't. According to Ben Compaine, author of Who Owns the Media?, from 1985 to 1995 the top ten media companies went from raking in 38 percent of media revenue to 41 percent -- not exactly the kind of mass consolidation the pundits would have you fear.

But revenues -- the traditional means for measuring media market diversity -- are not the best way to gauge the diversity of opinions in the American marketplace of ideas. With the advent of the Internet and the new national pastime, blogging, media revenue models are being completely redrawn.

Arianna Huffington's aptly named Huffington Post claims to draw in 4.7 million unique users a month (Nielson estimates show about 1.5 million). Fortune has quoted an unnamed source estimating that Huffington can expect her team of less than 50 staffers to haul in $7.5 million this year.

Compare that to the other post -- the Washington Post. The Washington Post Company reported that in 2007 the Post took in a comparatively whopping $496.2 million in advertising revenue. Yet its average daily circulation totaled 649,700, half of Nielson's conservative estimate of Huffington's reach.

Lean, web-based companies -- which have much lower operating costs and use far fewer dead trees to disseminate their ideas -- are left underrepresented in current media market measurement for no other reason than their relative efficiency. If we substituted eyeballs reached for dollars spent the already robust picture of the media market would show even less evidence for concern.

Liberals claim to be pro-free speech, but it was not the Right which brought us speech codes on campus, political correctness, and a national media which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of one political ideology and one political party.

Is it any wonder they admire that great champion of free speech, Che Guevara, he of the "say what we want you to say or you'll be lined up against a wall and shot?" school of civil liberties?

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