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Kreimer v. Baker on Media, Markets and Democracy 1


CRITICS CLAIM THAT government interventions prevent audiences from getting the media content that they want and that an unregulated market would provide. Political theorists assert that a free press is essential for democracy. In Media, Markets, and Democracy, Ed Baker, the Nicholas F. Gallichio Professor of Law, argues that the critics’ claim is simply wrong and that the theorists’ assertion is right but inadequate for policy purposes. Unique economic aspects of media products prevent markets from providing for audience desires. Also, different theories of democracy lead to striking differences in opinion about what constitutes good journalism and good media policy. While himself favoring a theory of “complex democracy,” Baker contends that the choice among democratic theories is crucial for understanding what should be meant by the constitutional protection of “freedom of the press.”

The book was winner of the 2002 McGannon Communications Policy Research Award given for the year’s best scholarship on media policy and ethics. Baker is only the second law professor to win this competitive annual award.

In a symposium at Penn, Ed Baker squared off with Seth F. Kreimer, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, to debate the merits of the arguments contained in Baker’s book.

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