Practically, this means that anyone with wide enough influence can directly affect democratic outcomes, which defeats the entire purpose, and the level of influence possible these days is unprecedented.
So regardless of what actually did or did not happen, the fact that a few companies ARE in a position to wield this kind of influential power should strike fear into the heart of every free citizen of every democratic nation.
But I agree it is terrifying that there are companies devoted to an overt political stance that have vast reach and even monopolies in many markets like Sinclair  and others 
I don't find it obvious at all. Do you have any evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case? Why would those terms/results show up in the first place if only few are looking them up?
(Unfortunately, I would say this is even likely to be true of topics for which there is, in fact, an objectively true answer, like climate change, which many of the results will be opposing.)
>Do you have any evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case?
Only my apparently overly optimistic understanding of human nature.
Indeed, Fox News, Britebart, and friends are terrifying.
Also, if journalists are reluctant to be identified as Republican, perhaps the Republican party should do some soul searching about why this is so.
Assuming there’s no bias is naive.
Note that I'm not taking a position on those implications, but am saying according to your logic the above is sound.
Also according to your logic Dems should do soul searching because lumberjacks and truck drivers are mostly Republicans...
(Tweaking the algorithm to get bot-propogated t_d content off the front page doesn't count, it's a different subforum)
Brietbart is an entirely different category than Fox news. It will publish straight up conspiracy theories with no evidence. I'm talking "moon landing didn't happen" level shit. It's an insult to tabloids, to call it a tabloids.
Fox News is so comically biased to compare it to CNN is dishonest. CNN has liberal bias, sure, but it doesnt sink to the level of claiming Hillary Clinton had Seth rich assassinated (https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/may/23...) or completely makes shit up about supreme court candidates whole-cloth (https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2016/mar/18...).
Sure, they're gonna spend a lot of airtime on the "kavanaugh allegedly raped a girl in high school" story, or when the president says some messed up ish they're gonna go ahead and play that clip again and again, but that is a far cry from outright lying, which fox news does again and again, and which Breitbart does every breath.
Read about the leftward movement of Politifact here : https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/politifact/
This does not mean Politifact cannot be trusted, but it potentually makes analysis like yours less accurate
I believe this is proof that CNN lies less than Fox.
To convince me otherwise, you'd need to put the work in that politifact has done here, and compile your own list of statements, analyzed for truthfulness, from each organization.
My email is in my profile if you ever do this work. I'm happy to be convinced.
Wow, so we need to look at each and every statement they have made and analyze their truthfulness before we can conclude which one lies more?
I take it you have never heard of statistics and sampling.
Do you have an example? I visit that site extremely rarely. And then only via a link to a story that looks reasonable on it's face.
CNN has spent over a year covering the Russia investigation, breathlessly accepting any shred of hearsay that could possibly maybe implicate Trump in collusion, however it seems now that there has been no collusion whatsoever and the entire issue is fake. CNN has been pushing nonsense this entire time!
In fact I've watched both Fox and CNN my entire life and Fox seems to me much less biased than CNN as of late.
But its journalists don't lie at nearly the same frequency as fox's
Here's a very simple comparison, persue at your leisure:
Agreed, i didn't say otherwise and i didn't group it with other three websites. As an outsider, i have seen tons of people who are non-liberal (either centrist or right wing) get dismissed immediately even though there are times when the argument makes sense. Also, it filled with Russian hacking.
I never compared the three news sites. Parent point first two, i just said it's not like CNN is completely neutral as well. Also remember this is the same channel that didn't want you to download wikileaks and only listen to what they say. Did CNN's political commentator not actually pass questions to Hillary prior to the debate? How is that not biased?
I also completely agree with your points about Fox news and Breitbart and i do agree they are worse than CNN but we aren't on a binary scale. You can't just blame Fox news and Brietbart and completely ignore CNN (which the op did).
It may have always been that way in the US. From his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin controlled a newspaper and founded secret societies for wealthy business owners to collude together while getting business for his printing press from the government.
vs the past when we had the single newspaper, the single encyclopedia, their priest, the three TV networks, or the town gossip mill?
> only works if each participant has independent knowledge
So, can you name a time that this was more possible than it is now?
The other has to do with journalists following their biases in reporting things --an agenda that is not dictated by outside third parties, but one of following an implicit ideology.
1) You might be interested in the book The Influential Mind. While she doesn't come out and say it directly, the bizarre state of our digital lives (i.e., social media) has quite a bit of reasonable (scientific) explanation.
2) The irony of the homogenized "wisdom" is that these same entities are personalizing so much that the shared / collective experience is being diminished. Perhaps it's easier to build mono-minded on top of a disheveled and disorganized foundation?