Who is really behind our news?

by stargirl_14 on April 1, 2015 - 4:13pm

 

After reading an article on Businessinsider.com “These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of the Media in America”, I came across some astonishing facts about which corporations are in control of the information shown through media channels.  In 1983, 50 companies owned 90% of American media and in 2011 it’s been consolidated into 6 major corporations (Lutz). According to the article, there are six major corporations that control roughly 90% of all media broadcasted. These corporations include; GE, Time Warner, CBS, Viacom and News Corporations. These media giants control what we read, watch and listen to.  Their total revenue in 2010 was an astonishing 275.9 billion dollars US. Thus, this raises the question of illusion of free choice.

 

The monopolization in the news media has become a much greater issue than before. As the media is becoming increasingly popular and globalized, the more consolidated the owners become.  With only a few major players having so much wealth and power can cause multiple problems. With every news cast owned by one of the six corporations mentioned above, the more in control they are of the information being broadcasted on their channels.

 

If we look at certain news stations, 232 media executives control the information diet of 277 million Americans (Lutz).  News anchors feel oppressed by these big corporations to deliver the news in such a manner that these multi-billion dollar corporations would like them too. Even if the anchor doesn’t agree with the exact view of the network, they will still deliver the news because of fear of losing their job. The problem that arises with having only one view on certain issues is that it leaves potential for deception and can mislead the public from reality. Many news channels will manipulate and filter out news that does not fit their corporate agenda, as they try to keep their information uniformed in a matter to not cause any controversies. Corporate agenda includes a lot of political views therefore blurs the lines between professional journalism and public relations.

 

 If we look at the argument of Utilitarianism, doing the greater good for the greater number of people, one can argue that having everyone in the same mind set would cause less harm and conflict. However, does it actually produce the greatest happiness? I believe that since the media is an important source for our news and understanding about the global issues that arise in the world, we should pay closer attention to it. Only showing or supporting one angle of the story can sway the population’s opinions on certain news events. Not giving the viewers all the information necessary to properly form an educated and critical opinion to participate in a democracy is morally wrong. This problem arises when having fewer voices and causes the lack of diversity of expression to exist. Eliminating freedom of the press consequently eliminates freedom of speech. The media undermines democracy by listening to those with big wallets instead of acting in the interest of the population. Instead of delivering news from the people to the people, it is only listening to big corporations. For a democracy to function properly the news corporations must listen and deliver the news in a proper and respectful matter. Citizens have a right to know what is going on in the world and can formulate their own opinion about it afterwards. As humans we have a right to express our opinions and views on issues that happen in the world. Therefore, if we let corporations eliminate our freedom of speech, we have erased hundreds of years of combat for it to let them take it all away.

 

In conclusion, despite the fact that almost all our media outlets are being controlled by a handful of wealthy and power corporations, there are still some independent reporters and websites.  The point is that we as citizens should analyze what is being portrayed in the media. We should be supporting these independent reporters for standing up for freedom of press. There are also many activist groups across Canada and the United States that as trying to spread awareness about the lack of diversity in the media. For a democracy to work in the media, we must not be silent about it. If we do not agree with what big corporations are portraying in the media we should speak up. With great numbers comes power that may lead to a positive wave of change across the nation.

 

 

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

 

Comments

Your situation portrayed the sad, but realistic truth regarding the control that big corporations have on the access to information in the USA. Your post was very interesting since I did not know that six big companies were controlling 90% of the newspapers in this country. However, I am not convinced about your conclusion when you say that it is the role of citizens to analyze if what is being written is true or not. My disagreement with your point of view is that they may suffer from a lack of information that would allow a debate to be created. One good example of what I suggest is the current situation in Quebec. Pierre-Karl Peladeau, a businessman owning 40% of all Medias in Quebec with Quebecor, wants to become the leader of the Parti Quebecois, and eventually, Prime Minister. To me, it seems like a bad mix because how a reporter working for Quebecor Media will be willing to criticize the political decisions of his boss? Bottom line, the population would be penalized by it since they will have access to only what Mr. Peladeau wants to show them. Finally, people reading the point that I try to make need to be careful; I am not suggesting that the Parti Quebecois is a totally unethical political party, I am just pointing out an issue, and the Liberal Party of Quebec is not really better regarding media ethics. Indeed, it is not a secret for everyone that almost every election, throughout his editorial, La Presse newspaper is backing the Liberal Party. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has the authority to prevent the purchase of too newspapers from the same company. They apparently do not use this power, since Transcontinental just sold, on April 13, its consumer magazines and their websites to Peladeau’s corporation.

Article regarding Pierre-Karl Peladeau’s influence on the media: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/03/10/quebec_liberals_sound_warn...

Article regarding the relationship between La Presse newspaper and the Liberal party: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/la-presse-backs-quebec-libe...

Article regarding the transaction between Transcontinental and Quebecor: http://www.sys-con.com/node/3323847

I like how you introduce your text by saying that the control of mass media “raises a question of illusion of free choice”. Your content covers a great topic with thoughtful arguments. Since journalism is supposed to benefit “the greater people for the greater good”, it is supposed to grant all kinds of opinions from journalists. These big corporations control the news and retrieve the relevant and the irrelevant in their news so that they have more customers. The fact that you mention that big corporations control whatever the journalists want to write in the news relates to my current project. I am volunteering in an organization called Justice Femme, where they help Muslim women, who are often attacked by the media, to overcome this critical phase Muslim are going through at the moment. Islamophobia is all over the press at the moment because this is what these corporations that you have mentioned earlier have on their agenda. If you are interested to contribute to the organization Justice Femme, follow this link for more information. : http://newsactivist.com/en/news-summary/flacks-newsactivist-winter-2015-...

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