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Corporate Media Ownership

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posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 08:45 AM
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I just read this article by Ted Turner on media ownership. I have copied part of the article and will list the url to the full artricle.

I have been concerned for years that corporations are controlling way too much of my life such who runs for political office, ( remember the Dean scream played over and over) what news stories are allowed to air etc...

Read the article and tell me what you think. Do you think Corporations are controlling our political system for their own benifit?

www.washingtonmonthly.com...

Loss of democratic debate
"When media companies dominate their markets, it undercuts our democracy. Justice Hugo Black, in a landmark media-ownership case in 1945, wrote: "The First Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public."

These big companies are not antagonistic; they do billions of dollars in business with each other. They don't compete; they cooperate to inhibit competition. You and I have both felt the impact. I felt it in 1981, when CBS, NBC, and ABC all came together to try to keep CNN from covering the White House. You've felt the impact over the past two years, as you saw little news from ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, or CNN on the FCC's actions. In early 2003, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had heard "nothing at all" about the proposed FCC rule changes. Why? One never knows for sure, but it must have been clear to news directors that the more they covered this issue, the harder it would be for their corporate bosses to get the policy result they wanted.

A few media conglomerates now exercise a near-monopoly over television news. There is always a risk that news organizations can emphasize or ignore stories to serve their corporate purpose. But the risk is far greater when there are no independent competitors to air the side of the story the corporation wants to ignore. More consolidation has often meant more news-sharing. But closing bureaus and downsizing staff have more than economic consequences. A smaller press is less capable of holding our leaders accountable. When Viacom merged two news stations it owned in Los Angeles, reports The American Journalism Review, "field reporters began carrying microphones labeled KCBS on one side and KCAL on the other." This was no accident. As the Viacom executive in charge told The Los Angeles Business Journal: "In this duopoly, we should be able to control the news in the marketplace."

This ability to control the news is especially worrisome when a large media organization is itself the subject of a news story. Disney's boss, after buying ABC in 1995, was quoted in LA Weekly as saying, "I would prefer ABC not cover Disney." A few days later, ABC killed a "20/20" story critical of the parent company.

But networks have also been compromised when it comes to non-news programs which involve their corporate parent's business interests. General Electric subsidiary NBC Sports raised eyebrows by apologizing to the Chinese government for Bob Costas's reference to China's "problems with human rights" during a telecast of the Atlanta Olympic Games. China, of course, is a huge market for GE products.

Consolidation has given big media companies new power over what is said not just on the air, but off it as well. Cumulus Media banned the Dixie Chicks on its 42 country music stations for 30 days after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush for the war in Iraq. It's hard to imagine Cumulus would have been so bold if its listeners had more of a choice in country music stations. And Disney recently provoked an uproar when it prevented its subsidiary Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11. As a senior Disney executive told The New York Times: "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle." Follow the logic, and you can see what lies ahead: If the only media companies are major corporations, controversial and dissenting views may not be aired at all.

Naturally, corporations say they would never suppress speech. But it's not their intentions that matter; it's their capabilities. Consolidation gives them more power to tilt the news and cut important ideas out of the public debate. And it's precisely that power that the rules should prevent. "




posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 09:10 AM
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I have had this discussion many times with what seems little effect. I get coments like it is peoples own fault if they trust the mass media but most Americans do not comprehend the problem. This may shed light fo some to see where problems are,this is a post from a Editor I was having a discussion with.

[reply]
Sorry, but I think the "Media Agenda" is complete BS and I think I have some experience to back it up!

I work for Gannett which is the USA's largest newspaper group. We own 101 daily newspapers (including the USA Today) in the US, a variety of non-daily newspapers in the US, 17 daily newpapers in the UK and more non-daily papers there. They also own 22 television stations and have a large internet presence.

In Wisconsin alone they own 10 daily newpapers and a few non-daily publications.

Each and every publication has control over their own content. If Appleton decides to run a story on the war in Iraq they run a story. Corporate does not tell them what stories to run. Nearly every major media source gets stories from the Associated Press. Each publication we own can pick and choose what stories to run, can edit them for content, length, local perspectives, etc...

You can get a pretty broad perspective of news coverage from within the same company.

If you really want to see "other perspectives" more people are going to have to demand them. Please realize that media companies pay attention to what stories are popular, what headlines get clicked on the web, etc. 99% of the US isn't reading, viewing or demanding this info so they print, show & offer the content that is in demand. They have to have viewers/readers to have advertisers and they have to have advertisers to make money.
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Think about what this man is saying and the problems this creates.



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