Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community  

Go Back   Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community > The Academy > Tilted Politics


 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-06-2007, 12:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Washington State
Concentration of Media Ownership?

From time to time, I've heard people cite Rupert Murdoch's growing media empire and claim that due to mergers of media companies, more and more media is in the ownership of fewer hands, and that the number of diverse voices that shape public opinion is shrinking.

My reaction is: What planet are they living on?

Let's take a look at the sources that American get their national & international news from in decades past:

ABC
NBC
CBS
MBS (Mutual Broadcast Service - a radio network than never got into TV)
AP
UPI
Time Magazine
Newsweek Magazine

And that was pretty much it.
While TV and radio stations were owned by a large number of comapies (the FCC used to limited ownship of broadcast stations to 3 TV and 3 radio stations per company), most stations did no indepentent national coverage - they just ran coverage from one of the networks above.

Let's look at the sources of such information today:

ABC
NBC/MSNBC
CBS
FOX
CNN
PBS
NPR
AP
Rueters
Time Magazine
Newsweek Magazine
Thousands of web sites

The Internet has made any monopoly of information impossible. With thousands of blogs and message boards, all possible points of view are represented and easily accessable by anyone.

Thoughts?
Racnad is offline  
Old 09-06-2007, 04:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Location: CA
I wrote a paper on this for my Pol 1 government class earlier this year. I argued that the television and newspaper media is fairly consolidated, but yes, it is the internet that is counteracting the conglomerates. Citizen media is more popular than ever, and slowly but surely bringing to light an alternative source of news. Hopefully this trend continues and we see, as technology advances, a further integration of citizen media into the masses. With better technology, more people can report their own news, and more people will be able to access it. My bet is that TV and internet will integrate further and it will be easier to say, watch an RSS video feed of multiple citizen media sources on your television, as an alternative to the conglomerate news channels.

Last edited by Kabsnow; 09-06-2007 at 04:49 PM..
Kabsnow is offline  
Old 09-06-2007, 05:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
Baraka_Guru's Avatar
 
Super Moderator
Location: East-central Canada
According to Wikinomics, in early 2006, Blogger.com overtook CNN.com in reach per million. CNN.com was actually showing a downward trend by that time.
__________________
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
Baraka_Guru is offline  
Old 09-06-2007, 05:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
Deja Moo
 
Elphaba's Avatar
 
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Racnad, this is a great topic and I hope you will start more of the same in "Politics."

The issue of most importance, as I see it, is the change in how 'News' is now being reported given the corporate ownership dictate of profitability. In the past, news departments were considered the "public service" required of the media using public owned airwaves. The consolidation of corporate ownership of the public airways has led to the "infotainment" that currently exists among the so-called news programs of today. I first saw the effect of corporate ownership with commercial interests at stake, when GE quashed a 60 Minutes report covering a tobacco whistle blower. (You might be familiar with the film).

I am a subscriber of TIME magazine and to include that publication as an honest source of unbiased information suggests to me that you haven't given sufficient research into the publications on your lists. TIME has a different front cover story for the US than other countries when the topic is "sensitive" for whatever reason. We are not privy to topics that might rock the boat at home.

Yes, news websites may overcome some of these problems but they also create another source of misinformation, and agreement for those seeking support of their ideology. I am a fiscal conservative and a social progressive and I seek out websites that closely correspond to my political beliefs. By doing so, I circumscribe my exposure and see little of a differing ideology as a result. I suggest to you that we selectively "shrink" our exposure to diverse voices via this media, rather than expand it.
__________________
"You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to." Molly Ivins - 1944-2007
Elphaba is offline  
Old 09-06-2007, 07:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
Baraka_Guru's Avatar
 
Super Moderator
Location: East-central Canada
I tend to stay away from most news, but I do read headlines via news aggregators, and the occasional article. More often than not, when I do read an article, it is something from the CBC or the Associated Press. Even then, I only look at it on the surface. In a way, I look at it as an unconfirmed report. In both high school and university I have taken media classes, so I have a rudimentary understanding of how news media works. I was a bit appalled, actually.

I'm reluctant to call most news sources something as ironically sensational as "liars," so I won't. Those rumourmongers don't deserve to be treated like that.

Seriously, though, I look at news--especially from major conglomerates--as little more than information that acts as a precursor to knowledge. Try this out: Do a media audit of a major event, from its occurrence to its fallout. Next, do some research and read an assortment of books that cover the same event--especially books published after the fallout has lapsed a bit. Contrast and compare. I'd be frightened to do something like this with the Rwandan genocide. It would be taxing, I think. Another interesting project would be the run up to the war in Iraq. Do the audit between 9/11 and when George Bush announced "Mission Accomplished." Now go read some books.



No, seriously, go read some books.


Now, it's true that you have to be careful with books, too, but at least books have a certain level of accountability that arises out of their "shelf life." Also, books have a lot more riding on them because of length, cost, and reputation. Authors tend to face to more (and sustained) criticism with books as a result. Also, where they are coming from is easily laid bare. But even within book publishing, you see the same problems with huge concentration of producers.

Don't get me started on Random House.
__________________
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 09-06-2007 at 07:10 PM.. Reason: typo
Baraka_Guru is offline  
Old 09-06-2007, 11:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
Junkie
 
kutulu's Avatar
 
Reuters has been around since 1851. NPR since 1970 and PBS since 1969. They are hardly new players in the news scene. Basically your new players are cut down to Fox News and bloggers. Not exactly the greatest sources of unbiased information.
kutulu is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 08:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Washington State
I never meant to suggest that Time Magazine or any of the other sources I mentioned were unbiased. I just listed them as sources of information readily accessable to Americans. ALL news sources have some sort of bias. I don't think it would be possible to be completely unbiased.

I'm not sure that corporate ownership is really an issue. Most owners of media are conservative, while most journalists lean toward liberal. With the exception of Fox News, there is little evidence that management dictates to journalists what stories to cover, not cover or how to cover them. Yes there are excpetions, such as the events from the film "The Insider," but they are rare exception.
Racnad is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 09:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
Junkie
 
A Google search revealed the following ownership by cooperations of the media:


Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation: FOX, HarperCollins, New York Post, Weekly Standard, TV Guide, DirecTV and 35 TV stations

General Electric: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, Bravo, Universal Pictures and 28 TV stations

Time Warner: AOL, CNN, Warner Bros., Time and its 130-plus magazines

Disney: ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, 10 TV and 72 radio stations

Viacom: CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster and 183 U.S. radio stations

Bertelsmann: Random House and its more than 120 imprints worldwide, and Gruner + Jahr and its more than 110 magazines in 10 countries

If anyone knows any corrections to this please let me know and i'll fix it.

I think consolidation of media ownership is only a problem because it provides a vessel for other abuses. The problems with the media started when the news stopped being about what happened and started being about convincing people of your opinions. Media consolidation makes this a problem because the media can then be used to mass brainwash the public (as seen leading up to the Iraq war). I blame the change in media from facts to opinion on Rupert Murdoch and his media agenda. The news should not have an agenda other than reporting the news as accurately and fairly as possible.

Last edited by Rekna; 09-07-2007 at 09:08 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Rekna is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 09:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
roachboy's Avatar
 
Super Moderator
Location: essex ma
whether concentration of ownership in mass media is a problem depends on how you frame the question.

one problem with the op is that it doesnt actually take ownership into account at all. it's as if you are standing in front of a potato chip rack in a supermarket and you see all these brightly colored bags of chips with lots of brand names on them and say my my what a lovely and diverse market this chip industry is. the fact that frito lay owns the rack and all the brands displayed on it never enters your mind.

and since in amurica information is a commodity in the same way as potato chips are, where is the problem?



this is a little pdf that tracks the process of ownership consoldation over the past 25 years or so.

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feat...were_eight.pdf

so the factual basis for the op is a little curious, but no matter.

where is the problem?
depends on the question, doesnt it.

if you are imagining the range of surface features in the american media market, you can think about it the way you thought about potato chips. and since most media outlets in the states are advertising delivery systems above and beyond anything else, you'd be right. but if you do that, then your reliance on much in the way of mass media outlets for information might wobble a bit. there are obviously trade-offs involved with the subordination of information to advertising delivery functions and the resulting infotainments. you see them all the time. think about the if it bleeds it leads orientation of local tv news coverage. the teasers. what really matters is that you see the toothpaste adverts between those depressing film clips about iraq (properly sanitized by the pentagon's informational washing machine) or some new arbitrary tv example of "urban chaos"....

but at this level, the problem is less about concentration of ownership than it is about the commerical orientation of the american press. and that, apparently, is not an issue that is on the table.


but if you consider, say, the question of local control of media outlets as over against that of conglomerates.
or if you think that political views and modes of processing information which are not within the framework of a pro-corporate ideology are as important as those which operate within a pro-corporate ideology
you might have trouble with this.

one of the main concerns about concentration of ownership follows from concerns over the imposition of ideological positions that are matters of consensus in some sectors--neo-liberalism is a good example--to the exclusion of serious dissent, to the exclusion of questions and critiques.

what is neo-liberalism?
it is the dominant economic ideology within the united states.
i think of it as a type of gas.
it has a name, this ideology, just not in the states.
why is that?


another way:

if you think about radio and the implications of clear channel, you might have problems with this.
clear channel is a life-sucking void.
but hey, its only rock and roll.
but that's the problem: its ONLY rock and roll.

but i like it.

then you might find everything hunky dory and wonder why anyone would refer to clear channel as a life-sucking void.


but this is not so easy a question, really. many mergers are characterised by relatively little in the way of surface change in the company that was purchased. you sometimes only really see the change in modifications of cash flows and in redundancies. and does the consolidation of ownership necessarily result in ideological uniformity? well, it depends. that's why the concern above was directed at ideological premises (base-line arguments on which others are built)...

so the clearest conflict, and political flashpoint, over this has to do with the meaning of public ownership of the airwaves. conflicts over control of the frequency spectrum are conflicts of the meaning of the public and of public control or ownership.

as for net infotainment---i think that the modes of attention paid to internet infotainment is different from other types--just as reading something floating in your monitor is not the same kind of reading as reading a book. sometimes i think this follows from the lighting, sometimes i think it follows from the page-length orientation of computer presentation of information. the advantage of computers as information sources could be their ability to exploit simultaneous streams--but that hasnt happened yet--so far, almost all net information simply copies print forms and so is somehow less than print forms. habit mostly. and people are reluctant to break with established forms. that is a feature that explains much boring cultural production (but that's another matter)...so i am not sure that the availability of infotainment on the web counters the concerns raised by consolidation of ownership in broadcast and print infotainment media.

second, as elph noted above, netmedia is even easier than tv or print in terms of excluding dissonant infotainment. maybe it's because everything is dematerialized. maybe its that habit=>boring reproductions of what you already know thing.

someone i read somewhere compared broadcast radio to "narrowcast" netradio. i like that. i think it obtains for the net in general. not as such, but in the pathways that folk make for themselves through it. with a riot of possibilities, you rely on handy dandy search engines, for example, which generate these quaint linear hierarchies for you which you scroll down at your leisure. these quaint linear hierarchies stream your thinking. they are unnecessary and backward, but they exist and we use them. and that's just one way in which the diversity of net infotainment is reduced to repetitions of the same.

i dont buy the idea that the net frees us from anything, except perhaps from things we need to do but dont feel like doing, which explains why i am writing this post.
__________________
a gramophone its corrugated trumpet silver handle
spinning dog. such faithfulness it hear

it make you sick.

-kamau brathwaite
roachboy is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 09:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
Lennonite Priest
 
pan6467's Avatar
 
Location: Mansfield, Ohio USA
You forgot:

Gannett who owns close to 100 newspapers, 22 tv stations, careerbuilder.com, the USAToday weekend magazine that appears in almost every city's newspaper, and of course USAToday newspaper.

Clear Channel that owns who knows how many radio and tv stations, premier radio network, the vast majority of outdoor advertising.... and they have been preparing to go private and that would mean they would not have investors to answer to.

(This website will show you how much outdoor advert they own.... you maybe shocked: http://www.clearchanneloutdoor.com/ ) They talk about how they put the ads in malls, on taxis, buses, on mall escalators, etc. etc.

Viacom is second in outdoor advertising.

Then there's Hearst, Cox, Comcast, Cablevision, SBC.... theis website covers it all pretty much: http://www.cjr.org/resources/index.php?c=clearchannel

If we went into the companies boards and stockholders, I have a feeling we'd find the same people owning major chunks of each of them (in the guise of "institutional holders", "mutual fund holders" etc.) Big players are Barclays, Chase, Vanguard.

The argument can be made that the "institutional" and Mutual Fund" holders act as protection and they don't own that much and so on. Quite possibly, but I wonder how much stock in Chase, Barclays, Vanguard and so on, the Murdoch's, Redstone's, GE's, etc own.

The point with owning all the major media isn't controlling it right now... its being able to set the prices and who gets advertising time. They can determine the elections all the way down to locally by controlling the prices of the advertising. Those that may have a truly great message but can't get the funding to get off the ground are doomed before they start.

Once the internet is consolidated, then they can control what people see and hear almost totally.... but you can never control it totally and there will always be a rogue or 2 out there that will gum things up.
__________________
I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
pan6467 is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 10:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Washington State
Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
and does the consolidation of ownership necessarily result in ideological uniformity?
I would say usually not. Corporate owners are most interested in advertising revenue, not promoting an idiology.

A great example is FOX-TV's "The Simpsons." This show has always had a liberal bias, portrays big corruptions as corrupt, organized religion as foolish, and even takes pot shots at FOX News. If Ruppert Murdoch ever edited a Simpsons script, I never saw any sign of it.
Racnad is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 01:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Racnad I would say the Simpsons goes both ways making fun of anyone and a satirical comedy is not a good example for pointing out liberal bias. Look at the programming on Foxnews and tell me they don't promote ideology.
Rekna is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 02:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Washington State
Fox News does lean to the right. They are an exception of the rule that most news organizations attempt to be in the middle, or lean slightly left.

The Simpsons is an example that shows that even the FOX network does not enforce a bias completely through it's media empire.
Racnad is offline  
Old 09-07-2007, 05:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
immoral minority
 
ASU2003's Avatar
 
Location: Back in Ohio
http://youtube.com/watch?v=d86FhQIAZIk
I'm not sure why CNN reported on these sisters last week, but this boring video is about who owns the companies that tell us about what happens in other parts of the country and world.

The problem is that only one point of view gets protrayed. You don't get to see 'real life', you get to see what the producers want you to see.
ASU2003 is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 03:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
Illusionary
 
tecoyah's Avatar
 
Another fair and balanced example:

Quote:
CNN ignored Boehner's "small price" comment after latching onto Kerry's "botched joke"

Summary: On The Situation Room, House Minority Leader John Boehner stated: "We need to continue our effort here [in Iraq] because, Wolf, long term, the investment that we're making today will be a small price if we're able to stop Al Qaeda here, if we're able to stabilize the Middle East, it's not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids." CNN did not re-air Boehner's comments, or provide any discussion of the controversy that followed them. By contrast, CNN extensively covered Sen. John Kerry's October 30, 2006, statement -- which he later explained as a "botched joke" -- that, "Education, you know, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," and the controversy that followed.
http://mediamatters.org/items/200709130005
__________________
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
tecoyah is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 07:51 AM   #16 (permalink)
Junkie
 
I saw that tecoyah. I'm wondering why no one has latched on to the "4000" us lives is a small price comment. Thats pretty disrespectful if you ask me. Every death is the ultimate price to someone. What Boehner is saying is that "it is a small price for him".
Rekna is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 08:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
Easy Rider
 
flstf's Avatar
 
Location: Moscow on the Ohio
I was surprised recently by the power that talk radio seems to have. Many claim that it was talk radio audiences that stopped the amnesty bill from being passed by calling and writing congress. Some polititians were even proposing changes to restrict their conservative influence.

To stop a bill that was backed by the President, top Republicans and top Democrats was quite unexpected (at least by me).

I wonder why it is that conservative talk radio seems to draw large audiences and liberal talk radio has problems getting market share?
flstf is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 08:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
Illusionary
 
tecoyah's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
I was surprised recently by the power that talk radio seems to have. Many claim that it was talk radio audiences that stopped the amnesty bill from being passed by calling and writing congress. Some polititians were even proposing changes to restrict their conservative influence.

To stop a bill that was backed by the President, top Republicans and top Democrats was quite unexpected (at least by me).

I wonder why it is that conservative talk radio seems to draw large audiences and liberal talk radio has problems getting market share?
Its a generlization to be sure, but from my experience the majority of conservative friends I have tend to listen to, or watch a select group of programs, as they re-enforce belief without explaining a situation. I myself, as a relatively liberal person tend to listen or watch both parts of the spectrum in an attempt to filter out the BS.
While I use NPR far more than Rush....I doubt I would listen to a truly liberal broadcast, if only because I expect something better from liberals than I do from conservatives and if the Libs stooped to the level of Rush.....I would consider them just as biased.
__________________
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
tecoyah is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 08:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Washington State
I tried listening to Al Franken's Air America, but there is only so much ranting & raving about Bush & Iraq that I can stand to listen to.

There must be soem demographic reason for this. One thing for sure, I've Air America got stronger ratings, there would be a lot more liberal talk radio. The agenda of radio station owners is advertizing revenue, not politics.
Racnad is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 09:22 AM   #20 (permalink)
Tilted
 
MrTia's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racnad
I tried listening to Al Franken's Air America, but there is only so much ranting & raving about Bush & Iraq that I can stand to listen to.

There must be soem demographic reason for this. One thing for sure, I've Air America got stronger ratings, there would be a lot more liberal talk radio. The agenda of radio station owners is advertizing revenue, not politics.
as a proud victim of bush derangement syndrome, i can say i dont really dig al franken’s air america gig too much either. he’s quite good when he’s handing bill o’reilly his ass on c-span but there’s something about his show on air america that seems not to have any real momentum. i dunno what it is.

doesn’t change the fact that bush is the worst president to ever afflict this country with his stupidity, but yeah, it’s not the only subject out there.
MrTia is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 11:53 AM   #21 (permalink)
Deja Moo
 
Elphaba's Avatar
 
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racnad
I tried listening to Al Franken's Air America, but there is only so much ranting & raving about Bush & Iraq that I can stand to listen to.

There must be soem demographic reason for this. One thing for sure, I've Air America got stronger ratings, there would be a lot more liberal talk radio. The agenda of radio station owners is advertizing revenue, not politics.
I never cared much for Franken either but he is long gone and running for Senator.

There are far better programs to listen to such as Thom Hartman, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, Laura Flanders, and others. The liberal talk hosts that remind me of Rush and make my ears bleed are Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy. I have no use for screeching hyperbole.

And you are absolutely correct about advertizing revenue driving radio station owners, but it is also true that profitable liberal programs were cancelled after the '06 election for very political reasons.

For liberal silliness, I just have to have me some Stephanie Miller every morning.
__________________
"You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to." Molly Ivins - 1944-2007
Elphaba is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 12:20 PM   #22 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Washington State
If you're on the Olympic Penninsula you may be able to get Dave Ross on KIRO 710. He he's not exactly liberal, but Limbaugh & O'Rielly would call him that.
Racnad is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 02:31 PM   #23 (permalink)
Illusionary
 
tecoyah's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racnad
If you're on the Olympic Penninsula you may be able to get Dave Ross on KIRO 710. He he's not exactly liberal, but Limbaugh & O'Rielly would call him that.

Those guys would call Bush liberal....if they had the Balls.
__________________
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
tecoyah is offline  
Old 09-14-2007, 06:07 PM   #24 (permalink)
Deja Moo
 
Elphaba's Avatar
 
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Dave Ross does an excellent job of presenting both sides of an issue. That would certainly seem radical or "looney liberal" to the Rush crowd. He ran as an Independent for the Legislature a fews years back, and I think "independent" describes him very well.

Racnad, where about in the Evergreen State are you? Thanks to Snowy, we have actually managed a few tfp get togethers here. Oops, thread jack.
__________________
"You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to." Molly Ivins - 1944-2007
Elphaba is offline  
 

Tags
concentration, media, ownership

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:14 PM.

Tilted Forum Project

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
© 2002-2012 Tilted Forum Project

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38