90% of US media owned by six corporations – so much for a free press

Posted: August 5, 2014 in The Orphan Conspiracies
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Do we really have a free press or are our journalists being dictated to and told what they can and can’t report on? Are certain topics suppressed from the public’s consciousness by those who own or greatly influence the media? Are there any free-thinking, free-speaking journos left – alive and not retired that is?

We examine these issues, and more, in our book THE ORPHAN CONSPIRACIES: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy.

One of us (a former journalist, newspaper editor and public relations consultant with experience in television, radio, print and online reporting) can speak from first-hand experience. It’s our contention that few journos ever seriously challenge the Establishment. Why? Because it’s usually not in the best interests of their employers – the select few media barons who run mainstream media these days. These media tycoons are among the most powerful and influential individuals on the planet as they and their minions shape society’s opinions.

We devote an entire chapter to the state of journalism and the media today in THE ORPHAN CONSPIRACIES. Here’s an excerpt:

Some commentators say the world’s six biggest media empires, between them, largely control what news we see, hear or read in the Western world. Others say the 10 biggest media empires control our news. Either way, the ramifications are frightening, wouldn’t you agree?

The respected news and entertainment site Elite Daily, which calls itself “The voice of Generation-Y”, makes the following claim: “With media oversight being taken for granted in recent years, media concentration has been a trend that’s been rolling along with few signs of stopping. As a result, many of your favorite media entities have been consolidated and all work under the same umbrella corporation. If you think, for example, one channel offers better content than the other, you might be surprised to learn that you’ve stuck with the same company and are just now loyal to another one of its assets.”

media-ownership

Elite Daily has identified the following as the world’s 10 largest media conglomerates: Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, Gannett Company Inc., CBS Corporation, British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc., Liberty Media, News Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner Inc., The Walt Disney Disney Company and Comcast Corporation.

In the early 1980’s, some 50 companies owned 90% of American media. Now, 90% of US media is owned by just six corporations: Disney, Viacom, GE, CBS, Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp.

Each of these conglomerates has fingers in many pies. Take Time Warner for example. It has major stakes in film and TV companies like New Line Cinema, CNN, TNT, Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network and Castle Rock plus magazines like People, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Marie Claire.

The problem with such media monopolies, especially when they are heavily entangled with politics as Murdoch’s outlets are, is that censorship or even disseminating misinformation becomes a very real possibility.

If you believe the TV networks, newspapers and other media outlets owned by such conglomerates are regularly delivering balanced, unbiased news, you’re dreaming. Each has its own agenda and recent history has shown those agendas aren’t always honorable. Regrettably, and all too often, journalistic ethics come a distant second to corporate profits.

You only need to consider the events surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World phone-hacking scandal to be reminded that media conglomerates and their owners don’t always act honorably or have the public’s best interests at heart.

Rupert Murdoch - Flickr - Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.jpg

Rupert Murdoch…media tycoon extraordinaire.

For anyone who has been living under a rock since that controversy broke, Murdoch employees working in some of his British newspapers hacked the phones of leading politicians, businessmen and celebrities, resulting in a public outcry against News Corporation and Murdoch.

JFK Addresses the Nation on Civil Rights

President Kennedy welcomed media scrutiny of his Administration.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that President John F. Kennedy was a champion of a free press. Here’s an excerpt from his speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association in New York on April 27, 1961:

No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed. I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Read more in The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy – available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Orphan-Conspiracies-Conspiracy-Theories-ebook/dp/B00J4MPFT6/

A book that’s for the common people…the 99%.

Happy reading! –Lance & James

 

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