Who Controls the Media?   Leave a comment

The owner of a medium company shapes the values, beliefs and decisions of his/her customers.

Many media are owned by conglomerates, mega-corporations that control vast swaths of mass media.

According to a recent Fortune 500 list, the top media companies by revenue are:

  • Walt Disney Company
  • News Corporation
  • Time Warner
  • CBS Corporation
  • Viacom
  • NBC Universal
  • Sony Corporation of America

Together, these giants control 95% of all the traditional media we receive every day. By traditional media, I mean television and radio broadcast stations, networks and programming, video news, sports entertainment, entertainment theme parks (yes, that’s a medium), movie studies, integrated telecommunications, wireless mobile entertainment and information distribution systems, video games software, electronic and print “news” media”, the music industry, … and a whole lot more.

When I was in college, there were only three broadcast major networks, but companies were not allowed to own many stations in one geographic area, so there was some diversification. The hope of deregulation of the broadcast industry in the 1980s was that it would generate competition in the broad media field. It worked for a while, resulting in the rise of talk radio, but then the larger media corporations gradually began to buy out the smaller companies. Diversity was subsumed by merger until today’s handful of huge companies have the power to shape our opinions and beliefs and influence our decisions in a way only dreamed of by NBC, CBS, and ABC in the the 1970s.

“They” say “knowledge is power” and the knowledge that only a handful of huge corporations control almost all the media in America culture gives us the power to seek different perspectives and be wary of trusting any one medium for all of our news, entertainment and opinion.

But first, let’s look at that influence to determine if it is necessarily a bad thing.

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