"...were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1785We seriously considered NOT writing this post. We are still skeptical. Not because this issue is not vital, but because the American public does not seem to care much about it. This is sad if true. Nevertheless, we view it as our duty to post it. We hope it will be read by many people.
By definition, a media conglomerate is a large corporation, made up of smaller, not necessarily related, sub-companies. This means that the mother company has its hands in many places. Therefore the reasoning goes, it will not be able to pursue journalistic investigations which might hurt some of its other companies. This large conglomerate has lobbyists and influence with governments, national, foreign, and local which it would use to further its own vision of how society and the world should be. This of course, carries a debt it owes to maintain the status quo of a world and especially a government which protects it and its profits.
Another factor in large conglomerates is that it usually has sub-companies that can produce a product from start to finish. This is thought by many to reduce its desire for innovation and competition and remain satisfied with the current standards. This "vertical integration" also encourages cross-promotions and cross-selling of products. While all this might some good on the surface, it means that the news organizations in this conglomerate are compromised in their ability to report news that might hurt some of the sub-companies. This independence was critical to Thomas Jefferson as it should be to us.
"We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective." Michael Eisner, Former CEO, The Walt Disney Co., Internal MemoBut it gets worse. This website shows you how there exists an "interlocking directory" on the boards of directors of thousands of corporations, further compromising any objective news reporting in the news organizations of these media companies. The chance of conflicting interests is so great, that the news must be trivialized in order to stay in business with their advertisers. This quote from a book titled, The Media Monopoly, by Ben. H. Bagdikian is very illuminating:
The deeper social loss of giantism in the media is not in its unfair advantage in profits and power; this is real and it is serious. But the gravest loss is in the self-serving censorship of political and social ideas, in news, magazine articles, books, broadcasting, and movies. Some intervention by owners is direct and blunt. But most of the screening is subtle, some not even occurring at a conscious level, as when subordinates learn by habit to conform to owners’ ideas. But subtle or not, the ultimate result is distorted reality and impoverished ideas.***In 2006, Patrick Verrone, President of the Writers Guild of America West testified to the Senate on the growth of Media Conglomerates. Even the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is funded largely by corporations. A study was done on the PBS show Nightline demonstrating that its lists of guests were not representative of the general public and slanted towards corporate and government interests.
Here are more videos which pose the question, are large media conglomerates god for producing informed citizens?
Both of the two following videos we are going to post deal with politics to a certain extent. This cannot be avoided. The awful truth is that media outlets, both "conservatives" and "liberals" are two sides of the same thing. Both media are owned by the same media conglomerates. Noam Chomsky is considered by many a "liberal." To many he might be considered a "communist" or at least a "socialist." He has for years, criticized the media outlets as controlled by corporations which in turn wish to control the populace. And although you hear many conservatives speak loudly abou the "liberal" media, we do not hear them speaking out against the equally biased "conservative" media. We do not even hear them generally, or visibly, speak against Fox News for instance, which is owned by News Corporation, which is one of the 7 top media conglomerates in the world. So, we will post the videos we know of, that deal with our subject.
The first video will be one titled, Manufacturing Consent, made in 1992. It is long and it may be good for you to come back and watch it partially at different times.
If you care about this issue, watch this video, but be warned, it will make you think. To some, this is not something they are interested in. We hope you are not in that number. This film was produced in 2004 and is titled, Orwell Rolls Over In His Grave.
Let us look at some facts. We will show you one by one how many holdings each of these media conglomerates. Click on these corporations to see slide after slide of their holdings. Your hand will get tired clicking.
If these links are not working properly, all this information came from this source.
When you leave the news to any corporation, you leave it to an organization's whose main goal is to produce value for its shareholders. This is at the core of ANY corporation. If Jefferson's vision of an unbiased press, free to investigate and criticize power whether corporate or governmental is to be kept alive, then it will be up to the independent news organizations on the Internet to do it. We wish them luck.