Today we as a society are consumed by the 24 hour news cycle, the constant, round the clock updates and news alerts informing us of what is happening in this planet we call home. To the vast majority of us, with our eyes glued to our phone screens and our fingers tapping away at TV remotes, we digest and consume as much news as we can, predominantly not thinking nor questioning who the information comes from and considering a hidden agenda. Believe it or not, there are certain people and groups who choose and control what is said by the media, who is reported on and how they go about their journalistic affairs. To seek whether it matters who controls the media, one must seek to find out comparisons of our and the worlds media, and who owns them, as from there we can make an informed judgement, for which I hope this blog will help.
There is no dispute that the media has and continues to play a crucial role in our society, and some of the most historical moments in history owe their legacy to the mass media. However the underlying question is does it matter who controls the media. In the United States for example, there is a vast amount of media outlets and organisations, however not a very vast array of ownership. As seen below in the infochart from The Business Insider Australia, 90% of the US media is owned by “The Big 6”, such as Time Warner and Disney. In nearly 30 years, the ownership landscape changed dramatically, as in 1983- 90% of US media was owned by 50 companies, however by 2011 only 6 companies now controlled the very same 90%. News Corp for example owned influential media such as Fox, Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.
In Australia, Rupert Murdoch controls 70% of the Australian newspaper market, an extremely large amount for one man alone and his businesses. By having such a percentage, an increasingly significant amount of the Australian people are exposed and informed through his papers. While Mr. Murdoch and I do share political views, his attack on the Labor party through his 70% reign has been strong and unrelenting, with his papers leading the charge from the Carbon Tax to the Rudd-Gillard war, his influence has greatly changed the public and political outlook for many years to come.
Thus, it is becoming of grave concern who controls the media and how they use and abuse such power. If in a democracy, with our freedoms of expressions and speech, we have such narrow ownership controlling our media, how are we to remain an informed and free minded people. If we merely ask “does it matter who controls the media” without much care, is exactly like asking “does it matter who is driving the car”, for if we don’t care then we will be lead over a cliff from which society has little hope of recovering. Therefore, we must make sure that our media channels and industry are regulated effectively to ensure no mass ownership, and also that the media watch dog ensures informative not agenda driven news. That is why it matters who controls the media.
Stay Classy UOW,
Lutz, A 2012, These 6 Companies Control 90% of the media in America, Business Insider Australia, viewed 30th March 2014 http://www.businessinsider.com.au/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6
Horton, D 2013, Rupert Murdoch’s Journalistic Cancer, Independent Australia, viewed 30th March 2014 http://www.independentaustralia.net/article-display/rupert-murdochs-journalistic-cancer,5346