Who Controls the Media?

Topics: Mass media, Journalism, News media Pages: 9 (3353 words) Published: May 22, 2008
At first glance, I thought that a research paper on the “controllers of the media” would be fun and interesting. But the further I researched into this topic, the more I realized how daunting this complex subject was going to be. The real challenge was that the more I researched and understood what the media was about, the harder it was to discriminate which ‘media source’ wasn’t intent on simply brainwashing me. What I mean is, these books, articles, columns, discussions, etc. all have the same thing in common – the conclusion that the media is everywhere present today, and that the ‘other side’ is taking advantage of it. The definition of the ‘other side’ usually ranges from race, to religion, and to politics. Each of these writers has different opinions, and none should be fully trusted. The motives of each writer are different, but the desires to control your views are the same for every message. To go into this further, lets define the word ‘control’ and the ‘media.’ As defined in the Cambridge Dictionary, control is to “order, limit, instruct or rule something, or someone’s actions or behavior,” while the media is defined as the “medium” or middle man that includes newspapers, magazines, radio, the television, books, movies, (and now the internet). For the following paper, we intend to cover the televised medium and to understand why it matters in order for us to reveal the relevance of its controllers. Then we will explore our current situation with the media, determine if there are any dangers that lie ahead, and try and guess its future. “Failing to report important news, or reporting news shallowly, inaccurately or unfairly – can leave people dangerously uninformed” (Kaiser 6). Particularly for televised media, the biggest problem with this medium is that the channel of communication is only open to one message at a time, but the reason that televised media is so widespread is that many people access it for its “advantages over newspapers in immediacy, motion, color, and convenience” (Bagdikian 6). Bagdikian also argues that the news on T.V. avoids placing anything too controversial on its program for fear that viewers might flip the channel. Bagdikian’s assessment is probably inaccurate since it doesn’t seem to account for media networks solely geared towards politics and the controversial issues attached with it. However, he does make a good point for the programs that indeed avoid controversial issues. The limited coverage of stories and issues matter here because the programs are only thirty minutes to an hour long. The controllers (in the long run) ultimately decide what gets coverage, and what gets discarded. And the stories that do get covered might only take up a few minutes of the program, giving its audience a watered-down, biased version of the real story. In other instances, the limited about of time to cover all the stories in the news affects us, and has affected us. For example, “the news media failed to report adequately on the overextended and corrupt savings and loan industry before it collapsed and cost depositors and taxpayers billions of dollars during the 1980s. And the press failed to discover and expose the tobacco industry’s cover-up of evidence of the addictive and cancer-causing effects of smoking and its clandestine marketing of cigarettes to young people until the plaintiffs’ lawyers discovered both in the course of liability lawsuits during the 1990s” (Kaiser 6). In these two cases, the media’s failure to inform the public was a direct result of the controller’s reluctance to cover them. Their reluctance to cover them could be justified as a lack of time to place the story on the air or maybe because the tobacco and loan industries paid them not to report it. Whatever the reason might be, according to Bagdikian, here lies one of the threats that the media provides (particularly televised media) - subtle control. “Because each of the dominant firms has adopted a strategy of creating...
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