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Analyse the Political Implications of Concentrated Media Ownership and Control

The media is primarily used to disseminate information. It is a platform for communication between the individuals and those who hold authority. In today’s world the media has an immense function within the functioning of society and has the power to achieve a mass audience by way of technologies such as print, Internet, television, film and radio. There has been rising concern over the rising focus of media ownership as well as how this increased media management influences and shapes democracy.

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Concentrated media possession refers to the variety of individuals or corporations who management an growing share within the mass media market, which at current could be very few.

For instance, eleven out of twelve major Australian Newspapers are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation or John Fairfax Holdings (Independent Australia, 2011). Society has seen media moguls, corresponding to Rupert Murdoch, dominate cross-media ownership with corporations in print, television, movie and so on.

The media and politics are carefully intertwined and with a rise in concentrated media possession and management, issues such as political bias; the trivialisation and sensationalism of political issues within the pursuit of profits; and the reducing amout of editorial range and expression, have turn into issues of concern for the consumers of this mass media.

Street describes bias as “the idea that the practices of journalists and editors lead to articles and programmes that favour one view of the world over another, providing sustenance for one set of interests whereas undermining an alternative” (Street, 2011).

Bias is a big concern inside all media, and authorities enforce a myriad of regulations and restrictions on media corporations to try and eliminate it.

With an increase in media concentration, and the ability that the media yields, eliminating political bias throughout the media has turn into an essential problem. Since many of the media institutions are owned by firms, corresponding to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the commonest assumption is that the media as a complete may be influenced by its house owners.

For occasion, there are occasions when the owners’ decision could have an effect on the type of data that media would confide in the basic public. Wagner makes the point that “the information media distribute a lot of the knowledge we receive in regards to the world round us. Thousands of politicians, policy researchers and opinion makers wish to transmit info to the common public at giant. The information media function intermediaries in this information market, selecting to transmit a fraction of the tens of millions of potential messages to an audience” (Wagner, 1997).

For example, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel was been criticised for its right-tilted news coverage. Murdoch has at all times been seen to favour the conservative aspect of politics and the Fox News channel has been seen to level out preference toward the Republican Government in America. Fox Founder and president Rodger Ailes was a republican political operative in Washington. He helped with The Nixon and Reagan campaigns as properly as the elder Bush’s media strategy for his presidentiary marketing campaign in 1988 (Ackerman, 2001).

David Asman, The Fox News Channel’s daytime anchor was recognized for his association with the right- wing Wall Street Journal. Another anchor for Fox News, Tony Snow, was a conservative columnist and also the chief speechwriter for the first bush administration (Ackerman, 2001). The Fox News Channel also hosted workers and presenters similar to Eric Breindel, John Moody and Bill O’Reilly, all of whom were recognized for his or her conservative, proper wing views (Ackerman, 2001). Rupert Murdock stated, “ “I problem anybody to indicate me an example of bias in Fox News Channel. (Ackerman, 2001)

However, looking at the people that had been in control of disseminating the news at Fox, it is hard to imagine that not considered one of the political stories covered by Fox did not favour the extra conservative facet of American politics. Media conglomerates, similar to News Corporation, have the ability to sway public opinion and with the increasing control they’ve entry to, it’s naive to think that they would not use this power to influence and sway public opinion to suit with their very own agendas and ideologies.

The measurement of the large media corporations of at present exceeds the size of the most important firms fifteen years ago by an element of ten. (McChesney, 1999). With this enhance in the measurement of the main media firms also comes the increased pursuit of earnings by these companies. Sometimes, this pursuit of revenue may be to the detriment of information and in flip democracy. Corporations look for stories that will attract and entertain readers and viewers, sometimes neglecting tales that maintain excessive info content material and reflect political policies and agendas.

McChesney refers to this must aximise earnings when he states “With the tremendous pressure to attract audiences however to maintain prices down and never take possibilities, the usual route of the media giants is to show to the tried and true formulation of intercourse and violence, at all times consideration getters” (McChesney, 1999, p34). With the elevated emphasis on revenue maximisation and the commercialisation of news media, there’s a danger that consumers of news media will cease to have entry to information concerning smaller points in society corresponding to local political policy/s and different extra localised issues.

Because these points are small and aren’t seen as income earners, or important issues, they may be sacrificed to make method for big stories and scandals. In other phrases, profit and revenue may turn into more essential, in the eyes of media conglomerates, than data. The pure dimension of the media and its affect over info has large impacts on democracy and politics. Meier (2011) sites Giddens in his work. Giddens talks in regards to the trivializing of political points and personas and states “ The media… have a double relation to democracy. On the one hand … the emergence of a global info society is a strong democratising pressure.

Yet, tv, and the opposite media, are inclined to destroy the very public house of dialogue they open up, through relentless trivializing, and personalizing of political points. Moreover, the growth of large multinational media corporations signifies that unelected enterprise tycoons can maintain enormous power” (p 298). In essence, Giddens is stating that whereas information media and media companies may broadcast political issues and policies, these views are somewhat destroyed with the constant emphasis on the politicians themselves. Because of this a substantial quantity of emphasis is taken away from the actual political issues.

An example of that is the constant criticism of Julia Gillard and her way of life. For instance, she is an single woman; her companion is a hairdresser. There can be constant analysis of her hairstyle, wardrobe, her figure and her voice. Gillard is constantly known for stabbing Kevin Rudd in the back. She has also been portrayed as untrustworthy in addition to a liar. Instead of the media evaluating and critiquing her insurance policies and looking out critically at her as a frontrunner, we see the media sensationalising the above trivial points as a substitute of concentrating on what she is doing for the nation politically.

As Media concentration and management increases, diversity of expression decreases. In all wholesome democracies, a wide range of assorted opinions are supplied, and media offer a big number of different positions, values and biases. No individual is obliged to simply accept any particular place or argument, but they’re encouraged to have put their very own views and criticisms forward. The core problem that comes with media focus is that it diminishes ideological variety within the media system.

Studies have been conducted that present that though there may be more media shops, there’s not essentially more info or variety in media. “Rather than the new platforms resulting in a diversity of voices, voices are actually being snuffed out… An evaluation of unbiased media confirmed that ninety six per cent of tales merely got here from recycling tales found within the mainstream press. However, The research additionally confirmed that the mainstream press was producing seventy three percent less information than 10 years ago” (independent Australia, 2011).

Curran states that “they can use their monetary power to drive new entrants out of the market by launching expensive promotional campaigns, offering discounts to advertisers or buying up key artistic personnel” (Curran, 2005) Because of the elevated energy of media companies, they have the ability to remove their competitors and therefore decrease the quantity of variety available to the patron. Robert W. McChesney outlines in his e-book Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy that there are three factors that allow democracy to work at its greatest.

The first is “ it helps when there aren’t vital disparities in economic wealth and property possession throughout the society” (1997, p5). The second requires there to be “ a way of neighborhood and a notion that an people well- being is set to no small extent by the community’s well-being” (1997, p5). Finally McChesney states “democracy requires that there be an efficient system of political communication” (1997, p5). Media concentration and control works to the detriment of each of those components.

Firstly the multi billion greenback media corporations, do not characterize economic equality inside the society, in fact they help to make the gap between the working courses and authority enhance. Media concentration disputes McChesney’s second issue as media moguls and companies have become increasingly centered on the pursuit of huge income and personal acquire, and aren’t heavily influenced around society’s wellbeing. Finally, an efficient system of political communication ought to be based round variety of reports protection and diversity of political issues, both domestically and nationally, large and small.

However, with the increasing measurement of firms the diversity of expression has steadily decreased. Australia has one of many highest media concentrations in the free world. With the growing control held by mass media conglomerates varied political points arise corresponding to political bias; the trivialisation and sensationalism of political issues within the pursuit of earnings; and the decreasing quantity of editorial diversity and expression. The above issues threaten democracy and the media have to be regulated and managed earlier than it threatens how the political system in Australia capabilities.

Governments need to handle media moguls, such as Rupert Murdock before they achieve an excessive amount of energy, and management, over political points and coverage. The key to a democratic society is freedom of knowledge, constructive political debate and communication. These key functions of a democratic society are being threatened by concentrated mass media and the rising control held by these corporations.

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