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Media Economics - Essay Example

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After examining the holdings of "The Big 6" Media Giants, what are your thoughts on media conglomerations, media ownership, and the messages that audiences receive? Stopbigmedia.com says, "Corporate media giants are silencing diverse voices, abandoning quality journalism, and…
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Media Economics
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After examining the holdings of "The Big 6" Media Giants, what are your thoughts on media conglomerations, media ownership, and the messages that audiences receive? Stopbigmedia.com says, "Corporate media giants are silencing diverse voices, abandoning quality journalism, and eliminating local content. Our democracy needs better media." Do you agree or disagree? Explain. 
Media conglomeration’s and media ownership’s textbook definition is a company that owns different mass media companies such as television, radio, film, publishing and so on (Turow, 2008). The Big 6 Media Giants namely General Electric, Walt Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom and CBS are a practical example of this definition. These conglomerations not only control what we see, hear and read but also control our thoughts. They are all vertically integrated which allows them to produce and distribute media and news to their likings and manipulate our views (Shah, 2009). Media ownership and conglomeration have taken a new form with time. They are no longer attached to the purity of journalism or of best interests of the audiences. The media conglomerations are now slanted towards corporate goals and interests. In order to achieve the goals, the conglomerates are most often accused of being biased with allegations of corporate whitewashing and censorship (Bagdikian, 1997). In addition, to promote their own interests, media conglomerates favor infotainment over relevant news stories.
Although the idea of media conglomeration and ownership is not a bad idea as it can create a healthy competition providing viable and valid news to the audiences. The concern is basically related to the concentration of ownership which can and is increasing the economic and political influence. According to Rifka Rosenwein, the concentration of media ownership has increased the control over expressions which has led to an aggressive competition and silencing of the news and ideas in the marketplace (Shah, 2009). According to the latest statistics, in 2009, there are only six giant conglomerates that own the US media namely the Big 6. This is eventually leading to monopolies and oligopolies which from a business perspective is not a good sign. Considering the role played by media in a prevailing democracy, reaching out to masses is of paramount importance. Many of the media conglomerates own entertainment companies such as Walt Disney where one cannot expect the company to discuss sweatshop labor when, on the other hand, it is accused of being part of it (Shah, 2009). Therefore, such system has diminished the importance of quality journalism and silenced diverse voices.
The commercial operation of the mass media is not bad and is the best method to pass on the views but the control by corporations or government is deemed bad. For example, during political campaigns, the US political system has used the mass media to their advantage which is most of times meaningless leaving the voters at the mercy of such media propagandas (Shah, 2009). Such use of mass media not just by corporations but political system has eroded the basic democracy requirement where now the audiences are governed by what they see, hear and read in the media. The concept of quality journalism is just a concept in today’s media ownership where one does read about it but does not act upon it.
It is time that the corporations loosen up their media concentration and ownership and let the audiences witness a better media which is liberal and listens to diverse voices instead of turning a deaf ear to it.
Word Count (521)
References
Bagdikian, B. Democracy and the Media. The Media Monopoly. 1997, http://homepage.smc.edu/brewer_sara/comm1/online/media_monopoly.htm
Shah, A. Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership. Global Issues. 2009. http://www.globalissues.org/article/159/media-conglomerates-mergers-concentration-of-ownership#Concentrationofownershipiswheretheproblemlargelylies
Turow, J. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008. Print. Read More
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