In 1983, 50 corporations owned almost all of the media in the United States. Today, the vast majority of the U.S. media is controlled by only six corporations, most of which also have a number of media holdings around the world. Many critics believe that this increasingly concentrated “corporate media” philosophy not only affects the quality of media we are exposed to, but it is also a threat to democracy and freedom of the press.
First, read about Media Convergence and Media Conglomeration in Chapter 2 of your textbook.
Second, watch the short video below about the “Shadows of Liberty” documentary. Note: The trailer hints at some media conspiracy theories in a couple of places, but the main thing I want you to focus on is how what gets reported can be impacted by corporate interests.
Short video link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=432&v=0aOv1OIwgaA
Then visit the following website: https://www.cjr.org/resources/
Use the dropdown menu that reads “Select a Media Company” to see what megamedia conglomerates such as News Corporation, Comcast, the Walt Disney Company, CBS/Viacom (National Amusements), 21st Century Fox, and Time Warner own. Notice that these large corporations own dozens of other media companies, some of which are in the same markets, and they also own theme parks, sports teams, arenas, and products of all types. It’s not hard to see how there might be conflicts of interest when it comes to news agencies reporting on companies if the two are owned by the same corporation.
Important Note: Some of the information on the CJR website hasn’t been updated in a while, and there have been other mergers and acquisitions that will be discussed in the articles below. Basically, media ownership is changing every day. Study this graphic, which shows the magnitude of these media companies’ holdings:
Read about the latest media acquisition bids and their impact here:
How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Way You Watch Your Favorite Shows and Movies
Reeling from Netflix, Big Media Turns to Mergers
Media Predictions for 2019
Now, please write a discussion post of at least 300 words that addresses each of the following topics, citing examples from the video, the CJR website and/or Design Taxi graphic, and/or your readings and findings during your online research:
1. What stood out or surprised you most about the holdings of the Big Six corporations on the CJR website? Give an example of a potential conflict of interest, based on one of the corporation’s holdings. For example, a newspaper’s primary interest is in reporting the news that’s important to its readers. But what happens when that newspaper is owned by a major media conglomerate whose other media properties could be harmed by that reporting? Try to come up with specific examples of potential conflicts of interest that could arise from these media mergers and takeovers. One conflict of interest was shown in the video, but I want you to come up with your own.