Media monopoly

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Explore the implications of corporate media control on politics, culture, and democracy. Analyze the challenges faced in contemporary debates about media control. Assess the role of new communication technologies in reshaping media power dynamics. Understand the transformation of the U.S. media system in the 21st century and its implications for democracy and capitalism.

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Media monopoly

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  1. Media monopoly Assessing the current situation

  2. McChesneys argument The media/democracy paradox It is a political crisis 1) the nature of our corporate commercial media system has dire implications for our politics and broader culture 2) the very issue of who controls the media system and for what purposes is not part of contemporary political debate

  3. Defense of current system communication markets force media firms to give the people what they want commercial media are the innate democratic and American system Professionalism in journalism is democratic and protects the public from nefarious influences on the news

  4. New communication technologies are inherently democratic since they undermine the existing power of commercial media The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution authorizes that corporations and advertisers rule U.S. media without public interference

  5. U.S. media at dawn of 21st Century The United States is in the midst of an almost dizzying transformation of its media system. Main trends Corporate concentration Conglomeration Hypercommercialism

  6. the U.S. media system is an integral part of the capitalist political economy, and . . . this relationship has important and troubling implications for democracy. The media system exists as it does because powerful interests have constructed it so that citizens will not be involved in the key policy decisions that have shaped it.

  7. Concentration Concentrated media markets tend to be vastly less risky Horizontal integration has been common in media for a long time Low overhead Greater bargaining power

  8. Conglomeration Dominant trend since the 1970s or 1980s, which has accelerated in the 1990s

  9. First tier of media organizations Time Warner Disney Viacom Seagram News Corporation Sony General Electric AT&T

  10. Second tier Newspaper conglomerates Gannett Knight-Ridder New York Times Company Cable-based powerhouses Comcast Cox Enterprises Broadcast powers CBS

  11. Conglomeration Vertical integration Synergy Marketing Technological Deregulation Cross-promotion and cross-selling media properties or brands Merchandising Branding

  12. Hypercommercialism 1) trend within the media to ratchet up commercialism internally and therefore increasingly to subordinate editorial fare to commercial values and logic Payola Promotion of programs, etc. in newscasts 2) the spread of media conglomerates externally to new areas of social life. Amusement parks Spectator sports

  13. Hypercommercialization rampant commercialization of U.S. childhood Commercialization of education Channel One Farewell to journalism Make journalism a profit center Breakdown of separation between advertising and editorial Lowering editorial standards Lifestyle, nightly horrors, fluff

  14. Globalization U.S. media firms lead the way Buying up other firms in foreign markets Expanding their distribution systems through partnerships Globalization of advertising agencies Development of content that can be distributed internationally

  15. 2008/07/screen-capture-61.png

  16. Chomsky and Herman Propaganda Model

  17. Herman: These factors are linked together, reflecting the multileveled capability of government and powerful business entities and collectives (e.g., the Business Roundtable; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the vast number of well-heeled industry lobbies and front groups) to exert power over the flow of information. We noted that the five factors involved--ownership, advertising, sourcing, flak, and anticommunist ideology--work as 'filters' through which information must pass, and that individually and often in additive fashion they greatly influence media choices. The Propaganda Model: A Retrospective

  18. We stressed that the filters work mainly by the independent action of many individuals and organizations; and these frequently, but not always, have a common view of issues and similar interests. In short, the propaganda model describes a decentralized and nonconspiratorial market system of control and processing, although at times the government or one or more private actors may take initiatives and mobilize coordinated elite handling of an issue.

  19. Ownership The decline of public broadcasting, the increase in corporate power and global reach, and the mergers and centralization of the media, have made bottom-line considerations more influential both in the United States and abroad. . . . Newsrooms have been more thoroughly incorporated into transnational corporate empires, with budget cuts and even less management enthusiasm for investigative journalism that would challenge the structure of power . . . In short, the professional autonomy of journalists has been reduced.

  20. Bagdikian, Media Monopoly, 2004

  21. Advertising The competition for advertisers has become more intense and the boundaries between editorial and advertising departments have weakened further.

  22. Some argue that the Internet and the new communication technologies are breaking the corporate stranglehold on journalism and opening an unprecedented era of interactive democratic media. There is no evidence to support this view as regards journalism and mass communication. In fact, one could argue that the new technologies are exacerbating the problem. They permit media firms to shrink staff even as they achieve greater outputs, and they make possible global distribution systems that reduce the number of media entities. Although the new technologies have great potential for democratic communication, there is little reason to expect the Internet to serve democratic ends if it is left to the market

  23. Sourcing A reduction in the resources devoted to journalism means that those who subsidize the media by providing sources for copy gain greater leverage. Moreover, work by people like Alex Carey, John Stauber, and Sheldon Rampton has helped us see how the public relations industry has been able to manipulate press coverage of issues on behalf of corporate America (Carey 1995; Stauber and Rampton 1995). This industry understands how to utilize journalistic conventions to serve its own ends. Studies of news sources reveal that a significant proportion of news originates in public relations releases. There are, by one count, 20,000 more public relations agents working to doctor the news today than there are journalists writing it (Dowie 1995: 3-4).

  24. FAIRcoverage of the poor

  25. Nevertheless, the media landscape remains dominated by centrist and conservative think tanks. Centrists led the way with 45 percent of think tank citations, while conservative or right- leaning think tanks got 40 percent. These tallies were a 6 percent decrease for the center and a 7 percent drop for the right. Progressives increased share still only amounted to 16 percent of total citations.

  26. Newshour Sources, 2005-2006 FAIR, Are You On the Newshour Guestlist?

  27. A study of ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News in the year 2001 shows that 92 percent of all U.S. sources interviewed were white, 85 percent were male and, where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican.

  28. Conducted for FAIR by the media analysis firm Media Tenor, the study shows that the big three nightly news shows rely heavily on society's most powerful groups when they report the news of the day. More than one in four sources were politicians-- George W. Bush alone made up 9 percent of all sources-- versus a mere 3 percent for all non-governmental advocacy groups, the sources most likely to present an alternative view to the government's.

  29. Flak The actions of political groups/ideological voices that attack media content they find unacceptable. Herman and Chomsky were most concerned with right-oriented groups Accuracy in Media Media Research Center

  30. Liberal media watchdogs Media Matters Media Channel FAIR

  31. Anticommunist ideology The fifth filter--anticommunist ideology--is possibly weakened by the collapse of the Soviet Union and global socialism, but this is easily offset by the greater ideological force of the belief in the 'miracle of the market' . . . There is now an almost religious faith in the market, at least among the elite, so that regardless of evidence, markets are assumed to be benevolent and nonmarket mechanisms are suspect. . . . Journalism has internalized this ideology.

  32. Terrorism Is fear of terrorism a new force that has replaced anti-communism as a means to control information in the United States?

  33. Gans News Values A competing view argues that news values come mostly from the societal culture and the professional norms of journalism Herbert Gans, Deciding What s News

  34. Ethnocentrism Like the news of other countries, American news values its own nation above all This ethnocentrism comes through most explicitly in foreign news, which judges other countries by the extent to which they live up to or imitate American practices and values Clearest expression in war news

  35. Altruistic democracy Foreign news explicitly states that democracy is better than dictatorship Domestic news focuses on corruption, conflict, protest, and bureaucratic malfunctioning the news implies that politics should follow a course based on the public interest and public service

  36. Responsible capitalism an optimistic faith that in the good society, businessmen and women will compete with each other in order to create increased prosperity for all, but that they will refrain from unreasonable profits and gross exploitation of workers or customers

  37. Small-town pastoralism Preference for small towns over cities and suburbs Needless to say, the pastoral values underlying the news are romantic; they visualize rural and market towns as they were imagined to have existed in the past Community Two values: desirability of nature and smallness per se

  38. Individualism rugged individualists one of the most important enduring news values is the preservation of the freedom of the individual against the encroachments of nation and society The ideal individual struggles successfully against adversity and overcomes more powerful forces.

  39. Moderatism Discouragement of excess or extremism While often tolerated when exhibited by individuals, groups which exhibit what is seen as extreme behavior are criticized in the news through pejorative adjectives or a satirical tone; in many spheres of human activity, polar opposites are questioned and moderate solutions are upheld.

  40. Disorder Gans argues that news often focuses on disorder Social disorder Moral disorder


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