Media Ownership Matters – Here’s Why
Posted by jeremiasx on February 8, 2007
Who owns the media? My last post ended up raising this issue: let’s takes a detailed look at it because it definitely deserves scrutiny…why? Well…I’ll tell you why. If you look at the flow from the top of the charts I’m posting, you’ll see that several of these major corporations are part-owners of the same interests…
For instance, the most glaring example: under the blanket ownership of the Disney Corporation, everything you see and everything you hear on any ABC newscast (TV or radio) is brought to you by Mickey Mouse and company. That’s not just one venue in one broadcast area (city, whatever)…that’s WORLDWIDE…let’s think about the ramifications of that…if the chairman of Disney has a personal beef with a campaign candidate, any candidate, he can deny access to the public of any story relating to that candidate in a positive light. (Dave, before you interject, just remember CNN and the type of news it reports on Republicans…for the those on the left…just look at Foxnews and the Obama “madrassa” story that tried to sink his campaign and smudge Hillary’s as soon as they launched.)
To get a better idea of how many people a single executive decision can affect, one must think of things in more vague terms because it’s difficult to say just how dedicated the average American is about getting a healthy does of news per day.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that between watching “Lost” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” the average ABC viewer probably doesn’t take the time to consider what interests ABC has regarding advertising, lobbying, or anything else in the political realm…they assume they are watching unbiased media…
But now you’re probably saying, well so what if they bully advertisers and stuff like that…that doesn’t have much effect on what news gets out there…then I say look at this story from the run-up to the 2000 election that was conveniently brushed under the rug…I’ll post a teaser and give you the link afterward.
“During former defense secretary Richard Cheney’s five-year tenure as chief executive of Halliburton , Inc., his oil services firm raked in big bucks from dubious commercial dealings with Iraq. Cheney left Halliburton with a $34 million retirement package last July when he became the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate.
Of course, U.S. firms aren’t generally supposed to do business with Saddam Hussein. But thanks to legal loopholes large enough to steer an oil tanker through, Halliburton profited big-time from deals with the Iraqi dictatorship. Conducted discreetly through several Halliburton subsidiaries in Europe, these greasy transactions helped Saddam Hussein retain his grip on power while lining the pockets of Cheney and company.
According to the Financial Times of London, between September 1998 and last winter, Cheney, as CEO of Halliburton , oversaw $23.8 million of business contracts for the sale of oil-industry equipment and services to Iraq through two of its subsidiaries, Dresser Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, which helped rebuild Iraq’s war-damaged petroleum-production infrastructure. The combined value of these contracts exceeded those of any other U.S. company doing business with Baghdad.
Questioned by Sam Donaldson on ABC’s This Week program in August, Cheney bluntly asserted that Halliburton had no dealings with the Iraqi regime while he was on board.
Donaldson: I’m told, and correct me if I’m wrong, that Halliburton , through subsidiaries, was actually trying to do business in Iraq?
Cheney: No. No. I had a firm policy that I wouldn’t do anything in Iraq even arrangements that were supposedly legal.
And that was it! ABC News and the other U.S. networks dropped the issue like a hot potato. As damning information about Halliburton surfaced in the European press, American reporters stuck to old routines and took their cues on how to cover the campaign from the two main political parties, both of which had very little to say about official U.S. support for abusive corporate policies at home and abroad.”
For the full story go here:
Why does it matter that ABC didn’t report any of these things, or that any other major media followed suit? Why does it matter if there are plenty of Internet watchdog venues to “keep them honest?” Well, here’s why…statistically, more people watch TV than surf the Internet for news. Here’s proof…
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the VAST MAJORITY of Americans get their “news” from the television and radio media venues rather than the ones available on the Internet…when one factors in the statistics (which I’ll not bother to track down, but I’m sure would probably support my argument here, because a lot of people go to the same watering holes online that they go to on the television (FoxNews, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, etc.) on the Internet…which leads me to believe that independent internet news venues catch a fraction of a fraction of total consumption by the general public…
What does this mean? Well, basically what I’ve been saying this whole time…media ownership matters. Those who control our access to news have historically been proven to NOT be unbiased and any extremist from any political spectrum will be the first to point this out. Those on the right claim the media is biased to the left…those on the left claim it is biased to the right…my point…it’s biased, and it’s bias comes from whatever view the ownership feels will be the most beneficial to it’s shareholders…not the viewing public.
The responsibility of journalism SHOULD be to the reader-viewer…however, by the very nature of the system as it is now being practiced…the true responsibility of the major media are to it’s shareholders…those capitalists who drive the machine with their money and influence…this makes for very doubtful integrity of the media machine in my humble opinion…are there venues for independent media? Sure…are they the majority of what America sees when it catches the news (actively OR passively)…NO.
Here are a few good sites for those who are interested in investigating these concerns further: