The Effects Of Media Mergers On Society

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The Effects Of Media Mergers On Society Essay, Research Paper How much of what your read in a paper or magazine, or hear on the television is actually the true story, and how much of it has been altered by a corporation who wishes to control what you hear? The public should feel that they are getting the whole story, not a story approved by an executive, taking out content that is damaging to the parent corporation or something they just don t agree with. When parent companies interfere with the reporting of sources under their control they are wrongfully using their market position to deprive consumers of accurate information. Beginning with the first of the mega media mergers, Capital Cities buying ABC in 1986, and then after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which opened

the floodgates, the trend has been for large corporations to buy media and broadcast companies. According to the FCC there have been over 1000 broadcast deals in the last ten years. On the outside this appears to be a fairly benign offshoot of late 20th century capitalism s tendency of merger, acquisition, and hostile takeovers, but further review reveals that the conglomeration of media outlets hurts consumers by taking choice out of their hands and putting it into the hands of corporations. The media giants have become neglectful in their duties to serve a public interest . Instead they serve their own narrow interest. These narrow interests do serve the stockholders, theoretically of which anyone can become, but this is not the traditional position that media outlets should

hold. Broadcast and print media represent their own spheres of public service and expectations. The mainstream media is expected to be somewhat unbiased and objective in reporting on current issues, (within the range of the political leanings of their editors). Corporate pressure to squeeze out every penny in earnings has forever changed the look of news reporting. Gone are the days of respected newsmen such as Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. Gone are the days of honest, hard-hitting expos s of large corporations and government. Today news department s budgets are repeatedly slashed, the news has become an unwanted child that has been deemed less important than earning that extra dollar hawking the movies and products of the corporate parent. The news has become an

ever-shrinking bit player in huge corporate machines. This pressure to cut costs and increase earning has ensured only news that is the best marketed will reach your home, not the most thoroughforcing the few remaining independent news organizations to cut costs, further hurting their ability to report or forcing them out of business, or into the hands of their competitors. Editors and newsroom executives now fear upsetting their bosses by printing or broadcasting a story that will cast the parent company in a negative light. The move towards profits at all costs means control has been taken out of the hands of those that know the business and put in the hands of those whose sole motivation is the bottom line. An excellent example of this is Time magazine s decision to put a

story about Pok mon on the cover of a recent issue, this issue just happened to coincide with Warner Brother s (the other half of Time Warner) release of a Pok mon movie. Unpopular ideas are now quashed in boardrooms instead of being put into the public forum where they have a chance to be debated on their merit. The last several years have produced many examples of corporations killing stories they did not like; two examples took place at ABC and CBS. Michael Eisner, the chairman of Disney, which owns ABC, said in an interview in September of 1998 I would prefer ABC not to cover Disney. I think it s inappropriate. a short time later at ABC s 20/20 a decision was made not to run a story about lax security and child molestation at Disney World. Many feel that the story was killed