by Paul Balles
Twenty years ago several journalists expressed concern that the number of major news sources in America had diminished to fifty. Today, conglomerates have bought up most of those news sources; and the number of major news sources controlling the media has been reduced to six!
These six control all of the news reported in America and much of what gets reported in the UK and Europe.
“Mainstream media owns the most influential voice in government leader’s accountability,” writes Kara Bettis. “The New York Times has exposed President Obama’s controversial kill lists and 60 Minutes revealed CIA involvement in smuggling cocaine, to name a few.”
Rupert Murdock’s News Corp holdings include a lion’s share of the newspaper industry in Australia, plus about one-third of British newspapers; and in the U.S. he has film and TV interests, newspapers, book publishers, sports teams, and more. In Asia he owns Star Television.
What makes this problematic is that thousands of smaller news media without the resources to get the news rely on the major conglomerates for their news. Thus the small newspapers in Canton, Ohio or in Exeter, England or in Bahrain depend upon the major news outlets for what they report.
Bertelsmann, in Germany, ranks as the third largest media conglomerate in the world. In the USA, General Electric, Disney, Westinghouse, Viacom and Time-Warner, all of whom control media outside of the USA, represent the large media controllers.
What this means is that they choose which news is important, which news they don’t want reported, what kind of slant should be taken and who–among their owners and corporate advertisers–might be offended or pleased by what they report.
The result should be obvious: the news that you get with origins in the mainstream media has been filtered and slanted and censored by the interests they represent.
The Associated Press is a not-for-profit cooperative, which means its 1,550 U.S. daily newspaper members own it. They elect a board of directors that directs the cooperative. More than a billion people every day read, hear or see AP news.
In the United States alone, AP serves 1,550 newspapers and 5,000 radio and television stations. Add to that the more than 8,500 newspaper, radio and television subscribers in 112 countries and you’ll have some idea of AP’s reach.
For reports from their own journalists, Reuters has a reputation for being more objective in their choice of news stories and in their reporting. However, Reuters also frequently relies on other major news sources for their stories.
What does the reference to “alternative media” mean? It refers to media including newspapers, magazines, radio, television or the internet that cover news that doesn’t get reported or is under-reported in the mainstream media.
Social media like Facebook and twitter can also be considered alternative media when they report news.
A word of warning: some of the news reported by alternative media, while perfectly verifiable, has shocked readers into disbelief simply because it goes strongly against common beliefs and the propaganda mills of the major media.
Other sites have published articles with speculation and conjecture about which doubts exist. Just as major media can distort the news and views they present, alternative news sources can fail to offer complete and satisfactory evidence to support their reporting.
If only some of the news has been reported, we are kept in the dark about important issues that have been swept under the carpet.
If only one side of the news or one view of an issue is presented, we have nothing to consider, and we are effectively victims of propaganda.