The media and in particular, the news media have a vast control over what we see, hear, think, learn and know of our world. They are massive, powerful conglomerates – an industry so lucrative that what started out as only a few small bodies and then expanded into an almost infinite amount, was then again swallowed up by the most powerful giants in the news media industry, still under the guise of many bodies acting independently of each other. The truth of the matter is, that the control the media exerts over the general population has caused this eventual takeover by the likes of Newscorp, Reuters, AOL, CNN, NBC et. al as they realise their power in the real world.
The news media dictates what we know of politics and governments both where we live locally, and on a global scale. It controls what we know of art, science, religion, business, finance – the scope of their reach and its manipulation is almost endless. Society cannot be ignorant to this somewhat obvious fact, because whether we realise it or not, how the media portrays the world is inevitably for their own benefit – for the generation of profit through consumption. While the news media has a serious obligation to report facts, it also has its own interests at its core. Needless to say, they are not charities.
Simple tribute to this is one of the news media’s biggest companies, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns the giant Fox News, twenty-six television stations and a majority in seven others. With total assets in excess of US$52billion and total revenues of approximately US$31billion, it casts its influence in entertainment, television (as well as cable and satellite TV), magazines, newspapers and information services. There is very little into which its machinations don’t delve and hence, influence society
Consider this: Imagine if the news never reported anything to be fearful of. If there was only good news, in bold letters, on front pages. If television said nothing about terror and terrorism (whether it existed or not) or flu pandemics, or deepening recessions. – It’s highly improbable (impossible, even). But aside from the fact that these things exist in our world in one way or another, if the population wasn’t living in fear of something the need to seek out the news would almost subside. We wouldn’t wonder what we should be aware of, fearful of, careful of, looking out for, thinking about. – Our need to consume would dissipate.
Media control is exerted over almost every aspect of our lives, but most importantly for them, it is able to control consumption, through the creation of fear. It causes us to buy the newspaper in consecutive days, to tune in to watch the nightly (or 24/7) news, to listen to the radio, to buy magazines, see, hear and read advertising, buy the products we see on television, in newspapers, in magazines – one massive system perpetuates itself, and the population consumes, the news media and the media itself acting as the catalyst, in one way serving the people, but in essence satisfying its own need to generate its massive profits.
It may sound far fetched, but consider the fact that CBS and NBC are each respectively owned by Westinghouse and General electric – two of the biggest appliance and weapons manufacturers in the world today – and the reasons for their sphere of influence can easily be seen, the lines drawn between what we buy and consume and what we read, hear and see in the news, slowly converging and leading back to the same place. The negative, delusive effect that this must have on the news media goes without saying.
Whether or not we agree on the element and depth of the news media’s control, one surety is that today, the struggle to seek out both sides of the same story and find independent, unbiased news is becoming increasingly hard. What’s more, is the fact that society is evermore willing to simply accept what they are told, passive to media control.