Breaking the Unholy Alliance between Money & Mainstream Media
In the 1980s, the diversity in media was much greater than it is today, with about 50 companies controlling the majority of the news market in the U.S. Even then, voices were raised over the problems with media concentration. Today, some 30 years later, they have all merged into a handful of giant corporations.
As the number of companies has declined, so has the trust in news media. Today, only a quarter of Americans aged under 50 have trust in the mass media.
Six corporations own over 90% of all news media, while all independent media compete for the remaining 10% of the market.
This becomes a problem when the corporations that produce the news also have other monetary interests. Consider this: leading up to the war in Iraq, NBC was owned by General Electric. GE supplied parts for almost every major weapon system used by the U.S. — including the Patriot and Tomahawk Cruise missiles, the Stealth bomber, and the B-52 bomber. Clearly, they would financially benefit from a new war.
Did this affect the news reporting at the time? Did they help legitimize the war? Even if it didn’t, just knowing that the owner of a major news outlet is benefiting from a war that they are promoting is deeply troubling.
Let’s look at another example. During the primary elections last year, after the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, CNN put this headline on their website: “Clinton’s Confident Sweep.” Next to it, they had an online poll wherein 81% of respondents declared Bernie Sanders as the winner. This was repeated by virtually every mainstream media outlet while Bernie won all online polls, Facebook, Twitter, and even offline focus groups
As if this wasn’t enough, from the leaked DNC emails we can see that CNN gave Hillary Clinton the debate questions ahead of the debate!
Why did this happen? Did it have anything to do with CNN being owned by Time Warner, which just happened to be one of Hillary Clinton’s largest donors? Again, it’s hard to prove, but deeply troubling.
According to a Tyndall report, in 2016, the news on NBC, CBS, and ABC gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign more than 4x more airtime than Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump got more than double the airtime of Clinton. In 2015, these numbers were even more skewed. It’s hard to imagine that this didn’t have a large impact on the outcome of the election.
The mainstream media will never address these issues themselves. So, what can we, as news readers, do to fix it?
What we have to do is to redefine what is mainstream. We need to create our own news sources, ones controlled by ordinary people. Over time, this will become the new mainstream. It has never been more important to do this than it is now. If we want real change, we will not just have to replace the people in power, we will also need to fix the news.
This is why we are creating Newsvoice. To join the movement, download the app from Newsvoice.com, go to About, then tap Volunteer. We need all the help we can get, so please share this article. Let’s fix the news. Together.