Media Elite Essay

1591 words - 6 pages

There is an elite force at work in this country. This hand-full of people are the gatekeepers of the status quo. They are the Canadian media elite. It is no secret that newspapers and television are vital to the health and vitality of a democracy. These institutions are essential to the maintenance of the political machine. In Canada, there is a chilling connection between the media elite and political power. These two bodies work together to promote and to benefit from the political culture of the dominant ideology, liberalism and consumerism. In the following essay I will discuss the phenomena of the Canadian media elite. I will explain the ambitions of the media elite. I will also illuminate the agenda of the political elite in terms of Gramsci's theory of hegemony.The existence of the media elite is proved by its concentration of ownership. The media elite in this country are the handful of families who own and operate a majority of these newspapers, internet site, radio, and television stations. Some notable companies are the Irving family in New Brunswick, Quebecor, "Power Corp." owned by Paul Desmarias and closer to home, CanWest Global Communications which is owned by president and CEO by Leonard Asper of Winnipeg. As of February 2001, the ownership of Canadian daily newspapers has CanWest Global (26.5% of media ownership) owning the following dailies: National Post (½) St. John's Telegram Corner Brook Western Star Charlottetown Guardian Summerside Journal Pioneer Halifax Daily News Sydney Cape Breton Post Truro Daily News New Glasgow Evening News Montreal Gazette Ottawa Citizen Windsor Star St. Catharines Standard Brantford Expositor Niagara Falls Review Welland Tribune Regina Leader-Post Saskatoon StarPhoenix Moose Jaw Times-Herald Prince Albert Daily Herald Calgary Herald Edmonton Journal Vancouver Sun Vancouver Province Victoria Times-Colonist Nanaimo Daily News Port Alberni Valley Times This list refers only to their news dailies. The Aspers also own a host of television stations from coast to coast. The concern is of course that "too much concentrated media ownership potentially puts too much political and cultural power in too few hands".( The Missing News 55) The problem starts with the fact that newspapers and television are profit driven businesses. Newspapers are owned by chains. They are owned by people who own other businesses. Despite the fact the newspapers play a role in democracy, The Kent Commission determined that "all the owners tend to see it as a business and see it through profit and losses". How do the elite amass their wealth? The power elite are wealthy not through the sale of their daily, but by the sale of advertising space. The greater the circulation of the daily or the higher the ratings of a television program, the greater the value of the advertising space. For their part, advertisers will turn to the media to attract the most readers and viewers. "Thus, most modern metropolitan newspapers...

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