The Mass Media Serves the Interests of the Corporate and Political Elite
There exists a symbiotic relationship between corporate America and the United States government. This relationship influences the organizational structure of the mass media and thereby greatly impacts the framing of social problems in our society. The mass media serves the interests of the corporate and political elite by presenting only those issues favorable to their objectives and “filtering” out those that are not. To understand how this “filtering” process works, it is necessary to recognize who actually has control of what issues are presented in the mass media and what issues are omitted. Our media is an oligopoly that poses a threat to the very idea of democracy. The general assumption of most people, that the journalists themselves control what we see and hear, is false. Rather, it is the owners of the media, who consist of the corporate and government elite that are in control
These two groups are so intertwined, having such a mutual reliance on one another; it is difficult to view them as separate entities. A clear example of this is how William J. Casey, Reagan’s CIA director, gained both personally and politically from the Capital Cities/ABC takeover. Casey was both a founder of Capital Cities as well as a major political player in the Reagan administration. As a major stockholder of the corporation it is easy to see how he could possibly have used his influence to assure what was broadcast by ABC was favorable to the Reagan administration’s political agenda. This example is not unique, rather, it is representative of the normal workings of big business and politics in our country.
To protect the interest of these powers, the media systematically “filters” what it presents to the American public. Issues that pose a threat to the interests of those in control are either not presented or presented in such a way that their threat is neutralized. Conservatives have gone as far as to establish “think tanks” to form conservative opinions from which they can derive their sources. In fact, conservative right wing “think tanks”, such as the Heritage Foundation, come out on top in studies of most quoted “think tanks.” American opinion however, is much more liberal than that of the conservative experts.
Advertising pressure is another example of a “filter”. While newspapers earn 75% of their revenue from advertisement, they claim that the advertisers don’t influence their stories. Advertisers demand a supportive programming environment. Take for example what happened when Mercury News ran a story on automobile buying that was not in the best interest of automobile dealerships. The dealerships pulled their advertising from the paper. When the paper subsequently ran a story favorable to the dealerships, they resumed their advertising. This amounts to little more than corporate censorship.
What is presented to the public by the mass...