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"The Media Monopoly" Ben H. Bagdikian

2245 words - 9 pages

"The Media Monopoly", the fifth edition, was written by Ben H. Bagdikian, a dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Bagdikian originally published this book in 1983 to warn the public about the negative impacts that corporate ownership and mass advertising have on the media.Author Bagdikian explores the way in which the media functions. His particular area of interest is the way in which the media is controlled. His exploration details various forms of information dissemination, including television, radio, and print; both newspapers and magazines. His goal is to explore the significance of the media to us, the consumers, and to look at how the media outlets themselves operate. The Media Monopoly takes its readers on a historical journey that illustrates the problems caused by the vast changes that have occurred in media ownership.The basic message that "The Media Monopoly" illuminates is that Americans receive extremely biased news and information from today's mass media. Often, the public doesn't receive any information whatsoever concerning significant events that are definitely news. There are two key reasons for this serious lack of honest and open news reporting.The first cause is that there have been so many mergers and acquisitions in the media industry. In 1983, 50 corporations owned most of the media, including trade and textbook publishers and movie studios. Today, fewer than ten corporations control America's newspapers, books, magazines, movies, television and radio (p. xiii). That means the ten corporations control most of everything the American public sees, hears, and reads. In terms of media possessions and resources, the dominant top 10 include Time-Warner, Disney, Viacom, News Corp Ltd (Murdoch), Sony, Tele-Communications Inc (TCI, John Malone), Seagram, Westinghouse, Gannett and General Electric. Any news or information that doesn't fit with the attitudes, values or revenue goals of these ten corporations doesn't get exposure in their media venues. Also, any information that is damaging to them or to another large corporation that they sympathize with may be repressed or given so little exposure that the public doesn't even notice it.For instance, Times-Mirror newspapers did not report critical events surrounding a controversial project in the Los Angeles area. The Times-Mirror Company owns newspapers, cable systems, book publishers, agricultural and urban real estate, commercial printing plants, and other ventures. Due to their land interests, the company had regularly advocated for subsidies for agricultural water. This particular project called for a $2 billion, tax-paid canal system to be installed which would directly benefit one of the Times-Mirror subsidiaries. This was definitely a news item of interest to tax payers, yet the Times-Mirror newspapers did not report on it because they claimed it was not newsworthy (pp....

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