What the News of the World/NewsCorp Scandal can Teach us about Media Conglomerates
At this point, every major news outlet (except, of course, those owned by NewsCorp) has reported extensively the gory details of the death of the British tabloid News of the World – Their phone hacking history; their famous owner; the pie-in-the-face debacle in British Parliament – but there is one thing we’re not talking about: the danger of media conglomerations.
Of course, this is because most major news outlets are owned by a media conglomerate. Most media is owned by a media conglomerate. Most of the time, it’s fine – we barely even notice that only a few major corporations are behind providing our sources of information in the traditional media. It really doesn’t effect the way most news is told, or presented. But once it hits a little too close to home, obviously, they just keep mum on the subject.
But I’m not owned by a media conglomeration, so I’m not afraid what will happen to my job if I say this: media conglomerates are dangerous. Not in a “hide-your-kids-hide-your-wife” kind of way, but in a way that their power looms vaguely over everything that happens in the news. They have the ultimate power over our information and clearly can try to ignore major news stories that involve them or their subsidiaries. They feel immortal – they can preform explicitly illegal activities and get away with it.
I’m not trying to tell you that every single outlet owned by every single conglomeration is preforming illegal activities. That’s not true at all. What’s scary is that, although NewsCorp is notoriously known for playing fast-and-loose with laws and typical standards of journalism ethics, any conglomeration has a vast reach and power that they can shape the way we view the world – perhaps according to a political agenda, like NewsCorp, or perhaps just to not openly bad-mouth corporations and conglomerates – the way they are now. It just feels like a little too much power for a few major players.
My suggestion? Support your public media – NPR, PBS, local stations, local papers, internet zines – anything and everything that doesn’t have a giant corporate stamp on it!