A Brief History Of The Media In The UsaPresentation Transcript
A Brief History Of The Media In The United States With Pictures
The New Nation :1776 - 1865
Early American political discourse stressed civil virtue and public, rather than private good. Those who argued for liberty of the press (free speech) did so not for individual expression, rather…
so that the community might hear and judge the merit of the views of others
Thomas Jefferson saw freedom of the press as a foundation of popular democracy
For example, Congress permitted newspapers to be mailed at a price below cost (subsidized). Because they were cheap, diversity flourished. The press was filled with partisan opinions on various topics.
The Gilded Age: 1866 - 1900
Private control of the media grows with the invention of the telegraph
Western Union forms a monopoly with this new communication technology
Western Union Creates…The Associated Press (AP)
Originally the AP was a monopoly news service run in cooperation by the largest (and wealthiest) newspaper publishers in the country
Their competitors could not use their wires. This put smaller publishers at a huge disadvantage
Now that News is Big Business…
In order to not offend business clients, the AP favored the appearance of “objectivity” in the newspapers
The idea of a “professional media” is born
News begins to have a big business bias
As Newspaper Companies grow…
They gobble up the competition
Wealthy white guys (below) owned the papers, and their political views were most often reflected by their newspapers
Mr. Schooley Is An Axe Murderer!!!!
In order to make even more profit, newspapers turned to sensationalism (see above)
Many small newspapers could no longer compete. Some refused to use advertising to sustain themselves on moral grounds and went out of business
As the labor movement grew…
Many newspapers became increasingly anti-labor
Yellow journalism led to massive national criticism from muckrakers, labor organizations and politicians
The Rise of Broadcasting: 1920s to 1930s
In its infancy, radio was a very new technology and it was not originally thought of as a profit making entity
How long did you think THAT would last?
NBC & CBS emerged in the 20s
They realized radio’s profit making potential and created chains of stations all over the USA, supported by the sale of advertising: The “Commercial” is born
This new media became very profitable.
Congress Passes The Communications Act of 1934
Good News for Rich Guys: Act helped further deregulate and privatize broadcasting
Good News for the Public: Act made clear that communication licenses were to be granted with the condition that the company receiving the license would serve the public interest
So what can we conclude from this?
Public interest over pure profit was still the theory
In the late 40s The FCC required that commercial broadcasters give ample time to matters of public importance and provide a range of viewpoints on controversial issues
It also restricted the actual number of radio and TV stations that a single broadcasting company could own in order to prevent one company from gaining too much influence
The NEO-LIBERAL PERIOD:
However, this doctrine was not always enforced… and with the deregulation agenda of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the FCC dissolved the fairness doctrine. So we enter…
Virtually a total free market
Very few restrictions
In other words, Big Media companies could gorge themselves on their weaker competitors
1996 Telecommunications Act:
This Act lifted regulations and ownership restrictions from commercial media and communications companies
Media Moguls rejoiced!
The aftermath of the signing of this bill:
Cable rates rose 50% between 1996 & 2003
Media no longer regulated in a manner that served the public good
Seven major corporations now control about 90% of the market
What does it all mean? What are the dangers? Why should I care?