Synergy Bias: Conglomerates and Promotion in the News
Kristen HerholdEmma McIntyreKalen Wagoner
Think of your favorite television channels, your favorite magazines, and your favorite websites. You may think they’re all their own separate entity and company, but what you don’t know is that every form of media is likely owned by a mere handful of powerful corporations. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ 1ZB5cjylx2o/TLPUhUHuEJI/A AAAAAAACj4/gXEfI39L1ZQ/ s1600/media-ownership.gif
Comcast Corporation Owns 51 percent of NBC Universal (other 49 percent is owned by General Electric) This includes NBC, MSNBC, The History Channel, A&E USA Network, and Hulu News Corporation ◦ Owns Fox, Fox News, FSN, TV Guide Channel, and National Geographic Channel, among others Time Warner ◦ Controls CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, and the CW The Walt Disney Company ◦ Owns ABC, ABC Family, ESPN, The Disney Channel, and Lifetime
You’ve all played the game Monopoly, in which you try to dominate the entire board. The media industry, on the other hand, is considered an oligopoly, which is when a small number of companies owns a large number of media outlets. This causes fewer opportunities for unique ideas to be generated, which causes less diversity in the media.
The conglomeration of media allows corporations to promote their own products without the public’s awareness. With the media being owned by few major conglomerates, problems have arisen through various forms of biases ◦ Bias of Inclusion ◦ Bias of Revision ◦ Bias of Omission
Coverage in the news that favors the parent company of the channel This includes cross promotion, which is when a media conglomerate promotes its product on its various other subsidiaries. ◦ For example, Alice in Wonderland, a Disney movie was promoted on ABC, ABC Family, and ESPN Cross Promotion
Coverage in the news media that is changed in order to benefit the parent company According to the Columbia Journalism Review, "several" former Fox employees "complained of management sticking their fingers in the writing and editing of stories to cook the facts to make a story more palatable to right-of-center tastes." Said one: "Ive worked at a lot of news organizations and never found that kind of manipulation.” ◦ Bias of Revision
A media outlet leaves out part of the news story that can damage the parent company. Last summer, when the scandal with Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation surfaced, it was found that FOX covered the scandal much less than other stations. FOX is owned by News Corporation. Coincidence?http://www.matthewhunt.com/blog/images/themanwhoownsthenews.jpg http://www.journalism.org/comme ntary_backgrounder/fnc_trails_far_ behind_rivals_murdoch_coverage
In order to appropriately gauge the various bias found in the media, one must become media literate. Diversify where you get your news. This will allow you to spot what biases are found on various channels. It is important to know which outlets are owned by whom, which will overall allow you to see messages that may be included or excluded based on outlets owned by the same parent company. In order to become media literate, you must become aware.
The Jonas Brothers are part of the Disney Corporation, and Disney is known for making decisions for the band. This South Park clip (:00-:35) depicts just that. ◦ South Park: The Boss is Here