Nintey percent (90%) of all media we consume is controlled by six corporations. Six. These media outlets have the ability to manipulate the thoughts and opinions of the public, disseminate information, and frame situations and news items to fit their perspective agenda. There is evidence is happening.
The 2012 Election
In 2012 I closely followed media statistics and how they were effecting the presidential race.
One of the best sources of raw data was the Pew Research Center for media. The data was pretty clear and I found a few points worth noting.
1. During the Republican primaries Mitt Romney received debate time than any other candidate (50% more per debate than the 2nd most time, and twice as much as everyone else per debate)
2. During the Republican primaries Mitt Romney received more media coverage than any other candidate.
3. After the Republican primaries Barrack Obama immediately received more coverage than Mitt Romney. (almost twice as much)
4. Media and communication companies donated almost three as much to Obama as Romney.
In the end Obama won the election by a landslide. I wonder how much influence the volume and positive portrayal of Obama in the media had to do with voter’s opinion?
The Media Pushes Agenda
The media pushes an agenda for political purpose. This is no clearer than with the recent events and trial that is taking place surrounding the Benghazi consulate attack. While I will not focus on my personal opinion of what happened there I would like to focus on the media’s treatment of the event.
Conservative media (i.e., Fox News) is in outrage. They point out that orders for military personnel to stand down were given twice. This lead to the death of four Americans. After the event the white house issued a false statement saying that it was a riot inisiated by a YouTube video slamming Islam. It has recently been revealed that those talking points were manufactured and that key officials were ordered not to cooperate with the investigation. All this happening, Conservatives point out, only 2 months prior to Obama’s election.
Left wingers (i.e., MSNBC, ABC) say that this is a non-event that is being amplified by conservatives in a careful ploy to attack the Obama administration and, more specifically, Hilary Clinton.
So why are the two sides so far apart on an issue? The answer is obvious: Each side has their own Political Agenda. So why do we let media outlets get away with it during election time? And is it fair that media presents opinions as fact? I don’t think it is.
Media Interest, Advertising, and Corporate Ties
The problem isn’t with media sharing an opinion though. The problem is that popular media has a direct conflict of interest when it comes to presenting balanced and honest news. Why? Because the worst violators write their paycheck!
This is how it happens: ABC advertiser writes a million dollar check to XYZ media. Three months later XYZ media comes across a story where ABC advertiser was poisoning patients with bad pharmaceutics. ABC advertiser threatens to pull its million dollar advertising contract if XYZ media runs the story. Thus, XYZ media smiles and turns the other way. In fact, if ABC agrees to make that check 2 million dollars they will even put a positive spin on it. So in the end – the media company gets rich and the rest of us are fucked. This happens everyday.
Don’t believe everything you see on TV.
Featured image photo credit.