To quote from “Media Consolidation – The Illusion Of Choice” (www.ritholtz.com) “6 media giants now control a staggering 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to.” Their loyalty is to profit not the public interest. Who, what, where, when, why and how have been replaced by Q and A reporters who ask the right question to get the right response or an arguable segment. Conglomerates control content.
Consider your reaction to bold-print newspaper headlines like: Stock market soars with news of technological advances; 23,000 new jobs created; housing market freefall at an end; banks report profits of $multi billion; auto industry on it’s feet after near collapse; indicators show US economy ahead of expectations.
Radio stations playing new music are hard to find in all markets. Chances are you listen to a pre-selected continual loop of tunes chosen by non-competitive affiliated corporations. Downloaded music to your personal device comes from a generic playlist controlled by the same industries. Talk radio is either a corrupted conservative or liberal bias directed by repetitive host opinions that do not stray from the script.
To be fair, big media evenly divided ownership of all major TV networks. The mergers fell like the arranged domino pieces they were so no one grabbed for the other’s prime target. Each got a lion’s share of the global market. This prime example of collusion sets the price you pay and dictates your viewing choices.
The American public has been pretty much ‘had.’ We have become a ‘beige’ society, subliminally undermined to ‘go with the flow’ and do what we’re told.
To our credit, we are concerned when we read short pieces like: over 20% of US children living in poverty; Albertsons cuts 2500 jobs; rental rates soar as demand increases; families juggle personal budgets to stretch paychecks; ridership up for public transportation; consumers look for relief at the gas pump as we work our way through this tough economy. We consume the information but ask few questions about how these stories can be so directionally conflicted with headline news.
Definitely easy on the eardrums homogeneous characters make you feel down-home-comfortable as they sell you financial advice. You’re meant to identify with prior positive roles they’ve played, and, by extension, trust they personally care about your future. They are well-compensated actors.
With appropriate disclaimers, we watch pharmaceutical ads curing TV diseases. Even erectile dysfunction cures come under the pharmaceutical umbrella no matter how inappropriate their dinner-time slot. These ads have nothing to do with health and there is no magic pill to avoid them.
Political ads disclaim nothing. Scare tactics keep us in line. Under the guise of free speech, there appear to be no rules, except you still can’t cuss. The ads attack, mis-lead, mis-represent, mis-construe, mis-interpret, mis-quote and are fair game. To the listener, it is mis-ery.
Our own filtering system is numbed by the constant assault of repetition. Loyalty and patriotism are to our country not to an ideologue spun on an endless wheel. It’s like having a dull headache that won’t go away. Hammered media messages are in direct conflict to the stark reality we live in. Community has become irrelevant.
We need Freedom Of The Press and journalists ready to report unmanufactured truth. We need upstarts like U-Tube, social media and Wiki leaks to cause corporate and government embarrassment.
Deregulate corporate media to re-form a competitive industry. A free society questions everything surrounding it. Make media honorable.