The Effects of Media Mergers

            How much of what your read in a paper or magazine, or hear on the television is actually the true story, and how much of it has been altered by a corporation who wishes to control what you hear? The public should feel that they are getting the whole story, not a story approved by an executive, taking out content that is damaging to the parent corporation or something they just don't agree with. When parent companies interfere with the reporting of sources under their control they are wrongfully using their market position to deprive consumers of accurate information.

             Beginning with the first of the mega media mergers, Capital Cities buying ABC in 1986, and then after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which opened the floodgates, the trend has been for large corporations to buy media and broadcast companies. According to the FCC there have been over 1000 broadcast deals in the last ten years. On the outside this appears to be a fairly benign offshoot of late 20th century capitalism's tendency of merger, acquisition, and hostile takeovers, but further review reveals that the conglomeration of media outlets hurts consumers by taking choice out of their hands and putting it into the hands of corporations. The media giants have become neglectful in their duties to serve a "public interest”. Instead they serve their own narrow interest. These narrow interests do serve the stockholders, theoretically of which anyone can become, but this is not the traditional position that media outlets should hold.

             Broadcast and print media represent their own spheres of public service and expectations. The mainstream media is expected to be somewhat unbiased and objective in reporting on current issues, (within the range of the political leanings of their editors). .

             Corporate pressure to squeeze out every penny in earnings has forever changed the look of news reporting. Gone are the days of respected newsmen such as Walter Cronkite and Edward R.

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