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Media Power and Media Bias

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The powerful media barons have always altered broadcasts to achieve their personal or corporate agenda. What purpose does the media serve now? Measuring Bias on Television by Barrie Gunter has elaborated on the idea that news was originally set up to act as a national tool to stir thoughts. But is it? No! Is the media even enlightening the public now? After careful speculation of mass media and the communication world, I am under the impression that broadcasts have been used to entertain, frighten and cause controversy as a means to keep people watching.

First off, the media serves as an authoritative power. It strikes the public as informative, knowledgeable and some may even go as far to say that to audiences, the media is omniscient. With this being said, it can be noted that the media serves a power even higher than itself: major corporations. The communication industry acts as a vehicle of promotion for ten major corporations. According to excerpts taken from Stuart A. Kallen’s At Issue: Media Bias, Robert W. McChesney discusses how power operates in our society. We are dominated by 10 transitional conglomerates: Disney, AOL, Time Warner, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi Universal, Sony, Liberty, Bertelsmann, AT&T, Comcast, General Electric (NBC). These greatly impact media sectors, and based upon this reading I have come to believe that since these corporations are sponsoring and/or controlling news providers and what is being reported, the media is catering to big-time companies. McChesney infers how ironic it is that if the First Amendment grants us the freedom of press, then why do we need permission of the tyrannical billionaires in control of cable channels, books, magazines, radio stations, billboards, TV stations,...

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... and I believe journalists are well aware of this. A quote also found in Gunter’s book supports these ideas: “News tells ‘stories’ about events thus embracing a notion of ‘performance’” (Morin, 1976) (Gunter 38). Most importantly, we need honest, accurate, ethical, and independent journalists because reliability and the factualness of news is not often or not always considered or even thought about by a handful of viewers. If the audience has become immune to accepting the first piece of news thrown in their faces, then the only ones that will actually have the power to pick out the truth are journalists. It is their duty.

Works Cited

Gunter, B. (1997). Measuring bias on television. United Kingdom: John Libbey Media.

Kallen, S.A. (2004). At issue: Media bias. Greenhaven Press.

Niven, D. (2002). Tilt? The search for media bias. Connecticut: Praeger Press.
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