The process of homogenization of the industrial sectors during the 20th century didn't spare the media sector. In fact, it has become common nowadays to find important industrials in charge of media groups. We have entered the era of new “Press Barons” (Curran, 2011) and the consequence of this oligarchic tendency of democracy applied to media streams is that the message transmitted in the press or radio is not politically or economically neutral (Halimi, 2005).
The sociological analysis of those powerful media corporations appeared with the rise of mass media in the 20th century. Media are omnipresent in our everyday life; therefore it is necessary to understand the impact of such force - the “Fourth Estate” as Edmund Burke famously called it - on individuals’ opinion and their political positioning (Curran, 2011).
In this essay we will try to understand how the concentration of the media power influences the public sphere. In order to be realistic in terms of achieving this objective, we will narrow down our research on French television and written press and analyse its underlying structure. We will see why we can describe French television media as a conglomerate and then explain the effects of its oligopolistic structure on citizens’ perceptions and behaviours.
The majority of French press is held by industrials. Serge Dassault owns Le Figaro, Edouard de Rothschild owns Libération and the Lagardère group owned Le Monde until 2010. Thus, the written press is under the direction of influential businessmen and that all have interests in what is written or said due to its impact on the public sphere and the consumers.
According to the Critical Political economy (CPE), it is n...
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