“Media is the nervous system of democracy” – Jeff Cohen, Outfoxed
Do you know who owns the media you consume?
Suspicion of the media and its power for ideological control are age-old, however an investigation of the owners of modern media provide plausibility that media diversity is declining both internationally and in Australia . As such, the image below displays the owners of private legacy media platforms, and the connections between them.
I decided to make connections of my own and find out who actually owns the media I regularly use. Interestingly, many major corporations own other media platforms, increasing the expanse of their reach. This seems to be a huge problem, because if all the same people own most of the media, where does that leave room for contesting ideologies?
So, why does diversity matter?
If Adolf Hitler loved the spoken word, Donald Trump loves the tweet. Parallels between Hitler’s methods of media manipulation in 1939, and Trump’s own methods have become apparent, questioning the credibility of the modern media, and its potential to act as propaganda. And, as a lot of what the general public knows comes from the media, it can be deduced that the ‘truth’ is often determined by it. But should we be able to trust the media and its reliable, unbiased information? This Media Watch segment explores just how easily unreliable and misleading information can be spread like wildfire.
New Media, New Issues
Modern media suspicions are not simply concerns about the reach and control of the media, but also a general unease about the privacy of our personal information. As explored in the clip below, there is much speculation that social media platforms have been seen to exploit their user’s personal information for monetary gain, track user’s internet browsing. Leading users to question: should I trust social media with my information? And how is it being used? As Adam Mclane states, “We still like to pretend that what we do online belongs to us”. But does “Caveat Emptor” apply, or are social media platforms being generally invasive of their user’s privacy?
It’s easy to think of the media as the Iron Throne, and its “players” as noblemen, vying for complete control; or of Rupert Murdoch as the dark overlord of the media landscape; (as media ownership, regulation and control is an ever-present issue). Attempts to decrease the media’s potential for ideological control are ongoing, although the currently undiverse concentration of both the global and Australian media landscape often allow ideological agendas to seep through. Whilst, the digitisation of media platforms raises anxieties surrounding the privacy and exploitation of personal information. In our digital age, it is best not to naively believe that both legacy and social media will follow Google’s conduct mantra – “Don’t Be Evil”*.
*Which has ironically, now been dropped
Basu, T 2015, ‘New Google Parent Company Drops ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto’ Time, viewed 25 March 2017 <http://time.com/4060575/alphabet-google-dont-be-evil/>
Brandom, R 2016, ‘Lawsuit claims Facebook illegally scanned private messages’ The Verge, viewed 25 March 2017 <http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/19/11712804/facebook-private-message-scanning-privacy-lawsuit>
Brave New Films 2014,Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM exposes Fox News, online video, 22 December, viewed 22 March 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P74oHhU5MDk>
Greenshack Dotinfo 2013, Media Watch: How News Ltd & talk back radio misled Australia on IPCC’s climate change report, online video, 23 September, viewed 22 March 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B7jlWn8U-o&t=320s>
Hungry Beast 2010, Google’s Plan for World Domination | Beast Files, online video, 3 March, viewed 22 March 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfV6RzE30&feature=youtu.be&t=88>