Vast media empires have formed where competition and local markets, reporters and stations on television and radio, affiliate networks, have changed. Those local markets aren’t competitive and the gap between the market share is as extreme as the one-sided programming on the few networks that do still exist.
What has occurred to the local broadcasting network affiliates? They still exist in large part but are controlled by two competing economic- political philosophies. What has apparently occurred is conglomeration and a concentration of ownership of the actual local media outlets (network affiliates) by a small number of large media corporations.
This conglomeration has led to fewer voices, fewer stories investigated. When an event occurs the four or five major networks simply “report” similar stories and do little investigative reporting. When the NYC subway flooded recently, networks got the information from posts on the national weather services’ chat board. If the story is big they send reporters to read the story from the scene. If the story is really big maybe they send an anchor to read the teleprompter from the affected area or place of interest. The news reporter has become the news reader. The news anchor simply a face-man or face-woman, a public relations spokesperson for the capitalist interests that profit the institutions of politics, business and media.
For this to have happened, attitudes and roles within the media had to have changed 180 degrees from the time of Edward R. Murrow. Reporting the story has been paramount. Being correct crucial, being first also important but always secondary to accuracy. News media outlets no longer having the luxury of controlling information’s speed of release through the Associated and United Press wire services, for about the last twenty years breaking news held by a station manager or an editor is yesterday’s news or old dated news in about 5 minutes as secondary news and opinion reporters re-tweet and e-mail and post the story across the internet in mere moments.
Ted Koppel commented that a story he did in Viet-Nam would be edited and broadcast for the world to see usually four days later. Today news breaks the very hour sometimes within minutes, of the actual occurrence. 911 changed the world in that everyone suddenly realized large breaking news events were fluid. The world watched the story unfold as one connected unit the lag time from event to news consumer was non-existent now. Never would news be held for days to break the story at optimal time for the ratings and advertisers benefit. Media changed with the times to satisfy their clients though, not the citizens but the advertisers that is.
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, cash is still king. Media corporations perpetuate a smarminess that is actually a cloak for the eyes of the unwitting masses, the eighty-percent of society who accepts the bias and believes the media to be a somewhat honest broker of news and information. The reality many believe is a darker proposition. As one large institution is indeed wary of criticism toward another. The symbiosis of a host lending parasites the very life blood they need to survive, i.e. the weekly story and the occasional larger scoop. Indeed the institutions of government and large corporations have allied their continued interests with the third leg of the table, the institution media.
Advertising dollars or revenue today comes mostly from political advertisements. Political advertising dollars have indeed surpassed product advertising dollars. This means the new additional cost of government is now the truth. In as much as the political party and individual candidates paying for the advertisements lend both content to the broadcasts and lucre to the stations bottom-lines, criticisms of either one’s positions or platforms are deeply discouraged. The actual reporting and investigative journalist is an expense on a balance sheet rather than the coveted purveyor of the pure un-adulterated information we used to think of as the “news.” The tone, candor and opinion all are paramount. The framework under which stories are reported and the corresponding acceptable language and discourse about issues and stories is ever prevalent across the spectrum of mainstream news media.
As we have fewer companies controlling the institution media, we have less truth. I won’t say the truth has been murdered, as the overtaking of our media is the selling out of that institutions underlying redeeming quality…morality and while there is nothing to be gained from the same old same old, the status quo, for the majority of us, those in those good paying managerial media corporation jobs and the broadcasters themselves (newsreaders) earn exponentially more money than in previous decades of history. So while the truth may not be dead, he took an extended vacation and won’t come back until his friends integrity and morality decide to travel with…