What we can learn from examining today’s media is that everything that is shown to us is inherently the same and there is a reason for it. If you ever watched a rerun on one channel and wondered why the same episode plays on another channel directly after it because media is owned by one common interest. Media has consolidated from being owned by 50 or more companies back in 1983 to two handfuls by 2014. “Six media giants now control a staggering 90% of what we watch, listen or read.”(1) This gives us the consumer the illusion of choice; we don’t actually have the free will in what media we would like to partake in, but everything is predetermined for us by a handful of corporations. “More than 230 media executives control the information diet of more than 277 Americans.” (2)
“These six media giants include General Electric, Viacom, News Corp, Disney, Time Warner, and CBS who control 70% of your television cable.” (3) These corporations have a monopoly on the media influence; they have control from everything from small network sitcoms to large film productions. Everything from products to character profiles are closely designed in order to better draw the viewer into media vice grips. As a viewer we are not able to determine the truth from what we see because 90% of the news we receive is controlled by these same six companies. As a consumer we are not given an objective view because what is shown to us is sugar coated information that puts these corporations in favorable light.
Women and minorities in the media it easily determined that women of color usually are type cast playing into stereotypical roles. This can be in the plethora of Tyler Perry movies. The main character Madea is a stereotypical Mammy; a term used for female slaves that worked in the home from the early 1800’s to the 1950’s. “These caricatures included a woman who was overweight, dark skinned, undesirable, and subservient to whites.” (4) The widespread success of these movies has greatly affected the perception of black women and minorities. What we get with these films is a portrayal of African Americans as irate, loud, promiscuous, and uneducated.
Sources outside the mainstream that can be examined are publications such as The Los Angeles Sentinel and the Chicago Defender. “The Sentinel is the biggest and oldest black newspaper in the LA area.”(5) The Defender a weekly publication, used to be the only daily black newspaper in the country.”(6) What we get with these media forms is an objective view on issues not only concerning African Americans but minorities that are not given a fair portrayal in the mainstream media outlets.” (7) Many issues concerning people of color that examined in media often times are not relevant and so publications such as these promote the influence of America’s black communities” (8)
So in general there is an escape from the grasp of the six corporations that control the media. Outlets are still available and it is up to the consumer to determine if they want to venture outside the realm of media that is predesigned for us. Films, sitcoms, and advertising are determined to enslave us to conform, but as the audience we are the ones that have the power to either participate or reject the monopolies.