In the 1980’s Bell Systems held a monopoly on telephone service. The government stepped in and forced AT&T the parent company to break up the monopoly. In 1984 a settlement was reached for the creation of several regional Bell companies. These regional companies would be vastly different from the smaller companies that AT&T had purchased to create this monopoly. The history of telecommunications monopolies has become important over the past few years as we begin to see the rise of an oligopoly. The media that we consume, the representations they convey, and the methods used to disseminate to the masses are owned by a select few. You could even go as far as saying they are the invisible hand that controls this puppet called media.
One of the few companies that is a part of this group of “content controllers” is Comcast. Comcast in 2011 attained the majority share in NBCUniversal. This combined the larger cable provider and ISP with one of the biggest content producers. This enabled Comcast to control all facets of television from production to delivery. This is not the only acquisition that has occurred over the past few years but one of the largest. Another is Comcasts pending merger with Time Warner. Time Warner, which is “the world’s second largest entertainment conglomerate”. Most people are against this because they will have more control over media and the landscape.
Media ownership can have a huge impact on society. It can alter society as a whole. One major example is the media coverage of the occupy movement that swept across America. It came as a beacon of hope that was supposed to cause “a radical rethinking and restructuring of government, power, and wealth in the United States” (Vitchers). The only problem is that the movement did not change the society as much as some had hoped. In fact most of the coverage on the occupy movement was on the brutality that the protesters suffered at the hands of the authority because they were a problem. The protesters were not loitering to change business policy but causing turmoil for locals as reported by the media. This has a lot to do with media ownership because the companies that were being protested against were the ones that were “filming” the protest. This creates a conflict of interest the rest of society that saw this was getting a biased view of this movement and it eventually fizzled out. This has happened not only in America but even when Egypt killed the internet before elections. Media is supposed to give an unadulterated look at society and the ideas that flow from it, but all to often there is an undertone, an agenda, that is put forth by those delivering the content.
Occupy Wall Street: The revolution will not be televised– Tracey Vitchers
Why doesn’t the news follow up the claims by society about the corruption?
Specifically, media ownership can have an impact on a select group in society. Women have often been portrayed as a secondary player in the male dominated world. They are not only used as objects through media, but their voice is rarely heard. Women are often seen as just a small market. Therefore they are usually pushed to small markets and not given a shot at the big screen. This creates an endless cycle that put women in a demoralizing position as it pertains to media ownership. Real Grrl provides a way for women to have complete grasp on the media they create and the image they are trying to convey. They give a way for young girls to showcase their ideas.
Just like Real Grrl there are alternative media sources that try to parallel the mainstream media. One of the most widely known is Anonymous. They are a hacktivist group that provides knowledge on issues that involve censorship, security, and governments. They have exposed news about SOPA, NSA, and Edward Snowden. The mainstream news is censored by large corporations such as News Corp. and governments. To get their point across they use nonviolent operations to express their ideas. Their primary form of attack is through Taking over websites or as far as exposing classified data. When the wikileaks debacle occurred that exposed government battle plans the mainstream media. Their primary distribution medium is through the internet. Because of their loose heirarchy system they can be hard to define, but their primary focus is to expose what mainstream media will not.
In conclusion the mainstream media and ownership of that media belong to a select few. Most people do not realize how small their choice of content really is. Even though you may feel like you have a bunch of choices of television channels, magazines, radio and even internet access, all of these are controlled by a group of conglomerates that use different programming to push the same agenda. Before the internet there was really no medium for a single individual to reach the masses because ownership was tightly controlled. As the 21st century continues media and the ownership will become varied because of sites like WordPress and Youtube. With these tools you can begin to dispel the stereotypes and breakdown the control of the media you come into contact with.