There is power and prestige in owning and managing media outlets that shape public opinion. Conservative and Liberal broadcasters are contently contradicting each other, often with unprecedented vitriol. These sustained disagreements are clear evidence that one or, more likely, both are at best shading and at worst lying in their reporting. This loss of trust has been partially responsible for the loss of viewership across all platforms, CNN being the best example.
There has been a consolidation of media titans over the last 10 years. What you may not know is that it is continuing. A recent article from CNBC looks out to the future of further mergers. Below are some quick points to consider when listening to the national news (regardless of what platform you choose).
From News Reporting to News Making
The media is no longer made up of unbiased “reporters”. They have become news and opinion “makers”. The problem, beyond the obvious, is that the control of information is being consolidated into a smaller and smaller number of key corporate leaders. As they become more dominant, government policy is not only framed through the bias view of the media, it is being formed by those same business leaders.
Who Owns What
Below is a sampling of the largest media outlets in America and their owners.
- National Amusements – Viacom – the owner of CBS News
- News Corporation – the owner of New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Murdoch’s own 39% share.
- Comcast – the owner of NBC News and MSNBC
- The Murdoch Family – the owner of Fox News
- AT&T – Time Warner – the owner of CNN News
- Disney – the owner of ABC and ESPN
Don’t Miss This !
From the list above and the media bias chart to follow, News Corp and Fox News are currently the only major outlets for conservative-based news reporting in the country. What’s most concerning, and not widely known, is that the heir to the Fox News fortune is James Murdoch. While his parents are staunch supporters of conservative Republicans, James invested $20 million supporting Democrats, including Joe Biden, during the last election cycle. Further, in late 2020 he resigned from the board of News Corp due to differences of opinion over climate change and other conservative issues they were promoting. Upon the passing of Rupert Murdock (90 years old), James and his liberal sisters will have ultimate control over Fox News.
With the collapse of print media (newspapers and magazines), CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN are in the hands of four corporate media giants. This would certainly be a reasonable balance of independent news coverage if it were not for the significant increase in bias since the days of Walter Cronkite, the “most trusted man in America“. Today, the US ranks as one of the lowest countries in the world in terms of its trust in the media (29%)… and for good reason.
Media Bias Chart and Consolidator
This link is a chart listing the major news outlets in the country and their leanings toward more liberal or conservative reporting. It also offers a measure of the accuracy of coverage, something which has come under more and more scrutiny. Finally, to help us keep perspective, this news consolidator provides reporting on current events, providing news “From the Center”, and “From the Left” and “From the Right”.
A list of the most influential Social Media Platforms
This chart lists the largest social networks in the world as of July of 2021. The first seven are listed below along with their parent companies or CEO. To put things in perspective, Jack Dorsey’s media platform, Twitter, is a fraction of the size of those networks listed below. Also of note is that Google falls outside the list as it is considered a search engine rather than a social media platform. However, Google controls much of the search engine market and its algorithms largely determine what we see on the internet itself. Consider that a recent study found that half of all Americans get their news on social media. Finally, consider the influence Mark Zuckerberg and China have on monitoring, filtering, and shaping public opinion.
- Facebook and Facebook Messenger – Mark Zukerberg, CEO
- YouTube – Susan Wojcicki, CEO
- WatsApp – Facebook, Mark Zukerberg, CEO
- Instagram – Facebook, Mark Zukerberg, CEO
- WeChat – Tencent, a Chinese company run by Ma Huateng.
- TikTok – BiteDance, a Chinese company run by Liang Rubo.
As I have said before, we, as Biblical Christians need to be aware of how the media both creates and shapes the news we see every day. Our faith (Romans 10:17), trust (Proverbs 3:5), hope (Jer. 29:11), and our joy (Phil. 4:4), need to be in the Lord. We are not citizens of this earth, but Heaven (Phil. 3:20).
Jeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org