Modern media has various roles to play in the society. The classical elites suggest that media’s role is to educate, inform entertain and act as a watchdog of the society as the fourth estate. However, when performing such responsibilities, media house are bound to certain legislation and regulations. These regulations vary from media house styles to government censorship and regulations. Thus, media houses have to choose between public interest and the interests of the corporate elites. Unfortunately, most private media abandon some of their responsibilities to the society or public providing audience to their content and act as propaganda tool of the corporate elites in order to maximize their profits through increased sales because of the extensive publicity from these media. In return, the corporate elites reward media to overlook some of their roles and attempt to influence its audience as demanded by corporate elites. Through media agenda setting, media pay attention to some issues and ignore others in a censorship process or through some filters, which in some ways influence public opinion with some bias. Private media and formal media censorship play a major role in promotion of propaganda systems favoring the interests of the corporate elites rather than public interests. Indeed, this essay will prove that privately owned media serves in the interest of the corporate elite as presented by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their book “Manufacturing Consent: the political economy of the mass media” as well as other experts and authors in this subject.
Privately owned media serve to the interest of the corporate elites and the ruling class. The media house stylebook proves this. This closely resembles what Chomsky and Herman Chomsky refer to as the five filters used by media owners. They suggest that these filters influence the censorship of the contents that mass medium may disseminate. The first filter is the size and ownership. They suggest that other people with lower capital are restricted from investing into the media industry. Only few and wealthy are able to invest in the media industry. These few set up programs in a manner that they reap maximum profit without necessarily observing media’s roles to the society. This reduces the level of competition, which may result into challenging power and control of what news and program types that the audience will get. This is very true because currently, there about only six giant companies that own most of the media in America. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set up ownership legislations that led to decline of most media commercial media stations. Since 1995, there has been a sharp decline in number of ownership of commercial TV stations. This was due to increased cost of production especially from high government taxation and high costs of production facilities. In the US, there are only three major media owning all of the America’s cable news networks. They are Comcast andTime Warner, which control what other all cable media stations air.
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Similarly, radio too follows the trend. The FCC makes media owners dependent on the government through the issuance of the licenses and policy support. Before granting of the licenses, the government harasses the owners. Thus, the owners to will have to agree in some extend to include government propaganda in production of its content, if not, the license shall be denied. It requires them to meet some standards and level of capital, which only few and rich are able to achieve. Before the telecommunications act of 1996, a media house could only have up to a maximum of 40 radio stations nationally. Currently, one media station owns hundreds of radio stations. This change was after lobbying of citizens in what they termed as denial of democracy. The FCC relaxed on its legislations allowing creation of more station, papers and channels. However, the newly created station converged under several media companies. For example, Clear Channel Inc has approximately 850 radio stations across America and what the radios stations broadcast must be within the stylebook of Clear Channel Inc. Thus, the private media are responsible of propagating the ideas of the corporate owning them across American audience. However, it is important to note that the audience has the power to choose from which owner of media house they will get their information, the fact remains that private mass media propagate on the interests of the corporate elites through ownership and large size. Thus, all stations, televisions, newspapers and media used to disseminate biased news and advertisement in favor of the corporate elites with content designed in a manner that will reap maximum profits and please the owners of the media industry.
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