Role of Media

The Role of Media

In a time with such a multitude of information access points and   extensive diversity of opinions, it can be easy for one to be convinced that the mass media exists, in general, to both question and inform so that every citizens may participate to their full potential in a democracy. A handful of people have rightly questioned this assumption, putting forth hypothesises in stark contrast with such an optimistic opinion. In his famous work Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky postulates that privately owned media subjects its viewers to five filters: ownership, advertising, sourcing, and anti-communism, all in the name of profit. There is little doubt that there are truths to this assumption, however it is important to note that media exists to inform and any deviation from objective reporting can be explained by the pressures of ownership, advertising contributors and audience demands. Because all media sources want to expand their influence, where the funding comes from will dictate both what filters are applied to that media organization and to what extent media content is limited.

Publicly traded corporations are often the most powerful entities in society. When it comes to media, this power is compounded by what we know as the power of the press. With large portions of their revenue coming from shareholder investments, the ownership filter will be the dominant influence in limiting the content of a publicly traded news corporation. Fox news for example is owned and operated by the News Corporation which pulled in $1.417 billion dollars (U.S) from stocks, nearly 95 percent of the company’s net income. (News Corporation) They are also widely criticized for being strongly biased backers of the republican party. As a segment of a corporation   propped up mostly by stockholders, Fox News need not worry about intolerances to their biased reporting seeing as viewership, and therefore advertising, are far less significant factors than pleasing...