Who ‘owns’ and/or ‘controls’ the media you use to access your ‘news’?
Why does this matter?
Whoever owns the media owns it all. And by “all” I mean politics, power and wealth. Democracy is dictated and arguably inhibited by the mass media. John Swinton the former managing editor for the New York Times said, “The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify…Our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” It is interesting to note in recent politics in America, the media influenced the opinions of the people, corporations such as CNN, consequently dubbed the “Clinton News Network” demonised Trump at every turn, whereas Fox News delivered a less biased source of news and hence its credibility rating is higher.
The media in Australia is predominantly owned by billionaires; Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart and Bruce Gordon for example own news corporations or have shares in news and media outlets. It is known that Rupert Murdoch influences politics as he owns two thirds of the newspapers in Australia as well as having control of satellites which broadcast internationally. His power is extensive as Sasha Abramsky, a journalist said that Murdoch “has-and uses- the power to make British politicians, and to break them unless they toe the line.” Judging from this he assuredly has an effect on the news in Australia. Murdoch himself said after being asked what is his greatest pleasure ; “…trying to influence people.” This begs the question as to whether people’s opinions and outlooks would be different if the media only conveyed raw and un-adulterated facts instead of such facts shrouded in the opinion of someone else.
According to an article from The Conversation, Rupert Murdoch’s moods and beliefs are a factor of influence in our elections. Politicians endeavour for his approval in the hope his headlines don’t say “KICK THIS MOB OUT”(Daily Telegraph, 2013). To exemplify the (would corruption be a strong word?) politics behind the politics, Murdoch sought after the Rudd administration for endangering his Foxtel TV operations by building the National Broadband Network; Murdoch henceforth , according to Paul Sheehan from the Sun Herald, wants to destroy Labor. However this may or may not be true as if his main motivation was for commercial success he would’ve cancelled The Australian, London’s The Times and the New York Post a while ago.
It is questionable whether our news sources are credible due to the apparent agendas of those who own them and with this, is our democracy inhibited by the billionaire bandits that broadcast? Truth is stranger than fiction.
The above image shows a galaxy; the Milky Way. Within it we see a location symbol on the outskirts of one of our galaxy’s spirals. This is where we’re located in our vast galaxy. Our microscopic existence is represented by the magnitude of the image showing the enormity of the galaxy we inhabit. Earth isn’t shown in this image, it’s only suggested with the Google Maps location symbol.
This image seems simple as its a very basic composition showing the Milky Way with the addition of the red location pointer. However, as ‘a picture speaks a thousand words,’ this image represents the vastness of the universe and the insignificance of mankind. Therefore, this image is deemed complex in its abstract meaning although the image itself appears simple.
Central to the image is the galaxy, its bright blue spirals made up of billions of stars and cosmic energy. In the centre of the galaxy is a bright cluster of stars; so close together they look like a giant orb suspended in infinite space. The darkness surrounding the galaxy shows a great contrast between light and dark and perhaps symbolises our existence to be entangled in the ever-expanding possibility of infinity. As Eden Philpott eloquently puts it, “The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper,” each day our understanding of the universe becomes better and better, since the dawn of time, and yet, we still know so little. Although the most complex amalgamation of atoms sits on our shoulders, we still consider the idea of the universe as the greatest mystery.
From what is represented; that we are essentially a speck of dust inhabiting a tiny rock (comparatively speaking) orbiting a star amongst billions of others which form one of the many galaxies in the observable universe, we can deduce that the image means a lot more than simply our insignificant existence in the scheme of things. As Henry David Thoreau one said ; “The universe is wider than our thoughts of it,” this string of words most definitely encapsulates the symbolism of this image and along with it the infinite amount of interpretations and explanations. Could it mean that our existence is amongst the unfathomable vastness of the universe and the astounding chance that we came into being out of pure nothingness? Or could it mean that if we are so small and part of one galaxy of many, is there a chance of life somewhere else in the universe?
What are the current issue involving people and their use of the media?
An issue that David Gauntlett discusses in his article “Ten Things Wrong With The ‘Effects Model’” is in chapter 1 where he discusses violence in society and how media has or hasn’t affected crime and violence in young offenders.
One might think that excessive interaction with the media in this day and age would lead to violent behaviour particular in young people, however, it is quite the contrary. According to a study carried out by Hagell & Newburn (1994) they found that compared to 500 ‘ordinary’ school children of the same age that the young offenders engaged less in television and had less access to it. They also found that they had less interest in violent programs and seemed less interested.
However, a more recent study which explores video games shows that violence and aggression is linked and that people who engage in violent games are likely to behave aggressively. “Violent Video Games Are Linked to Aggression, Study Says” by Alexandra Sifferlin for TIME Health discusses that although there is little evidence connecting aggression with games, it seems that “lots of exposure over time” can cause aggression particularly in kids; and evidence for this is the contrasting behaviours in the kids who play these games and the kids who do.
However, it seems like conjecture to make a conclusion based on loose observations. “Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than to decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence” task force chair Mark Appelbaum (PhD) yet the study of linking violent games with aggression is the most studied hypothesis in the field.
How does (if it does) the history of media audience research help us make sense of this?
Referring back to David Gauntlett’s article “Ten Things Wrong With The ‘Effects Model’” he outlines many flaws in the research undertaken to discuss violence linked with the use of the media. In doing so, he discusses that researchers take the wrong approach to studying the effects of mass media. Gauntlett suggests that to explain violence in society researchers should investigate identity, background, character etc. however the media effects approach starts with the media itself and then “trying to lasso connections from there.”
The history of media research helps us make sense of this by showing us how difficult it is to pin point how the media effects individuals.
My name is Laurence Karacsony and I study a Bachelors of Economics and Finance/ Communication and Media Studies. I hope this course can channel me into a career involving film production and/or direction on a creative and technical level.
I hope to learn the skills that can equip me to be able to navigate the growing universe of social media, entertainment and information. Considering how much information gets uploaded to the world wide web of data sharing, a unfathomable amount to say the least, the chances of causing the slightest ripple in our evolving way of thinking is an aspiration that would be ground breaking and mind blowing to achieve.
I’m also skilled at digression.