For a vast majority of the people living in the west, the media has taken place of real education. In fact, many people think the media is educational, and they are quick to believe everything it tells them because they are convinced that the journalists have integrity. They are told that the media is responsible enterprise. Many people worldwide rely heavily upon the media as their main source of information and knowledge.
The media is a politically run and motivated entity. As such, it should be carefully interpreted only in this mind frame, and it certainly should be not considered as a substitute for a real education. Ben A. Bagdikian has first-hand knowledge about the depth of power possessed by the media. A Pulitzer prize winning journalist and the former dean of graduate school of journalism at the university of California in Berkely, he states, “Americans like most people get images of the world from their newspapers, magazines, radio, television, books, and movies.” The media has the power to change and manipulate the inner briefs, moral communication, and personal opinions of the public at large. What is especially important for the public to recognise is that the media is no different than any other corporation or business, and as such, it has economic interests at the forefront.
Bagdikian continues, “Authorities have always recognised that to control the public, they must control the public, they must control information. The initial possessor of news and ideas has potential power – the power to dispose or conceal, to announce some parts and not others, to hold back until opportunistic moments, to predetermine the interpretation of what is revealed.” Therefore people who listen to the media as a viable information resource, gather information slowly and sporadically and do so with the risk of reviewing fragmented, which may not make sense even if what is projected is true. And worse it communicates with a lot of rhetoric that can possibly be false.
The most alarming revolution Bagdikian divulged ownership of the big media companies is now controlling and managed by a small elite group. Where once fifty national and multinational corporations ran the majority media productions by 1983, it had been whittled down to only firms in action in impact of these twenty. Although there are hundreds and thousands of similar less powerful firms in nearly non-existents. For example, although there are 3000 publishers in the United States, only five of them generate the majority of income.
In 1993, there were only seven corporations who managed the majority of national media to the number used to be twenty. In periodical circulation, the yearly income goes to two firms. Whereas it used to go to twenty. And in book publishing, what used to go to eleven now goes to only five.
As for television and the movie makers, their status remains unchanged with three television networks and for movie production studio. Bagadikian also said “The United States has on impressive array mass communication. There are 1700 daily newspapers, 11,000 magazines, 9000 radio and 1000 television stations, 2500 book publishers and 7 movie studios. He explains that if every one of these had different owners then there might be around 2500 individual corporations able to represent a wide variety of media production. But he confirms that this is not the case. Only fifty corporations represent the American Media.
Based on these statistics, this is possible that the western public, if they remain native to the media, could be slowly and rhythmically brain washed. It is known that media has conveniently told partial truths and has the power to manipulate news. It certainly can direct attention away from important issues to what it prefers to project. It also can draw attention away from something perhaps more important only to fill with something trivial. Worse it can omit together whatever is of great importance. An example of the media’s self interest was seen back in 1996 when Fred Fredly had a moral obligation to resign as acting president of CBS news because the network would not allow the report initially Senate hearing about the Vietnam war. Instead, the authorities told friendly that he had and show team should run a fifth daytime returned of the ‘I Love Lucy’ show. They warned him that one delayed episode of the Lucy show would not be approved by shareholders. They were convinced that to delay such a popular show would create a great financial loss. The company’s stockholders would be clearly upset and that was all that had to be said.
This shows media’s mentality and how it makes decisions about what takes priority and what does not.