The mainstream media had a very powerful role during the pandemic as part of the three-step process to disseminate fear and propaganda which consisted of first having the mainstream media selling fear of a “disease”. You then suggest a vaccine as a medication to allay the fear of the terrified and credulous masses. Pfizer’s and all the rest of the pharmaceutical companies’ profits then soar to new heights.
But why and how is the mainstream media so powerful? 90% of American media was owned by about fifty different corporations at the beginning of the 1980s. That percentage fell to less than 24 by 1992 and in recent years that same 90% has been reduced to just six significant conglomerates.
The majority of the big six have holdings in film production cable and broadcast television news sports music and online streaming although there have been numerous mergers and additional layers of external control that make this number imprecise.
Comcast is the largest media company in the world as of 2015. The SEC claims that it generated revenue of close to $69 billion in 2014. It controls nearly all aspects of media production and distribution just like the other conglomerates. In actuality it is the biggest cable provider globally.
Subsidiaries like NBC Universal create the content which is then broadcast on TV and the internet by Xfinity. Comcast which serves more than half of all US broadband customers is another significant internet service provider. Even online streaming giant Hulu is jointly owned by three of the Big Six which are Comcast 21stCentury Fox and the Walt Disney Company.
The Walt Disney Company with reportedly $48 billion in revenue in 2015 is the next-largest conglomerate. It owns stakes in amusement parks film production companies and a variety of television networks including ABC A&E and ESPN. They also own historic businesses like Pixar Marvel Entertainment and the Star Wars franchise’s Lucasfilm.
21st Century Fox a 2013 spinoff of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the third member of the Big Six. It currently generates about $32 billion annually and focuses primarily on television and movies including Fox News Channel which generated almost $800 million in ad revenue in 2014.
Time Warner is the final independent conglomerate with annual sales of about $27 billion. It was the biggest media company in the world in the 1990s. However a failed merger attempt with AOL during the height of the dot-com bubble resulted in a loss of almost $100 billion in 2002. Since that time Time Inc. AOL and Time Warner’s entire cable division have all split off as independent businesses.
Time Warner and Time Warner Cable are the fourth and fifth largest media companies in the world according to Forbes despite the fact that they are no longer connected.
Viacom and CBS are the final two. They each reported revenue of between $14 and $15 billion in 2013. They were once under the control of National Amusements a chain of movie theaters. Despite the fact that they are currently each separately owned National Amusements’ owners own enough stock in each to effectively exercise control.
As of September 2020 the six media giants are ATT CBS Comcast Disney News Corp (the parent company of Fox News) and Viacom.
Some including Time Warner’s former vice chairman Ted Turner have said that the media conglomerates have become sluggish oligopolies and that they stifle innovation.
On 19thDecember 2008 Joel Stein an American journalist for the LA Times had stated:
“I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media Hollywood Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.”
Who are the people who own and control the media outlets or better still who funds them?
Who truly funds the local media?
How much money do they receive? This is a topic which I will be dealing with next.