The Dangers Of Conglomeration

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English Composition 1 Paper#4: Persuasion: Draft 2: Nowadays, people never stand still to think about the quality of the information that they absorb. The consuming of daily news has become a very important factor in our everyday lives so that most of us just accept what we read and don t look for anything else. I have time and again found out that there is more to a lot of stories than we would actually deem possible. It is in a way, as an aspiring journalist, important for me to encourage my equals to grasp the situation. I feel that everybody is entitled to hear everything, even though this might be harmful to a company or embarrassing to a government. It is due to this that I am now trying to target other aspiring journalists to cry out against the ever-dominating factor of commercialization of the media. Money is an important issue, I am not denying that we cannot live without it, but the media is slipping more and more into the control of certain groups, thus risking bias and the retention of news. At this time, approximately twelve large conglomerates control the so-called First World media, as stated in several media textbooks (Vivian 24-25). This means that all the newspaper, television, radio and Internet companies that supply news are directly or indirectly linked to one of the previously mentioned conglomerates. This in turn, explains why some news stations for instance, talk more favorably of companies owned by the same conglomerate that owns them. Synergy is the word that is used in the journalism industry to describe the implication of conglomerates in the decision making of that industry. Synergy, means the combined action of a group of people (companies, corporations etc.) to obtain a result which is more positive than if that action would have been performed individually. You hear this word being used more often in the newspaper and magazine industry, whereas previously it was only common in the television and radio industries. People talk about the importance of enticing departments to work together, to attract possible sponsors and to obtain new sources of income through brand extensions. The Insider was a movie, which came out a few years ago, and magically enough it was challenged, if not brutally attacking synergy. What did it imply? CBS didn t give its program 60 Minutes the authorization to air a report on the tobacco industry, because it was too petrified to end up in a liability lawsuit. The argument given for them not airing the program was that it would be too expensive! A similar argument was made at ABC, which apologized, to the Philip Morris Company when faced with a potential ten billion dollar libel claim. Bob Costas, a broadcaster for NBC during the Olympics in China, made a few perfectly reasonable comments on the network about human rights abuse in China. A few days later, an NBC spokesman issued the following statement, referring to China: We wanted to make it clear that we didn t intend to hurt their feelings. (Columbia Journalism Review) What most of the audience wouldn t know, is that General Electrics, NBC s corporate parent, had several business interests in China which it didn t want to hurt at that time. Another great example is that Rupert Murdoch, the great English media tycoon, dropped the BBC channel from his Star satellite news service in China. Why? Because the BBC was openly offensive to the Chinese government, and Murdoch wanted dearly to stay in the Chinese government s white book by doing what he did. These examples are only a few of numerous others. There are a lot of similar examples that we have never had the chance to discover due to the secrecy of corporations. Imagine what we haven t heard of yet. It is too vast to even think of the things that have been withheld from the audiences for the sake of a country or another large corporation. I am not trying to say that there is a conspiracy out there to try to misinform the public for a worldly cause, but certain aspects of the news have changed a lot since the First Amendment was written. Another aspect that is very negative in the modern day media is that there is a lot of discrimination between the stories. This is also indirectly linked to synergy in the way that certain stories are chosen over others based on financial grounds. Ratings, need and satisfaction are a large factor why news stations or newspapers give extra coverage to certain stories. A good example of this is of the reporting of the Columbine School shootings in Colorado two years ago. This event was blown into Humongous proportions, even though similar things had happened in the past. The difference was that never before had something like this happened in a middle-class suburb where the majority of the population was white. It is awkward how factors like this continue to decide what is going to be in the news, since everybody assumes that we are living in a free world where everybody is entitled to news about everything that has happened everywhere, not just in the high-interest areas. In the past, there have already been numerous cases of journalists that published certain articles that they weren t authorized to publish by their editors. Unfortunately, there haven t been a lot of these heroes because not everybody is very willing to jeopardize their careers for the truth. The sad thing is that the few, who actually fought to bring out the truth, lost their jobs and were not able to write with any other newspapers, or even work in the media industry because nobody trusted them anymore. It is unfair that those who actually stick their heads out always get their heads chopped off. What I would therefore like to do is to encourage all the aspiring journalists out there to realize the situation of the industry they are trying to enter, and to comprehend that something must be changed. I am quite sure that a lot of my predecessors also had ideals in their beginning years, and that they all wanted to change journalism in order for a true free press to exist, and that after having obtained a nice salary, they quickly forgot about it. However, I am not out to fight for a true free press. All I want to do is to persuade the next generation of journalists, to be aware of the faults in the journalism world, and to persuade them to adopt an attitude, which will eventually bring change to the problem I have shown. The thing that I want all of these people in question to do, is to write, speak and act out against what is happening to our media. In every article that they are going to write in the near and far future, they must speak the truth and not just a silly distorted version of what other people want to be the truth. Upcoming journalists should also write articles with the sole purpose of informing the consumer, the readers, in order to make them aware that there has to be a change. It seems impossible to ask anybody new at something to try and change the foundations of what they are about to do, but if an increasing number of journalists write about synergy and explain more about it, views will start to change quicker than if nothing were to be done. I also know that journalists fresh out of college are in no position whatsoever for heroics since all their work is at the bottom of a large hierarchical ladder. However, I feel that if a small start such as this were to be made, the commercialization of the mass media will at least be slowed down a little bit. There are still a lot of people who speak out and will continue to speak out against people trying to paint a picture of the media being suppressed by large conglomerates. Above all, the owners of these large conglomerates have adopted a pure and utterly financial attitude towards the management of the media companies that they own. It is due to this that they aren t open to any form of criticism, and that they are more in favor of the increased commercialization of the media because it means an increase of revenues to them. It is logic that people want to earn as much as possible, but in this case I feel that a lot of people will agree with me that synergy can no longer rule our lives to the extent that we don t even realize it as we have been doing up until now. I know that as an aspiring journalist, I do not have a lot of say in an industry that I am still trying to enter. However, if I would not be able to summon up the courage to speak out against that what in my eyes is ruining the media, I would not be worthy of being a journalist. I certainly hope that my fellow colleagues to be will also realize this, and that there will be no shortage of criticism. Having said all this, I also desire that such a challenging task as the one I have set about to persuade all of you out their to be entrepreneurs with you words, written and or spoken, will certainly be rewarding.

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