Who Really Benefits, the Media owners or the Public

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Since the beginning of the media, their job has been viewed as gathering, sorting and relaying information to the public. In other words, the primacy of the press involves gathering facts on behalf of the nation, consolidating it in a manner that is consumable and feeding it to the public in a manner that is most attractive. However, in the modern century, it is difficult for the media to fulfill its mandate and to satisfy consumer needs when aspects of power over what the owners can feed to the audience have begun to be ingrained. As Gourevitch, Benett, Curran, &Woollacott asserted, it has become problematic for the current media to circulate messages that are entirely free of whims and arm-twisting of the owners or principal shareholders in the companies (13). This paper is going to primarily discuss how the media houses are affected by the interests of owners and its effect on the consumers of the information generated by the media.

When one enters media business, what is expected of him is to keep watch over the business side of it and not, perhaps, to get so much involved in what the media should cover or not. Contrary to this expectation, most media owners have a whole package of interests in their business. Of course, there are some who venture into the company with the primary benefit of pushing their entrepreneurial agenda forward; but most of them in the current time, venture with an avalanche of interests. Close observation confirms that most moneyed people think that by getting into the media business, they will popularize themselves in pursuit of building business empires or meet their political ambitions. Such positioning helps them to acquire power or influence over masses of people. What the result will be is that they will hold the media they own hostage regarding serving the public interest in that they will no longer serve the intended purpose. The preceding follows because of the employees of the media company, just like other employees of other companies work for the best interest of their principals to maximize their returns and also to safeguard their jobs. In his view, Rappaport puts it that most people view workers of companies as agents for maximizing shareholders value and it is now regarded to be politically correct (Rappaport xiii). This way, the media employees can even invent parodies of conventional practices to please their principals at the expense of consumer (public) interest.

One of the areas that media owners tend to advance their agenda is political. While people believe that people should be allowed to choose their political sides and form their views based on individuals’ intrinsic impetus, media owners tend to draw the masses they command to their side of reasoning regarding politics. In so many cases, their agents invite the candidates they prefer and interview them in a first friendly manner. The preceding has been advanced to a level where they declare them fit for whatever positions they are vying to lure the public. From a democratic point of view, one cannot choose the best media house for the supply of information based on the political stance of the owner. Similarly, the media owner is not supposed to hoodwink the public to incline towards some political side whatsoever. Wherever the consensus is built between the political candidate and the public or the media owner is where the political perception should be pitched. In a broader sense, what should determine the political side to rest on is defined by a personal impetus as regards whoever that is in the race.

How then can we perceive the media owner’s attempt to arm-twist the listeners or the viewers to derail them from their preferred choices to his choice? How can we describe his mannerism based on this? The answer is clear. In his book titled poor democracy: communication of politics in dubious times, Rich Media describes this as media’s attempts to deprive the world of justice (599). He asserts that media houses regard the provision of information to the public, to meet their very acute interest, as secondary and private while they consider infusing their political ideologies into the beliefs of their customers as primary. In some cases, the media houses are whammed to run advertisements promoting their political candidates of choice, in a manner that it appears to be a cheap publicity deal. The intention turns from popularizing a political candidate to spreading propaganda regarding him/ her. The preceding is, to a great extent, interpretable as a hoodwink that is against the interest of the public.

Looking at the manner in which media houses operate, one can be forgiven for thinking that even in advertisements, owners’ businesses are aired every now and again. The preceding happens when the owner or the principal shareholder of the media company owns some other company producing other goods. No one denies that every business is equally entitled to be advertised and be brought to public notice. According to Calder and Malthouse, media houses should pass advertisements to the consumers to increase their experience with products being publicized in the desired way (3). This will not only inform the consumers of the very new products in the market but also help them make informed decisions as pertains consumerism. Most time, media gravitates to the dictates of the companies related to the media house regarding control and thus denying the public the freedom of choice and experience with other products. By concentrating on the outcomes of their choice to meet their pre-set interest, the media is focused on venerating the owners who could be possessing the potential to whim the media houses. This has extended to making the primacy of advertising by the companies to be dictated for some defined terminal.

In retrospect, media also tend to advance the interest of their principals in coverage of incidences of crimes by media houses. We have experienced, on numerous occasions, media circumvent criminal occurrences that tend to involve their principals. The result denies the public the right to information about what they could also be interested to know. In the world over, such incidences have been witnessed especially those related to sexual assault. Sometimes the media owners can be so nationalistic as to deny their media from reporting crimes committed in their countries by either police or other government officials. The preceding is rampant in countries characterized by tendencies to assault minorities. The world is interspersed with criminal offenses that mostly go unreported because of numerous reasons including the inclination to whatever the media principals wish. To be more specific, governments tend to whim the media corporations under them in a manner that they do not report what happens but instead report what the government wants. In the end, the public is thus denied the right to information as pertains to the state of their country. In this case, the government behaves as the principal and its media corporation works in the best interest of it.

Considering all the above scenarios, it becomes clear that the media in the current era gravitates much to what their principals wish and maintain an extensive range of the public interest. Media is therefore considered to be a business focused on doing anything so long as it survives in industry. Contrary to public expectations, media employees venerate their principals to remain in office. The veneration has diverted the primacy of the media from serving the public interest to serving the desires and demands of their principal.

Works Cited

Bobby Calder, Edward Mathouse. Managing Media and Advertising Change with Integrated Marketing. Journal of Advertising Research JAR45(4) 05-042 1/6 01/24/06 7:37 am, 2005.

Media, Rich. Poor democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Michael Gurevitch, Tony Benett, James Curran, & Janet Woollacott. Culture, Society and the Media. London: Routledge, 1982.

Rappaport, Alfred. Creating Shareholder Value. New York: The Free Press, 1986.

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