Media Industries and Ownership

The thought of who is behind the media I consume, has often crossed my mind, but I’d never taken time to really look into it. In this week’s lecture we discovered that the people that own the media are often biased to their own opinions and beliefs. While you may appreciate this on the occasion that you share the same opinion, is what their producing really the truth?

Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corporation and well-known media mogul, is known for having a strong conservative bias. He uses his company to express his own views and influence the public. According to Lidberg (2019), “Murdoch uses journalism to gain commercial advantages. This is done via hiring editors who think like him, meaning that there is no need for explicit instructions regarding content and editorial direction”. These ‘clones’ make it easy for Murdoch to express his biased opinion efficiently. His subjective content has been effective in manipulating many people, often influencing Australian political life. Elections in Australia and the UK have been heavily influenced by the media content Murdoch has published. As he is in charge of 70% of the capital city newspaper circulation in Australia, it gives him the ability to circulate repetitive and ultimately persuasive messages through a range of mediums. The realisation that so much of the media content in Australia is coming from the same ideological opinion, is concerning to say the least. Murdoch has repeatedly stated that “trying to influence people” is his greatest pleasure and according to the influential power he seems to have over politics, I don’t doubt his statement.

iStock Photo 2020, viewed 31 March.

A key opposing voice to Murdoch, the ABC, has also been accused of biased opinion towards the left side of politics. ABC appears to give left man, Phillip Adams, plenty of airtime on the radio with no counter conservative opinion. Holmes, J (2019) states, “given the competition on metro talk radio, it is understandable that ABC management hasn’t tried to counter this mild leftward tilt”. This incident has sparked a reaction especially within the conservative community, as to whether ABC can be trusted due to its neglect to provide equal opportunity for people of opposing political stances.

These two prominent sources of news appear to be accused of producing biased content. I personally get most of my news updates from Twitter, where I have followed numerous different sources including those mentioned above. Researching into who is really in charge of the news I am consuming has made me question if any source is truly free of bias. At this point it appears that an unbiased opinion is difficult to find. I think this could be a real issue if you were only getting your information from one source, as you would potentially only be consuming one side of a story. In my opinion it is best to look at a range of different news sources and form an opinion based on your ideology. Even if you do find certain forms of news to line up with your own views is still important to see the opposing side of the argument.

Bibliography

Lidberg, Johan (2019) ‘The distortion of the Australian Public Sphere: Media ownership concentration in Australia’. AQ: Australian Quarterly, vol. 90, no. 1 (Jan-Mar 2019), pp. 12-20.

Middlemost, R 2020, ‘Media Industries and Ownership’, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 30 March.

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