Six huge corporations own media in this country. And they want more. In 2007, Kevin Martin, the head of the FCC and the stooge for the major corporations and their representatives, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, decided that despite huge consolidation of media already, he would allow a corporation that already owned the principal television station in a major market to also own the top newspaper. These giant media companies wanted to move to the next level. They want to own not only the most profitable media companies, they want to control the entire message that reaches the public.
These are the corporations that want to control the news and commentary that reaches you and your family. Despite legislation passed in the Senate in 2008, the House of Representatives must still act and the President sign the bill that will prevent this from happening. But that is not all. Because these companies are already so large, they must be broken up in order to make the marketplace more competitive and make the distribution of news and information a fairer and a more accurate system. Not one controlled by a small handful of wealthy media owners.
Here they are:
A $183 billion corporation, GE owns the NBC and Telemundo over-the-air television networks, the ION Network (joint), MSNBC Cable network, CNBC, the Weather Channel, Global Networks, A&E, History and Biography channels (joint) Oxygen, USA Networks, Bravo and the Sci-Fi Channel. NBC Universal owns 46 television stations and affiliates and Universal Pictures. It owns the NBC Universal Entertainment Group, a content provider for NBC News, the Today Show, Meet the Press, MSNBC, CNBC and others . General Electric Corporation also owns manufacturing operations in the aircraft, military, transportation and appliance industries as well as large financial holdings. It owns numerous Internet sites, including NBC.com, CNBC.com, hulu.com (joint), ESPN.com and numerous others. GE was the sponsor of GE Theater which featured Ronald Reagan and helped him form the major part of his conservative political philosophy. As part of his job, Reagan traveled the country speaking to GE employees and others about free enterprise and issues of concern to General Electric, at that time considered the most conservative large company in the United States.
A $38 billion company, Disney is generally known for creative entertainment products for families and particularly animated entertainment for children. Walt Disney was known in his creative life as a man dedicated to creating wondrous films and television programming for children. In his private, political inclinations, he was conservative. The Disney Corporation continues in that tradition. They own the ABC Television Network, ESPN, and own or jointly own Lifetime, A&E, SOAPnet the History Channel, the Biography Channel and the Disney Channel. Through their majority interest in Citadel Broadcasting they own 277 radio stations. They own Walt Disney Pictures, including animation and Disney Toon Studios, Touchstone pictures, Miramax Films, Pixar Animation Studios, Buena Vista International including Buena Vista Home Entertainment Group and Disney Theatrical Group. They own Disney Music Group and Disney Publishing, which has 16 separate publisher titles.(publishing companies.) It owns 32 separate Internet web sites including ABCNews.com, Disney.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, NASCAR.com, biography.com and historychannel.com among others. It also owns Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resorts (Fl), other Disney resorts and cruises and Disney products including the Baby Einstein and Muppet brands.
News Corp. is a $33 billion media conglomerate owned by Australian-turned-American Rupert Murdoch. In the United States, News Corp. owns Fox Broadcasting, MyNetworkTV, and 27 television stations. It owns the Fox Cable News Channel, Fox Sports, Movie and Business Channels. It owns FX Channel, SPEED Channel, Soccer Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Big Ten Network and Premier Media Group. It owns Fox Television Studios, Fox Home Entertainment, and 20th Century Fox Television, and other entertainment programming. It owns 120 satellite channels around the world. It owns more than 150 newspapers around the world including, in the United States, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, the Dow Jones Newswire, BARRONS, THE WEEKLY STANDARD, THE NEW YORK POST and Ottoway regional newspapers. They own Harper, Collins book publishers. In film, it owns Fox Film Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Films and television, as well as all their international operations and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Online holdings include, MySpace.com, Scout.com, FoxNews.com, Foxsports.com, hulu.com (joint), Ign.com, WSJ.com, dowjones. com and many others for all aspects of their media coverage. It owns outdoor advertising company, News Outdoor. Rupert Murdoch politically is an arch conservative, having begun the Fox News Channel as an ultra-conservative propaganda network. He began by hiring Roger Ailes, the head of the Republican Party. They acquired or developed Neoconservative commentators often inappropriately cast as “newsmen,” like former gossip columnist Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and a severely disturbed commentator, Glenn Beck, who continues to be cynically exploited by Murdoch and Fox News despite the fact that he is seriously neurotic and in need of treatment. At last count, he had lost 56 sponsors who watched his program and agreed that he should receive treatment before he causes harm to himself or others.
Time Warner at $29.9 billion is the largest pure media conglomerate in the world. In television, it owns CNN, CW (joint), HBO, Cinemax, the Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, TruTV, and TCM. They own at least a dozen television stations, and numerous production and programming faciliities. It owns 150 magazines, including Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. It owns the AOL online network and all related facilities, and more than 40 other online holdings including MapQuest, Truveo, PGA.com, Time.com, and TMZ.com. They own Time-Life Books, D. C. Comics and Mad Magazine. Subsidiary Warner Bros. Entertainment Group owns Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, Warner Premiere, other film producers and distribution of films in 142 foreign locations.
VIACOM is a $14.6 billion media company that owns MTV, MTV2, Nicelodeon, Nick-at-Nite, TV Land, VH1, Spike TV, CMT: Country Music Television, Comedy Central, Palladia, MTV U, LOGO, MTV World, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Comedy, BET, BET Jazz, BET Gospel, BET Hip Hop, Nick Jr., MTV Tr3s, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, VH1 Pure Country. They own a variety of program content producers including that for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. In radio they own MTV Radio, BET Radio, and Imagine Radio Ltd. VIACOM owns Paramount Pictures, including Dreamworks, Paramount Classic films, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Home Entertainment. They own Shockwave.com, BET.com, Nickelodeon.com and over 30 online properties. VIACOM is 70% owned by the Sumner Redstone Family, which also owns a 70% stake in CBS. Redstone was a supporter of George W. Bush.
CBS is a versatile media conglomerate with $14 billion in sales and participation in virtually every area of communications. They own CBS broadcasting and CW Network (joint.) They own various cable properties, like the CBS College Sports Network, Smithsonian Network, Showtime and all affiliations, plus programming for 60 Minutes, CBS news and entertainment programs, Face the Nation, and the annual NCAA Basketball tournament among many other sports and entertainment venues. CBS owns 140 radio stations, primarily in the nations top 50 markets. They own a number of book publishing titles such as Simon & Schuster, Atria Books, Kaplan, Pocket Books, Scribner, The Free Press, The Touchstone, and Fireside Group. They own a number of online ventures and locations, including Sportsline.com, CBS.com, NFL.com and numerous others. The Sumner Redstone Family is also a majority stockholder in CBS as it is in VIACOM and MTV.
It doesn’t take a genius or a full-time media analyst to understand that the overwhelming control of the media is in the hands of fewer than ten people. What they want you to hear or see or know is in their hands, not yours. Not to mention some other large conglomerates whose ownership is in even less scrupulous hands, people who have purchased large radio networks exclusively to promote their own twisted ideas. When the People lose control of the means of communications, and we have lost them, the next step is the loss of Democracy. It has happened before with disastrous circumstances and it can happen again and it can happen here. Unless we all work with organizations like Media Access to stop the FCC’s lax supervision and Congress’s fatal flaw in allowing one consolidation after another, we will lose our Democracy to a group of ultra-Right Wing Neoconservative Billionaires.