The affiliations with the media and political parties can be, in my opinion, tied back to the fact that the media corporations in question are privately owned. To take another U.S. example,Dreier found that, after 1940, the vast majority of the most popular and most read newspapers inthe U.S. (all of which were privately owned) tended to show bias towards, and ultimately support the republican candidate for the presidential election at that time (Dreier, 1982). Interestingly,during this period,
which lasted into the 1980’s when the study was published,
the majority of Republican candidates who ran for president were, in fact, elected to office. Although I will not speculate as to whether the bias in the media was a factor in the success of the candidates, I wishto note three things; firstly, the biased views of the media were in agreement with the popularopinion of the general population, regardless of whether their bias actually influenced thepopular opinion or not. Secondly, even though bias in the newspapers regarding political issuesis, to some extent, publically accepted (for example, the
is commonly seen to besupportive of
, bias in the media, no matter what the subject, should not be tolerated,and is a clear and unacceptable failure by the media to provide unbiased true news. Finally, thebiased
papers in Dreier’s study were
privately owned corporations.In order to explain these failings by privately owned media corporations, I believe that it isnecessary to briefly discus the influence of advertising on privately owned media corporations.Privately owned media corporations must, by definition, seek finance to support themselves. Themost readily available, form of income for these corporations comes in the form of advertising;adverts are shown in the breaks between programs, and
the corporations sell the “space” for
these adverts. For these privatised corporations, advertising provides the majority of theirincome (McManus, 1992). The key for the corporations is that the program must be popular, inorder to entice advertisers to buy the space available between certain shows. With the constant need to meet the costs of actually running their corporation, corporations must therefore try andgain as much money as possible from advertising. In this respect, the actual quality of the news,in terms of being unbiased and factual become less important
what is important for the privatemedia corporations is a continued source of finance (McCullagh, p79). I believe that thisdependency on advertising can explain the examples proposed by both Dreier and Chomsky.
In the case of Chomsky’s exa
mple of the media as being a tool for preserving the power of thesocial and political elite, I believe that the influence of advertising provides a more reasonablesolution. Instead of a sinister conspiracy at a global level that is designed to keep the masseslulled into a placid state of ignorance, and where the powerful can rule unquestioned, we aregiven a simple solution that works within the confines of the capitalist paradigm that we functionin. The news corporations, believing that sensationalised stories, or stories that instil a sense of panic or fear would increase the numbers of viewers, deliberately fudge the figures orterminology of their stories, hoping that the framing of the news in a certain way will increasetheir audience, thereby increasing their advertising, thus acquiring more funds (McCullagh, pp.