While traditional journalism first started as a way for journalists to expose the truth and let their audience know the current events in the world, ownership of the media has changed the purpose of these traditional media outlets. Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, was born an Australian but expanded his media outlet to the US where 90% of the media is owned by only 6 companies. These companies are; News Corp, Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, GE and CBS. Just 30 years ago, 90% of American media was owned by 50 media companies. This means that 90% of everything that Americans see, hear and consider important on the media is controlled by only six very rich companies. (more info)
Rupert Murdoch, as owner of News Corp, has control over Fox Broadcasting Company. This means he has control over Fox News and any other shows created for Fox.
There has been a lot of criticism about the quality of Fox News and the way the news reported is influenced greatly by Murdoch himself. A movie called Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, was created with many former Fox News journalists explaining the ways in which Murdoch crafted the news to persuade the audience to have the same opinion on issues as he did.
When it came to elections, controlling the media was a way to impact the public’s opinions and perceptions of the running political figures. A lot of what the public knew about the candidates was seen in these popular media outlets. A lot of “news” reported about elections by Fox News was not actually news at all, it was propaganda. This propaganda was ordered by Murdoch himself to show favour towards a certain candidate. David Brock, President/CEO of Media Matters for America, explained how this propaganda impacted on democracy:
“It’s fundamentally undermining democracy which is based on knowing some good and solid information so I can make an informed choice.”
Another issue raised in Outfoxed was Murdoch’s claim that the news reported on Fox News is fair and balanced. In Outfoxed they show evidence to contrast this.
This is Family Guy’s interpretation of the type of people Fox News chooses to interview. The irony is that Family Guy is actually owned by Fox Broadcasting Company, and therefore owned by Murdoch as well.
The reason media ownership is important is that the owners are only giving one perspective of the news based on their ideological position. The fewer the owners, the fewer the range of opinions. This means the audience is only receiving a biased representation of the news instead of a diverse range of opinions from different sources. Therefore, the public can not make an informed decision on their opinion of the news.