Media ‘cartel’ controls most formerly independent American news outlets

by WorldTribune Staff, February 26, 2017

A major media “cartel” has taken control of what had been privately-owned U.S. news companies, Pulitzer Prize winning media specialist Ben Bagdikian said.

The trend leaves small community newspapers and broadcast companies as outposts for independent American  journalism.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post have announced no guarantees of editorial autonomy or ethics provisions to avoid conflicts of interest. / Patrick Fallon / Bloomberg / Getty

Six corporations now own 90 percent of U.S. news media outlets. The six – News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS and Comcast – own 90 percent of the TV stations, radio stations, movies, magazines and newspapers that Americans go to for news and entertainment.

There are major news organizations not owned by the “cartel” but they are also liberal giants that include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times (both owned by the Tribune Company). “Even those publications are subject to the conglomerate machine,” Bagdikian said.

“What we should be most concerned about is the narrowing of choices, because that removes from voters the full spectrum of views and information with which to choose its government — a dangerous trend that threatens democracy itself,” Bagdikian said, according to a documentary on media ownership for PBS.

Bagdikian, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and author of The New Media Monopoly, describes the five media giants as a “cartel” that wields enough influence to change U.S. politics and define social values.

The majority of people “do not know Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post and is now the sole owner with no editorial board or ethical review committees to oversee the actions of Bezos as a publisher, much less the courage to stand against the new ‘boss,’ ” the Conservative Daily Post noted.

“The same outlets which through diverse company divisions own every television station and newspaper in this country with the exception of very small, weekly community publications and certain Christian networks,” the Feb. 24 report continued. “Even many of those community weeklies have been scooped up by larger publication divisions.”

Related: Bezos’ Internet-cloud deal with the CIA worth twice what he paid for the Washington Post, Feb. 17.

Online news sites have also been scooped up by the “cartel” as have radio and television stations and other major print properties including magazines and large daily newspapers.

“In its coverage of the CIA, The Washington Post has failed to mention that the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, stands to reap huge financial gains from a recently signed $600 million Internet-cloud deal between Amazon, which Bezos also owns, and the intelligence agency,” reported on Feb. 17.

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