Monday, October 5, 2009

The Holy Trinity

In this week’s readings, I was very surprised to see the massive reach that the big three TNC’s (Time Warner, Disney and News Corporation) have and how it extends into so many different realms. I obviously knew these corporations were large but the list of their holdings in McChesney’s article is truly shocking and eye opening.

With three main companies and their interests shaping so much of the media that consumers around the world see, it is hard to argue against the idea of a dominant media flow. It is not so much national or cultural imperialism as it is corporate imperialism. By controlling so many media outlets and production facilities, the corporations can pick the information and media they wish to spread and that which they pick to censor.

Corporate motivation is also not based on any ideology or cultural preference but is driven by profits. Profits are created through marketing and merchandising and so their main goal is to reach as many people as possible. I found McChesney’s statement about global media systems being simultaneously radical (in that it will not respect traditions or customs that stand in the way of profits) and conservative (being sensitive to global social structure since upheaval in property or social relations jeopardizes their position) is an interesting view into the self-serving nature of these global behemoths.

Rai and Cottle spoke of the continued colonization of communications space and Thussu discussed the trend of glocalization as corporations move into local markets. Both expressed concerns about the growth of dominant firms in concentrated oligolistic markets. McChesney even likens them to cartels with the motto "Make profits, not war." It is disturbing to think that the free market economy and trade liberalization that inspired and fed the global media expansion has now created a cartel-like industry with minimal competition - a completely different result than originally preached.

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