I’ve been wondering about possible conflicts of interest within the news media. Over the past year or two, instances of collusion and other suspicious behaviors have caught my eye. So I decided to dig into who owns what. In some cases, the ownership of a company might reflect bias in the news put forth by that company.
In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by fifty companies; today, 90% is controlled by just seven companies. (Wikipedia)
US distrust in the media remains high, and we may have good reasons for that. 60% of Americans “have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” (Gallup 2012) (Gallup 2015) Confidence in newspapers has continued to drop, now with only 20% of Americans “who are confident in newspapers as a U.S. institution.”
“Americans’ orientation to news is changing, with a growing emphasis on identifying more closely with a favorite media organization.” (Gallup 2016) People are turning more to social media and specific sources to get news. This could lead to widespread echo chambers, where other opinions are not considered or even tolerated. Getting your news from a variety of sources can be very important.