When One Man Owns Too Much News

bagley-16One of the biggest qualms with media, both in Australian and around the world is the question of is it really important who owns the media?

The answer is yes.

Media ownership is an extremely fundamental aspect of ensuring that media outlets present to the public the most unbiased, informed and diverse news possible. By limiting media ownership to a specific powerful figure, such as Rupert Murdoch with News Corp, this could lead to a concentration of ownership, and limits the number of available alternative media sources available to the public.

The vast majority of people across the globe get their daily dose of news from local newspapers and free-to-air television. While an informed audience will be able to look for alternative news sources from unbiased and reliable news outlets, especially online through media platforms such as Reddit and Dailydot, by having someone such as Rupert Murdoch at the helm would mean that the news published by these corporations would be greatly influenced by Murdoch’s views on sensitive issues such politics, particularly elections, who should be voted in and which party should be in power and which shouldn’t be.

And with such a huge newspaper accounting for 59% of daily newspaper sales, with over 17.3 million papers sold each week in Australia, theres no doubt that the integrity of public opinion would be compromised.

But this is old news of course.

It has been shown time and time again that having a single man leading a media conglomerate will mean that they can assert their political interests strongly on the public, without fear of persecution.

And this does not mean that the people who own the media have to maintain any significant part of responsibility regarding what happens within the media outlets they own. A classic case against media consolidation being the News International Phone Hacking Scandal where News of the World, a British tabloid had hacked into the phones of some 4,000 individuals and bribed police for information.

When Rupert Murdoch was pressed with possible allegations associated with the doings of News of the world he replied, The News of the World is less than one percent of our company. I employ 53,000 people around the world who are proud and great and ethical and distinguished people, professionals.” So instead of admitting that his corporation  was in the wrongdoing, he instead deflected any possible accusations that he was aware of any illegal actions and proceeded to shut down News of the World instead to limit fallout. 

This sort of scandal really questions the ethical credibility of media conglomerates, and exposes huge issues related to concentrated media ownership.

If one man, the head of a media empire, was able to shrug off any accusations that he was implicated in a scandal within his company and was in turn able to get off scot-free, what does this say about the importance of media ownership? What will stop them from flaunting their journalistic influence, censoring what they want when they want?

Image courtesy of;
Pat Bagley 2011, Hacking Rupert, image, The Cagle Post, viewed April 16 2015        < http://politicalpackrat.blogspot.com.au/2011_07_01_archive.html#.VS88mZPvj6i
http://www.broadsheet.ie/tag/rupert-murdoch/ >

Terry Flew 2013, Factcheck: Does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia?, The Conversation, viewed April 16 2015, < http://theconversation.com/factcheck-does-murdoch-own-70-of-newspapers-in-australia-16812 >

BBC UK 2012, Q&A: News of the World phone-hacking scandal, BBC, viewed April 16 2015, < http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-11195407 >

Mary Truma, 2011, The News Corp Scandal, theragblog, viewed April 16 2015,       < http://theragblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/mary-tuma-when-one-man-owns-too-much.html >

Reuters 2011, HIGHLIGHTS-Murdoch apologises, testify to being humbled, Reuters US, viewed April 16 2015, < http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/19/newscorp-idUSL6E7IJ1NB20110719 >

James Robinson 2011, News of the World to close as Rupert Murdoch acts to limit fallout, theguardian, viewed April 16 2015, < http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jul/07/news-of-the-world-rupert-murdoch >


5 thoughts on “When One Man Owns Too Much News

  1. Hi Alan,
    I really enjoyed reading your post you have a great writing style and good flow of content! I like how you’ve pointed out fundamentally the media outlets should present to the public the most unbiased, informed and diverse news possible. We all know that it is rarely the case and like you have focused on with Rupert Murdoch, one man at the top can change a lot of things. When you link up Murdoch with others such as his son Lachlan, Gina Rinehart, Kerry Stokes, Bruce Gordon and James Packer then you get 6 people who can control the majority of what we see, hear and consume from the media. Thats a pretty scary thought. I particularly loved the way that you finished your post with talk about the ethical credibility of these big companies and brought up the point of “What will stop them from flaunting their journalistic influence, censoring what they want when they want?” as this was one of my main focal points. The answer is unknown to me also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alan,
    I always find your blogs to be fascinating. I appreciate your powerful views on the issue of how important who owns the media is. Looking at Rupert Murdoch and his influence on media, your blog successfully shows his impact to Australia’s media especially through his huge part in daily newspapers. Your link to the ‘News International Phone Hacking Scandal’ is a great example of how who owns the media can have an impact on society’s views and the information they are fed. Your topic makes me question the intentions of the media and whether they are informing us about everything we need to or should know or whether they are keeping our knowledge of certain issues restricted and this ultimately leads back to those who control these sources of information such as Murdoch. I believe the RTE’ article linked here supports your point, ‘Murdoch media accused of bias in Australian election coverage’.Your blog successfully presents examples of how this topic can be a major issue today. It was a great read!

    2013, ‘Murdoch media accused of bias in Australian election coverage’, RTE News, viewed on 19th April 2015, http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0827/470568-australia-election-murdoch/


  3. I really enjoy reading your writing, it has a great journalistic flow to it and reads very well so it helps to illustrate your point even more. Murdoch’s influence over Australian media and his inability to be held accountable for any issues that arise has always astounded me and is the perfect illustration of why who controls the media is such an important factor. You brought up an excellent point with this with the shutting down of News of the World, especially considering how much power Murdoch holds over all his other media outlets, the idea that he had no idea that these people under his employ were flaunting with journalistic ethics and integrity so much is outrageous. To me, the fact that so much of the population is reading these pieces and taking them for face value is astounding and the simple fact that Murdoch escapes being held accountable because of his friends in high places and wealth is absolutely horrid. This was an excellent read and I’ll be checking out your blog again to keep up with new posts.


  4. The idea of mass media ownership really is a scary one when you consider just how much influence and bias someone like Murdoch has over the publications under his power. I really liked the way you used the collage of front covers to illustrate that. It really drove the whole point home. Being able to see side by side just how one sided News Corp publications are also effectively added to your point that having one person in charge of so many media publications can add to an over saturation of one point of view, thus manipulating the public to their way of thinking.
    One criticism, however, it that I feel the sentence about “informed audiences” looking for alternate news sources is far too long. It makes the paragraph difficult to read. I found myself reading that sentence three times to try to get all the information into my head. I think it would have been better had you made the section about Murdoch one sentence and the “informed audiences” a second sentence. The structure of that particular section also could be improved. As you start the paragraph talking about the majority of news readers, then mention the minority, then back to the majority. However, apart from that one section, I found the overall piece an enjoyable read, and mostly very well written. Well done!


  5. Your post on the issue of “ does it matter who controls the media?” is one of my favorites I have read so far. I completely agree where you are coming from when you question the credibility of those who are in charge of the media and in your example, how Rupert Murdoch was able to deflect the accusations that were made, like you said, as he has ownership of that media. It causes me personally to question whether any other figure who has had some form of power over the content created in the media has done the same thing.

    The way that you have embedded links into your blog post that show your followers exactly where you got the source of information from is extremely clever as it also allows them to further research themselves with a click of a button. It also shows that you have done extensive research on the topic, showing the creditability of your work from your wide range of sources.

    I am also a fan of how you have plopped questions at the end of your post in order for your audience to further engage and discuss this issue of controlled media.
    Good work ☺


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