Friday, May 19, 2006

Where the power lies

Is it just me, or is it unsettling to know that there are only 5 major corporations that own the vast majority of the media in the USA (with Vivendi Universal and General Electric closing in on this group)?

Since 1983, 50 corporations controlling news media has been reduced to 5. Five. So, in a little more than 20 years, 45 different media corporations have been merged, taken over, or eliminated. Man! What do you think this says about antitrust laws that were suppose to circumvent the formulation of these types of conglomerates?

It's scary to think that the power of the media has been reduced to a few groups because -- essentially -- whoever wields this power controls the minds of the people. This is particularly unnerving for me since, as heavy consumers, African-Americans have succumb to this more than any other group. For instance, the media has an unmatched ability to dictate pop culture; largely since they produced the movies, television shows, images, and music that we see and hear. Though most people think that recording labels like Motown, Murder, Inc., Bad Boys, and Def Jam are independent of media control, they are actually mere subsidiaries of Vivendi Universal, one of the major corporations in the U.S. Likewise, Black Entertainment Television is owned by Viacom.

Sadly, African Americans have no control over any of the messages or images that are plastered on the screen; even in -- what the artist would claim -- is his outlet. Sure, you see the artist's name on the CD cover, his/her face in the videos, him/her accepting the awards and accolades. But, the truth is, the real power is behind the scenes. The major U.S. media conglomerates determine every facet of pop culture. Troubling indeed.

Yesterday, I went to an interesting talk at Michigan State University, where the panel broke down how powerful the media really is. Said one of the panelists, "These media conglomerates are in an exclusive club, which survives largely by exploiting large groups of uninformed people. Essentially, they have the power to control what people think, how they act, and what they know."

It is interesting to note that, to the casual observer, negative images that are bombarded through the media are all the fault of African-Americans. Yet, the proverbial "buck" stops with these power whores in the media. The images that are being portrayed in the media exist mainly because corporations seek to perpetuate certain behavior to elicit a particular outcome, namely profit. Too many African-American are too distracted to pick up on that. We're more concerned with how many times 50 cent will get shot today, how many more CDs Beyonce will come out with, or how many points Kobe will hit in the next game. Now, I'm not implying that being entertained is a bad thing. In fact, I'm a frequent visitor to Detroit Pistons games (though, I'm not liking their chances in the playoffs right now). I buy CDs, DVDs, clothes, etc. like the rest of 'em. But I think it's important to understand what's also going on behind the scenes, and why it's happening.

When the media creates a subterfuge by selling images of broken families; deteriorating communities; an over-emphasis on violence, crime, and life "in the streets"; mindless consumerism; and ignorance, it's up to us to determine what entertains us and what controls us. There is too much at stake for us to allow ourselves to become so easily manipuated by the mainstream media.


8 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

ajbendaƱa said...

i could not agree more, this country is on a one way ticket to doom caused by the ignorance of its people. I am not say that all are ignorant but the majority, and the majority is all that counts when it comes to influenceing people. Disinfromation is the ruler of this domain. No one knows whats right, whats wrong, whats true, and whats not. some have the ability to read outside the lines but thats a select few. If you speak out and people start to listen you get shut down. That not my definition of freedom.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hi again My Greeneyed man,

You are a very good writer, do you write professionally or just for our interest?
I did not know this about the merging of media corporations , so it is interesting to me , you are correct that the media is power , it is scary that the people who can control our view on the world are getting fewer in numbers , making our world view dependant on the approval of a few minds , whether they be closed , biased , jaded , corrupted ,evil etc.
You are very interesting Greeneyedman:) Hope you are having a great weekend where ever you are, Take care

KC said...

All joking aside, you've gotta be one of the most righteous brothas I've had the pleasure of listening to. You're always ready to kick some knowledge that I wasn't ready for. You hit it again, dawg!

Good stuff. But, also a little scary how right you are with this one...

Andre said...

@ Ajbendana: Welcome to Andre's head!

You're right on so many points, it's scary. Given the incredible impact that the media has on our nation, it's no wonder there is so much ignorance and apathy on the part of the average citizens. I mean, sometimes even I get to the point where I just don't care anymore.

Those who do resist and, as you put it, "read between the lines" are often censored or villified in the media.

By the way, I hope you don't think that Miami's really gonna pull it off, do you?!

@ My green-eyed love: Me? A good writer?! Hardly! But, thanks for the compliment. You've got a brotha blushing over here.

Truth be told: I don't think that I'm a writer; in the sense that I'm not a professional or an expert. I'm just that ordinary cat who can get a little opinionated about some things.

Now, on to your other point: I agree that it's scary to know that our 'information' is limited to what's fed to us by a few folks, which limits our knowledge to what they want us to know. Pretty scary, if you ask me.

Have a great weekend yourself, young lady!

@ KC: Thanks dawg! Appreciate that.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hello My greeneyed bandit
I beg to differ , you are a very good writer and your words flow smoothly as does your flattery! You sell yourself short , you can put it together! , and it keeps me coming back and interested . Smart , funny, smooth talker , what's not to like , and yes ,,yes I read your disclaimer LOL, bet your just a big teddy bear :)take care in that big City , be safe

KC said...

Again, I have to say:

Andre and Green-eyed, sittin' in a tree...

Andre said...

@ green-eyed: You've really gotta stop with the compliments! You're gonna give me a bigger head than what I allegedly have right now. :)

But, I've gotta admit that I was entertained by the 'teddy bear' reference. Since I'm always accused of being the 'angry black male', maybe I'm more like a grizzly bear. But, I don't see it.

@ KC: Instigator...

Andre said...

By the way, green: I wouldn't exactly say I live in a 'Big City'. Unless, of course, 160,000 people is considered big?