Just like all things American, media has fallen to the corporate system. The current disposition of the media world has been heavily influenced by federal policy. Before the Telecommunications Act of 1996, America saw upwards to fifty major media companies. The passage of this piece of legislation, initially intended to serve as a check on the accuracy of media corporations, led to an unintended consequence of major company buyouts. Today we can count the number of media outlets on two hands.
America’s foundation is built on democracy, rights, and freedom. The conglomerate media system is counterproductive to these ideals. There are less voices and opinions when few are in charge of what and how information is shared to our country’s people.
If analyzed through the lens of sustainability, we see many problems that arise from the very nature of having media outlets funneled down to only a few major companies and individuals.
With the lack of competitors, big media is given the space to focus on money and profit over general public interest and quality services. If there are limited alternatives, media consumers will be forced to pay the prices set by these monetary-driven, impersonal corporations.
We have seen politics stick its greasy fingers into the monopoly of large media business. Rupert Murdoch, one of America’s most famous media tycoons, is a proud supporter of the Republican Party and has donated millions to certain news groups. In return, they are obligated to have a biased towards the red. Another important social factor is the lack of diverse correspondents and news coverage relating to women and minorities.
As the conglomerate system of media becomes more of a norm in our society, Americans have tended to put local news on the back burner. Depriving our country’s people of varied opinions and unbiased facts may lead to a narrow-minded, numbed society. It is not a community-based system and does not support social solidarity. This could be detrimental to environmental advocacy and education amongst the masses, and we will initially encounter these negative effects at a local level.