Liberal and Conservative Political Impact on Media
It is impossible to imagine the modern world without mass media. Moreover, the press rule over human minds: its power is so great that it can program the entire country to specific thoughts. The confrontation between adherents of conservative and liberal values has been going on for a long time. There were many examples when journalists were biased against a black person due to racial prejudice. I think one of the primary examples is the story of George Floyd. But there are also many cases when a person of the white race and conservative views was “awarded” the status of a racist. The confrontation in the political arena is especially noticeable. Liberals argue that public order spontaneously arises from the freedom of action of individuals. At the same time, conservatives believe that public order is paramount and creates the conditions for release. They refer to the influence of the family, church, traditions, and local associations to control changes, slowing them down.
The media in the United States are mainly controlled by a small number of large corporations, which the government rules. As with all corporations, power belongs to a few people at the top. Journalists are just employees who can be hired and fired. The promotion of radical or contradictory views can irritate those in power. That is why corporations do not need journalists who are troublemakers or whistleblowers. Presenters and journalists quickly realize that media owners will not tolerate certain types of critical stories.
Furthermore, insiders in the American media have admitted that they refuse controversial stories that may hurt their employees. Those critical of big business and the government’s foreign policy will not get into the best positions in mainstream news programs. In addition, it will be difficult for them to find work in major newspapers. A famous example of this was when the host of the American TV channel MSNBC, Phil Donahue, criticized the war in Iraq in 2003 and was quickly dismissed. MSNBC is owned by General Electric, one of the most giant US arms manufacturing companies.
There is one prevalent myth: most American media are left-liberal and have always been against Trump. Moreover, national-scale TV companies, such as CNN, CBS, NBC, and so on, only Fox News promotes a right-wing conservative ideology and supports Trump. However, in addition to large television companies, there are many local TV studios. Therefore, local news is watched by about ten times more people than national channels.
In the first two charts, the viewers’ number is from two to three million. In the third figure, there are about 12 million viewers in the morning and in and about 23 million in the evening (Pew Research Center, 2016). The largest company that owns hundreds of local TV channels is called Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG). She became famous for holding extreme right-wing conservative views and recently supporting Trump. But the most important thing is that in contracts with other TV companies usually include a clause called “must-run.” Therefore, a TV company that has signed such a contract must insert those stories into its programs. As a result, SBG has become the mouthpiece of pro-Trump propaganda, so no wonder SBG was called Trump TV.
Several other examples of pro-Trump propaganda attract attention with their biased attitude toward the media. In the video, Boris Epstein, who now works as the chief political analyst of SBG, and before that, was an adviser to Trump during the election campaign, criticizes the American press in the White House and calls their actions “theater” (Your Voice, Your Future Town Hall Series, 2017). Because of this, they had a conflict with a local channel called KOMO TV, based in Washington state. Even though the track is considered liberal, they are forced to obey the rules prescribed in the contract with SBG. The journalists of this channel complained that they were forced to broadcast programs about the deep government.
The proof of the pro-Trump propaganda is another rather revealing situation. In different parts of the United States, almost simultaneously, letter by letter, the hosts of SBG TV channels read out the exact text on behalf of KOMO TV, very similar to Trump’s propaganda about “fake news”: “Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces, but we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. Sharing biased and false news has become too common on social media. More alarming, some media outlets publish these fake stories … stories that aren’t true, without checking facts first…” (Dessem, 2018). The trademarks of various TV companies that read this text are circled red in the pictures (Think Progress, 2018). As a result, the SBG was forced to read the exact text to both the “right” and “left”.
Trump, who became president, generously thanked SBG. His administration has made and is still going to make significant takeover deals. First, SBG bought a network of television stations called Bonten Media Group, and now an agreement to acquire a network called Tribune Media is still in question. An idea of how this deal will affect SBG can be obtained from this infographic (Pew Research Center, 2016). The graphs illustrate that SBG was present in 42 states before the takeover, but in the future, it will be in 46. Previously, 40% of families watched the TV channel, but now the number will increase to 72%. Such a percentage probably falls under the antimonopoly legislation, but they stubbornly turn a blind eye to it (Pew Research Center, 2016). Thus, Trump’s moral victory in the election comes into question.
By way of conclusion, the media should be objective and truthful. But we know that most of them serve the interests of different political forces. That is why to force the “masses” to look at the world from a certain point of view is a considerable power. In addition, achieving the objectivity of information may be hindered by other problems. One of the most important, according to the researchers, is that the objectivity of the data itself is not a guarantee of the neutrality of the publication since journalists can present it in a distorted form. Practical limitations of the detachment of the media include the lack of journalists’ ability to cover all the facts and stories. The influence of the government and censorship seriously affects the bias in the media. Therefore, this is a rather tricky question since the media profoundly influences people’s thinking. In addition, if we used to watch advertising and TV shows only on televisions, now the impact through the Internet and targeted advertising is becoming more and more popular.
Dessem, M. (2018). Watch Sinclair Broadcast Group News Anchors Parrot Their Bosses’ Opinions in Perfect, Deafening Unison. Brow Beat.
Pew Research Center. (2016). State of The News Media 2016.
Think Progress. (2018). Local TV forced to denounce ‘one-sided news’ by America’s largest media company. [ Video]. YouTube.
Your Voice, Your Future Town Hall Series. (2017). Bottom Line with Boris – The Press & The White House. [Video]. YouTube.