2

One thing I have noticed while comparing our "Russian" news to the ones in the US is that both countries can be biased on certain events (while some don't get media attention if its not profitable).

In Russia, it is general knowledge - most national TV channels, newspapers are state-owned. ALL of media/shows get censored by Federal Security Beuro (the Russian secret service agency) before it is aired. There is no anti-Putin information to be found.

Looking at US sources (such as NYT, ABC, etc) media seems a lot more free, yet it seems biased on many topics (coverage of president Trump, certain angle on Syria, etc). Is there some kind of a media group like in Russia?

  • 3
    have you read Media cross ownership in the USA – James K Aug 3 '18 at 20:20
  • 2
    Does the FSB really censor everything before it's aired? I find that highly doubtful. More likely their influence is via charges for stuff they don't like: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… According to the same "Top state television channels frequently apply self-censorship, avoiding any controversial topics that might impact the public image of the authorities." – Fizz Aug 3 '18 at 22:57
  • It sounds as if you are asking is there some FSB-like organization (either governmental or non-governmental) that influences US news media. – BobE Aug 4 '18 at 1:06
  • @Fizz I have worked in Ostankino (154 thousand sq.m. TV studio). Everything we aired was "filtered" (there was a special department). They even removed a pitch invason during FIFA18, even though it was aired directly. It is done "voluntarily" at will of the owners. – crab.power Aug 5 '18 at 19:39
  • There seems to be a disconnect here in the question. It seems to imply that bias requires monopoly ownership. There's no correlation there. All media can be biased...be it Russian State Media or some DIY amateur reporter with a YouTube channel. – user1530 Aug 7 '18 at 22:53
3

There are some conglomerates that own large numbers of media outlets. For example:

  • Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns a number of individual television stations, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post.
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group owns 173 television stations and is in the process of expanding that to 233.
  • McClatchy owns a a number of newspapers and has a service that provides national news.
  • Reuters and the Associated Press also have services to provide national news to local media, particularly newspapers.
  • Tronc owns multiple newspapers.
  • Gannett produces USA Today and other papers.
  • ABC is a television network that owns a number of individual television stations, and it is itself owned by Disney.
  • Warner Media owns CNN. It owns other media outlets, but that's the main news organization.

As posted in a comment, Wikipedia has a list of media conglomerates. Not all of those are news.

The point being that the major organizations are owned separately. E.g. the New York Times and ABC have separate owners.

It's not entirely clear why the major news organizations often have such similar opinions. Part of it may relate to the locations of most of them. Major news organizations tend to be headquartered in cities and run by people in cities. Cities have a distinctly different politics than do suburban and rural areas.

There are only a few national news agencies like McClatchy DC, Reuters (international), and the Associated Press. As they will often be the first source that journalists see, their editorial opinions may color the original stories.

Another issue is that journalists are almost universally college graduates, and colleges have a distinct politics of their own.

Organizations like Fox News may exacerbate this, as they pull the small number of ideologically distinct people to themselves. This leaves fewer to work at other organizations.

While television anchors can be well paid, many of the jobs in the media pay much less. Low paid college graduates are more likely to be Democrats.

Due to how politics in the United States works, there are a large number of partisans who know some number of media employees. This can be an advantage when trying to insert a story into the narrative. And if the original source is partisan, it is unsurprising if most start from that partisan point of view.

  • You may want to add Carlos Slim's 17% stake in NYTimes Corp to the list. It makes him the largest single shareholder since 2015. NYTimes Corp owns a number of news assets (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…), among them is also Boston Globe. – grovkin Aug 4 '18 at 4:48
  • @Brythan While your answer is (as usual) well researched and informative, it does not offer a direct answer to the OP's title question. Based on your facts, the straight forward answer is: No, there no conglomerate or family that controls the majority of US news media. Also, there does not appear to be any FSB-like agency of the national government that dictates or approves the news content. Would you be willing to offer that conclusion in your answer? – BobE Aug 6 '18 at 1:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.