Media and Profit Motive
By Terran R. Smith
It’s no secret that the mainstream media is full of bias towards certain political parties. Fox News is conservative, CNN is liberal and MSNBC is even more so liberal. It is helpful to be able to choose a news station according to one’s political outlook because the bias of each news station is meant to appeal to a certain audience. With numerous channels representing various political beliefs, the issue at hand isn’t readily apparent.
Profit motive is a topic I’ve been learning about in one of my journalism classes this semester, Business of Media. The term is fairly self-explanatory; it means that the sole purpose of a business existing is to make profit. It goes without saying that companies must profit to provide services to consumers; however, mainstream televised news programs’ profit motive could be seen as profit greed.photo courtesy of WordPress
According to the profit motive, a consistent and profiting business must be established. This can only be successful with government assistance, which ultimately results in government control. Therefore, news businesses favoring profit over the public interest succeed, while those favoring reportorial accuracy over profits fail, and are relegated to the margins of their markets.
The best way to gain profit is to gain a greater audience number. By segregating broadcast channels by different political party outlooks, each and every audience member with a political opinion can easily find a station suitable for his/her beliefs. Unfortunately, because the channel chosen suits the viewer’s political stance, most of what said viewer will see and absorb will include subjects relating to the station’s bias.photo courtesy of Looking at the Left
The media we are presented with is a mere sliver of the spectrum of current events. Each ‘left’ and ‘right’ station presents information copacetic to that of it’s audience bias. Consequently, alternative opinions and entire subjects all together are very marginalized from the audience. The profit-driven media’s portrayal of reality is simply a miniscule subset carefully chosen to be convincing, informative and, most importantly, representative of the station’s political stance.
Maintaining the audience support and viewership is part of the profit motive for mainstream media but, but is certainly not the only. What’s more, large news stations do depend on the government for leads, tip-offs and sources. In the event that a dominating, mass station made the government unhappy, the government subtly, and perhaps permanently, ceases giving information to the corporations. This obviously causes great financial stress and is avoided as much as possible.photo courtesy of Conservative Women for Truth
It’s become copiously clear corporate media are unable to deliver the news in a fair and democratic way to the people. Although government, investors and advertisers have mainstream media in a sticky situation that doesn’t mean it’s unfix-able.
The media needs to make a change towards focusing on the vital events relevant to the general public. In showing only ‘left’ or ‘right’ viewpoints, the bias expands and viewer opinions are formed based on falsities. If mass media only represented the facts in a democratic way, the public would become more educated with well-rounded opinions.
Because there’s such a powerful amount of markets controlling media, the citizens of this nation must unite, criticize the recurring failures and supersede with a suitable alternative. Until the public can come together strong and determined for change, mass-media will continue to marginalize opinions and overlook diversity.
Like any and every other social or political issue, the road to resolution is long and winding. When the government is involved with anything, a situation becomes at least ten-fold more complicated than it originally was. For now, viewers are barely at bay with the overly-biased and under-informative broadcasting; however, I believe that, like any other issue in history, time will eventually remove the red tape surrounding this media-based dilemma.