Mainstream Media

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  • by Anup Shah
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Censorship is by omission and misuse of language

Award-winning Journalist, John Pilger, Acts of Murder, May 18, 1999

A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both

James Madison, fourth President of the United States (1809-1817)

After you've had somebody say to you for the thousandth time, How come we never hear about these issues in the media, you start to realize that the media itself is an issue

Svend Robinson, 1997 [quoted from Rich Media, Poor Democracy by Robert McChesney, p.315]

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 19, United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Someone once said that a person's perception of reality is a result of their beliefs. In today's age, many of those beliefs are in some ways formed or influenced via the mainstream media. It is therefore worth looking at what the media presents, how it does so, and what factors affect the way it is done. This section of the global issues web site introduces some of those aspects.

9 articles on “Mainstream Media” and 1 related issue:

Mainstream Media Introduction

While many countries have signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 (about freedom of expression, opinion and information) has not been made a reality. A free and impartial media is a key pillar to a functioning democracy to help spread informed views and opinions. Yet developed and developing countries alike are plagued with various problems in the media in numerous ways. International news coverage is declining which is an increasing concern at a time when the world is attempting to globalize. In many countries, journalists face threats of censorship, beatings and even death for reporting issues that may be controversial or not in the interests of power holders. The mainstream media of the developed and freer, nations pose an often unmentioned or poorly analyzed problem: the lack of objective reporting that is not influenced and, to a growing degree, controlled by elites with concentrated ownership to advance their interests.

Read “Mainstream Media Introduction” to learn more.

War, Propaganda and the Media

Probably every conflict is fought on at least two grounds: the battlefield and the minds of the people via propaganda. The good guys and the bad guys can often both be guilty of misleading their people with distortions, exaggerations, subjectivity, inaccuracy and even fabrications, in order to receive their support. While we can often see obvious propaganda from other countries, especially from enemies, we sometimes don't notice, or acknowledge propaganda in our own nations and from our own friendly nations. This section introduces some aspects of propaganda and has a look at some media coverage of various conflicts.

Read “War, Propaganda and the Media” to learn more.

Media Manipulation

Media manipulation often involves government or corporate propaganda and spin. Sometimes organizations and governments can feed fake news or politically or ideologically slanted stories to broadcasters which depict them as quality news items and journalism.

Read “Media Manipulation” to learn more.

Corporate Influence in the Media

Some nations can influence and control their media greatly. In addition, powerful corporations are becoming major influences on mainstream media. In some places major multinational corporations own media stations and outlets. Moreover, even as numbers of media outlets increase, the ownership is becoming ever more concentrated as mega mergers take hold. At the same time, vertical integration gives the big players even more avenues to cross-sell and cross-market their products for even more amazing profits.

An effect of this though, is a reduction in diversity and depth of content that the public can get, while increasing the political and economic power of corporations and advertisers. An informed population is a crucial element to a functioning democracy yet these factors often work against this key requirement.

This section looks at issues like concentrated ownership, media conglomerates and mega mergers, vertical integration, the influence of advertising on media content, the impacts of political influence and the relationship with globalization, as well as some examples of corporate influences in the media.

Read “Corporate Influence in the Media” to learn more.

Media in the United States

Media omissions, distortion, inaccuracy and bias in the US is something acknowledged by many outside the USA, and is slowly realized more and more inside the US. However, due to those very same omissions distortion, inaccuracy and the bias in the US mainstream media, it is difficult for the average American citizen to obtain an open, objective view of many of the issues that involve the United States.

Since the United States is so influential culturally, economically, politically and militarily around the world, they are naturally involved in many issues. As a result, this section looks at some aspects of the media in the United States.

Read “Media in the United States” to learn more.

Media Links for more Information

Read “Media Links for more Information” to learn more.


Democracy is a valued principle, so much so that some people have sacrificed their lives to fight for it. While no system is perfect, it seems that democracy is once again under assault. What are the challenges posed in a democratic system and are established safeguards helping to strengthen democracy or are their forces successfully weakening it?

Read “Democracy” to learn more.

Global Warming, Spin and Media

For many years, large, influential businesses and governments have been against the idea of global warming. Many have poured a lot of resources into discrediting what has generally been accepted for a long time as real.

Now, the mainstream is generally worried about climate change impacts and the discourse seems to have shifted accordingly. Some businesses that once engaged in disinformation campaigns have even changed their opinions, some even requesting governments for regulation and direction on this issue.

However, a few influential companies and organizations are still attempting to undermine climate change action and concerns. Will all this mean a different type of spin and propaganda with attempts at green washing and misleading information becoming the norm, or will there now be major shift in attitudes to see concrete solutions being proposed and implemented?

Read “Global Warming, Spin and Media” to learn more.

Health in the Media

Health information is often sensationalized in the media, with various promises of quick fixes and miracle cures. Yet, that is rarely reality. How has it come to this?

Read “Health in the Media” to learn more.

Human Rights Issues

Read “Human Rights Issues” to learn more.

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