Corporate media groups undermine democracy

Broadcast news complicity helps Republican candidates dominate elections

By The Advocate, Editorial Board

When accurate journalism is under attack, public awareness is the first casualty.

Broadcast news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Telemundo, Univision and FOX News ceded accurate and responsible journalism to focus on conflict, misinformation and increasing profit in their coverage of the 2016 presidential race.

This perversion of journalism is a product of our profit driven neo-capitalist society. Framing is everything, but the frame during the 2016 national election cycle, and its aftermath, has been focused on conflict between two undesirable candidates.

A narrow perspective on specific issues spreads partial truths. This is the status-quo, and is why many people were surprised that half the country voted for outsider Republican candidate Donald Trump for president.

The harrowing truth is that the media conglomerates who own these corporations have been manipulating public understanding of core issues in American society for decades.

Instead of seeking to better the public understanding of certain issues concerning race, economic class and gender by showing both sides of an issue fairly, media outlets focus on what sells — conflict.

The failure of corporate journalism to report accurate information was apparent throughout — during their coverage of this year’s Democratic and Republican primary elections, the presidential debates and now during the protests and riots that have swept major cities nationwide in the wake of Trump’s victory.

Less than seven conglomerates, valued at more than $1 trillion in broadcast and online markets, own all the news organizations listed above, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Yet nearly all corporate media organizations predicted a victory for Hillary Clinton. They called it even before she stole the Democratic National Party’s nomination from populist candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Corporate media’s complicity in handing Trump the election can be traced through the amount of free press given each candidate.

According to the Campaign Television Tracker website, Trump was awarded about $1.2 million, Clinton was given about $629,000 and Sanders was spared only $191,000 in broadcast airtime during news reports alone.

This is not just deplorable journalism — it’s immoral marketing.

Corporate manipulation of masses of taxpayers and voters threatens democracy and our right to know.

Another example of corporate media’s role in politics by spreading misinformation is in its coverage of the “Not My President” protests that have burned through major cities in red and blue states.

Once the protests in Oakland were determined to be unlawful by the Oakland Police on Wednesday and Thursday nights, the chaos was displayed through TV screens nationwide.

But Contra Costa College’s “Undivided” march rallied 200 students to walk along San Pablo Avenue to San Pablo City Hall on Thursday.

The same day, thousands of West Contra Costa high school students shut down 23rd Street and marched to Richmond City Hall on Macdonald Avenue.

But peaceful demonstrations were determined to be less important than watching tear gas canisters and Molotov cocktails being thrown in downtown Oakland by the same people who misinformed you about the election results in the first place.