excerpts from the book
the No-Nonsense guide
by Peter Steven
The [Media] Bigs
World's largest media companies
Time Warner Inc.
The Wait Disney Corporation
The News Corporation Ltd.
General Electric Co.
World's largest record companies
Sony Music Group - includes Columbia, Epic, etc
Warner Music Group - includes Atlantic, Elektra, etc
EMI Group PLC - includes Capital, Virgin, etc
BMG (Bertelsmann) - includes RCA, Arista, etc
World's largest publishers
Bertelsmann AG - selling 40 per cent of
trade books worldwide -
including Random House
Pearson PLC - dominant in academic, medical and business books
- includes Penguin, Prentice-Hall, Macmillan, Viking, etc
Time Warner - includes Warner Books, Book of the Month Clubs,
Little, Brown, etc
Wait Disney Corporation
The News Corporation Ltd. - includes HarperCollins
Viacom, Inc. - includes Simon and Schuster
World's dominant film companies and their
Warner Brothers (Time Warner)
Walt Disney Pictures - including Miramax
Paramount Pictures (Viacom, Inc.)
Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures (Sony Corporation)
Universal Pictures (Vivendi)
Twentieth Century Fox (News Corporation)
In Europe and North America the power
of the ruling elites seldom appears in its rawest forms. The media
play a key role in communicating and creating legitimacy for those
in power. Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist writing while imprisoned
in the 1920s and 30s, developed a useful concept for describing
this situation. He called it hegemony. Hegemony is achieved when
the power of the dominant groups in a society appears natural.
It is a form of power or rule not limited to direct political
control but one where those who have power maintain their position
through the creation of a particular world view, one that seems
to be based on common sense. Newspapers, TV and radio can be used
to communicate the viewpoint of the ruling elites.
This becomes most obvious in times of
crisis, such as the Iraq war in 2003, where a closing of the ranks
and a shutting down of critical, oppositional, even skeptical
views becomes painfully clear. Even the widely praised BBC, which
to North American viewers, appeared more distant than other media
from Tony Blair's war emerged with a generally compliant position,
what one journalist referred to as BBC - 'Basically Biased Coverage'.
But hegemony doesn't confine itself to intellectual matters or
ideas. It works within everyday culture and seems to provide a
frame for understanding experience.
Even in quieter times the media play a
leading role in maintaining the status quo, defining the boundaries
of political debate and the economic orthodoxy of neoliberalism.
Most empirical studies reveal a significant overlap of media owners
and managers with the political elite. Thus they are not really
doing someone else's bidding - they're just looking out for family.
Global Media page