You land on Fairfax media, but much to your dismay Gina Rinehart has just built a collection of houses. A small dint in your pocket and remaining hopeful, you roll again.
Double four. You look down across the board onto what you’ve primarily known as the ‘Oxford/Mayfair’ strip, though this time it is Newscorp Lane. The first hit, Fox News. You take one last roll. Three. The second hit, The Daily Telegraph. And you’re bankrupt.
Still want to play?
It’s an inconvenient and undeniable truth that society’s perspectives and social ideologies are sculpted by the media. In Australia there are three different types of media organisations: government, commercial and community. Contemporary research has concluded that there are increasing levels of consolidation and media domination, predominantly in the commercial sector.
Australia’s media landscape has been transformed into a media oligopoly. On the outset primary stakeholders such as Kerry Stokes, James Packer, Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch are primarily held accountable for owning and controlling the mass media empire, and by extension the Australian public that is highly susceptible to opinion and influence.
Outfoxed (2004) metaphorically described the media as the “nervous system of a democracy”. However, the ideal of democracy is slowly being eradicated by an uniformed public opinion comprised of contested ideologies. This leaves an open and malleable space that allows the media to develop and control perspectives. This is evident in Hitler’s use of Nazi propaganda during his campaign in World War Two.
Concentration of media ownership by powerful figures, limits our society to a confined range of perspectives allowing for influential power players to persuade and formulate the way in which we imagine the world to be. This notion has activated harsh criticisms of the media serving as an ideological state apparatus and for solely serving the interests of those in power, or themselves. For example, Kerry Stokes’ influential and continual promotion of free speech, or Murdoch’s biased attacks on political figures in The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. What is published is what media owners want the public to believe. The control of the media is the control of the mind.
For many, Murdoch is the embodiment of the abuse of media power, identifiable in the case of Milly Dowler. It is because of these injustices and misconducts that certain inquisitions, such as the Leveson Inquiry and the Finkelstein Review occur. Nonetheless, as a highly influential media mogul, Murdoch has undoubtedly become Mr. Monopoly.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) also observe cross media ownership under the Broadcasting Services Act (1922) in attempt to ensure diversity of ownership and control of mass media. Ideally, increasing levels of consolidation need to be constringed. Regardless, Australia has one of the highest levels of media concentration worldwide, so one must truly evaluate the effectiveness of the application in the current sphere.
Perhaps the monopoly of mass media isn’t between the entrepreneurs, but between the media and the public itself. We are in the game, unaware.
Let’s roll the dice