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Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear, And Read


Source: | Original Post Date: October 4, 2010 –


Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States.  Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations.  These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day.  They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest.  Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media.  But they should.  The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media.  The average American watches 153 hours of television a month.  In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something.  Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.

The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal.  Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States.  But even those areas of the media that the “big six” do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States.  Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.

But it is the “big six” that are the biggest concerns.  When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think.  They don’t call it “programming” for nothing.

Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media.  But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people….

In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].

–Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), pp. xx—xxi

Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest.  Much of the information in the chart below comes from  The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cartoon Network
America Online
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
Disney Channel
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books


Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
MTV Canada
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

NBC News
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people.  Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money.

These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.

Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted. According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high.

That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years.  The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.

Do you think that anyone in the mainstream news would actually tell you that the Federal Reserve is bad for America or that we are facing a horrific derivatives bubble that could destroy the entire world financial system?  Do you think that anyone in the mainstream media would actually tell you the truth about the deindustrialization of America or the truth about the voracious greed of Goldman Sachs?

Sure there are a few courageous reporters in the mainstream media that manage to slip a few stories past their corporate bosses from time to time, but in general there is a very clear understanding that there are simply certain things that you just do not say in the mainstream news.

But Americans are becoming increasingly hungry for the truth, and they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the dumbed down pablum that is passing as “hard hitting news” these days.

So what do you think about the state of the mainstream media?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below…

Written by Michael Snyder of

  • Abbie Cianfrocco

    For one, the truth is that there are still multifarious methods of being influenced these days: libraries, the vast World Wide Web… Communicating with one another… Schools… Enough so that each person should have the opportunity to think things out and realize they are making their own choices. Which brings me to my second point being that Americans are doing what they think they want, we are a first world country because we have achieved so so so much. We build from what we work for. We are a complex human breed. Think of third world countries who aren’t given the opportunity to grow, they have to make the best out of what they have though they work just as hard. Tribes that live off the land with little governing have the opportunities to live simply but still face risks and fears everyday. Who really does have it better? How can we really complain? What can we do to make it better for anyone but ourselves? Or simply, we can’t make it better for anyone unless first we make it better for ourselves. So does realizing that there are men in charge controlling the way things are handled bother you because you are jealous? Do you want to have that kind of power and if you had it do you think you’d use it better? How? Why don’t you now? I’m just saying yes we are all manipulated but we aren’t alone, we still have to make our own choices, recognize when we aren’t happy, and make necessary changes. Bottom line, we shouldn’t live in fear. Fearing the government doesn’t make our lives any easier. Being in charge of our own lives and accepting no matte what we will never nor should we try to control everything. We are only human, we can’t control everything not should we want to. If something is bothering us then we must weed it out and plant something new. We must be aware of our own situations and by recognizing also what is going on around us then we can make better changes. This article made me realize that I have to be there for myself, like many Americans are capable of being, but by caring for myself I realize I have too much love to not want to keep it all to myself. If I see pain and suffering I will live to share it. That is simply the natural way. If your going to live in fear that you don’t have enough control over your life then your only going to hurt the worlds condition more. More people need to learn to trust themselves again in order to open themselves up to helping others to take back their rights to self sovereignty. Thank you for this article because it has given me te opportunity to channel my own beliefs that I long to share with others who are in need of change. I just wish that with this power of awareness we were able to do more, like end suffering, but hopefully what I have shared here helps others to figure out a way for themselves. I do my part by being true to myself and applying what I’ve learned from those who have cared about me. I am lucky. I’ve finished all my schooling, received a bachelors degree, have the option to continue my schooling or do what I can with what I have. It is easy to get persuaded into doing things whether they are for better or worse, but what’s the problem with that? The problem lies in whether or not it was our own choice, for when we don’t make our own choices is when we should complain and if that’s the case we are merely complaining about ourselves anyway… We can only change ourselves. Be the captain of your own ship, the stars as your map. That’s my philosophy, live romantically. Don’t judge but love and live. Remember your childlike essence that was punished for doing wrong and had to learn from his/her mistakes? They lay within, we should never stop learning from our mistakes. If we never go to school we still live lives full of lessons. It doesn’t matter where your from nobody has it better or worse when your considering the powers that be, for no matter what YOU are that power to be. Be it a slave, a prisoner, a teacher, a governor you are in control of your destiny. Take advantage of what you are given to seed your own garden of Eden.