The manner in which top newspapers chose specific stories to present for readership has been a decision left to the editors. This gives them the power to alter the content of articles to fit their ideologies. Whereas the Times had no right to exclude my, or anybody’s opinions as part of the content, the media world has been encompassed by a very thin line between ethical standards and fear of legal lawsuits. It is no doubt that Times decided to run contents that they deemed would not generate conflicts with the local politics. Cases of content deletion or changes have been made worse by the murky relationship between the public/private media ownership in the (US Leduc, 2005).
The reasons behind the Times want to only print some opinions and exclude others are based on a number of considerations. The dominant reasons however include insecurity, pressure and hypocrisy. Articles that run against their views and culture are least likely to get space. The fear of changing the order in which things were done within Times has been one of the chief reasons for the omission of sections or total rejections of opinions. Pressure from the changing community needs and achieving profitability levels is likely to see an issue that has nothing to do with the needs of the community receive attention. In addition to the above, whereas content writers of columns in newspapers view the role of the newspapers is to serve the community, the editors mix this role with a tinge of hypocrisy.
Pressure from interest groups is a powerful force in influencing the type of contents that editors pick for their columns. It is seen that critical columns that either question or threaten the very existence of a dominant force within the community are more likely to be treated with caution. The third point is hypocrisy. The management of the media industry and newspaper boardroom, just as big corporations are heavily influenced by the capitalistic nature of the world order that profits and their relationship with the customer overpasses ethical considerations. It is no doubt the Times would allow a column that would generate conflicts of opinions among its core readers to form parts of its contents. The two forces within the media industry that govern the contents they produce therefore revolve around the fear of lawsuits and displeasing the powerful and the influential in the community.
The effect in general that the media has upon opinion formation is so vast (McChesney, 1999) because the readership of newspapers of a caliber such as The Times is huge and impacts on the opinions of the larger population. Opinion formation by the general public is therefore dependent on the current contents thy read. This forms the fundamental reason behind the fact that differing opinions that run against the general media are viewed with contempt and rarely gets a chance to air their opinions. The newspaper industry and the general media are therefore run by arrogance and insincerity when they proclaim to be a bastion of diversity.
One of the biggest influences in changing nature of the patterns of ownership within the media is its abilities to form opinions. According to Meier (2003), when the control of the flow of information, knowledge, values and images is concentrated in the hands of those who share the power of the dominant class, the ruling class will establish what is circulated through the mass media in order to reproduce the structure of class inequalities from which they benefit. This is more reverse when the ownership adopts a more conservative approach to the manner in which they handle their topics. Whereas the government’s involvement revolves around the encouragement of free speech and freedom of expression (McChesney, 2003), this cannot be easily enforced within the media industry. The murky small world of the media industry is too complex to be governed by the encouragement of freedom of expressions simply because it is impossible to detect the flaws within the content pages.
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