I’ve asked the question “does the government control the media?”, but it’s honestly a little hard to delve into this topic without wandering into dangerous “conspiracy theory” waters. Research on this topic is especially difficult, but what’s really interesting is that in many cases, the link between the government and the vast majority of media in the United States can be clearly observed. Russia Today reported in May 2014 in an article titled “How Five American Companies Control What you Think” that 90% of media in the United States is generated by subsidiaries of five massive media conglomerates: Time-Warner, Disney, News Corp, Viacom, and Bertelsmann. This is worrying enough, but alledgedly, the owners and higher-ups in these corporations are almost always linked in some way to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). This non-profit organization was mentioned in an article published by Inter Press News Agency, which called it the “most highly influential foreign-policy think tank.” This organization has been notoriously populated by United States government officials and media conglomerate owners, creating a very worrisome situation.
Conspiracy theorists have speculated to all ends of the spectrum, including that the CFR is plotting to create a single world government. While that might not all be true, the close correlation between the media conglomerates and government officials, as well as their common connection with an organization that essentially has the power to greatly influence public thought on foreign relations is cause for concern. Does the government control the media? Maybe. (Probably?) Surely, the United States isn’t as poorly off media-wise as places like China – or even free states like South Korea. But the trends would support a growing domination of the media by fewer and fewer people. Eventually, that twice-removed link of the government and media might easily be removed, as more and more middle men find themselves out of the picture.