Western media is the mass media of the Western world. During the
Cold War, it portrayed itself as a counterpoint to the monopolistic,
state-owned media of the Soviet Union. It has been claimed that in
the former East Germany, over 91% of the population perceived Western
media outlets to be more reliable than domestic media outlets.
Western media has gradually expanded into developing countries,
with significant news coverage focused on various alleged human rights
issues in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific
Islands. In countries claimed to be authoritarian regimes, exposure to
Western media is generally considered by its supporters to be a
measure of political openness.
In spite of its claimed openness,
Western media has been demonstrated
to contain biased material or coverage of certain countries or groups,
usually aligning itself with staunch criticisms of those countries
still independent of Western interests, and dismissing human rights
abuses against nationalities by Western countries and their allies.
2.1 Global coverage
2.2 Press freedom
Western media outlets
5 United States
5.1 Recent media mergers in the United States
5.2 The "Big Six"
5.3 American public distrust in the media
6 Notable examples
7 See also
The roots of the
Western media can be traced back to the late 15th
century, when printing presses began to operate throughout Western
Europe. The emergence of news media in the 17th century has to be seen
in close connection with the spread of the printing press, from which
the publishing press derives its name.
In Britain, newspapers developed during a period of political upheavel
that challenged the absolute rule of the English Monarchy. In 1641,
newspapers were allowed to publish domestic news for the first
time. Despite strict controls placed by the political elite on the
print media to restrict the expansion of the press, the print industry
continued to grow. By the late 18th century, over 10 million
newspapers were distributed annually in Britain alone.
One of the earliest instances of media manipulation in the Western
media occurred during the
Boer Wars. In the media of the United
Boer settlers were portrayed as farmers fighting to
regain their lands. From 1904 to 1915, the British were responsible
for censorship in Canadian media, where criticism of the army of navy
was not allowed. During World War I, Canadian authorities banned a
total of 253 publications, of which 93 were deemed to be
Marxist-oriented. The practice of censorship in the United States
began during World War I, where war correspondents accompanied
military forces, and their reports were subject to advance censorship
to preserve military secrets. During World War II, the Office of
Censorship assumed broader responsibility for the clearance of war
news to newspapers and radio stations in the United States.
In order to influence public opinion, the British Security
Coordination was set up in 1940 to control news coverage in major
American media outlets such as the Herald Tribune, the New York Post,
The Baltimore Sun, and Radio New York Worldwide. As a massive
propaganda campaign, fictional anti-German stories were disseminated
Rockefeller Center in New York City. These fabricated stories
were legitimately picked up by other radio stations and newspapers,
before being relayed to the American public.
During the Cold War,
Western media outlets were gradually accepted as
a trustworthy and reliable source of news. In former East Germany,
over 91% of the population perceived
Western media outlets to be more
reliable than domestic media outlets.
In recent years, many
Western media outlets have seen their
circulation figures stagnate.
In 2011, "The Protester" was named "Person of the Year" by Time
magazine, one of the most influential magazines in the Western world
Africa – According to one study in 1997,
Western media coverage of
the African continent has been noted to be exceptionally negative, and
generally limited to regions of conflict.
Middle East – Between 1984 and 1998,
Western media coverage of the
region increased, and became more positive after the initiation of the
First Intifada and the implementation of the Oslo I Accord. It has
been claimed that past representations of Arabs in
Western media have
relied heavily on racial myths and stereotypes.
Asia – The number of stories and reports featuring
increased dramatically in the
Western media since Asia's emerging
markets continued to lead and remain major driver of global economic
growth following the late 2000s financial crisis.
One of the characteristics of
Western media outlets is that they tend
to be independently-run. Top scoring countries in the Press Freedom
Western media outlets
Under growing financial pressure, many
Western media oulets have begun
to layoff their reporting staff in regions such as Asia. At the same
time, a growing demand for non-Western news perspectives has been
Al Jazeera and
Press TV cited as some of the most
prominent examples of a non-
Western media outlet.
In 2013, the Russian television network RT became the first TV news
channel to log a billion views on the video sharing platform YouTube.
According to the
Broadcasters' Audience Research Board
Broadcasters' Audience Research Board between 2.25
and 2.5 million Britons tuned their televisions to RT during the
second half of 2012, making it the third-most watched rolling news
channel in Britain, behind
BBC News and Sky News.
2014 Kunming attack
2014 Kunming attack event, many major western media
outlets covering the event with the quotation marks around the word
"terrorism", some in the article’s headline, some in the body and
some in both. China accused Western commentators, with their
focus on Uighur rights, of hypocrisy and double standards on
Russian media often claims that
Western media is biased.
Main article: Media cross-ownership in the United States
In the United States, movie production is known to be dominated by
major studios since the early 20th Century; before that, there was a
period in which Edison's Trust monopolized the industry. The music and
television industries recently witnessed cases of media consolidation,
with Sony Music Entertainment's parent company merging their music
division with Bertelsmann AG's BMG to form
Sony BMG and Tribune's The
UPN merging to form The CW. In the case of Sony
BMG, there existed a "Big Five" (now "Big Four") of major record
companies, while The CW's creation was an attempt to consolidate
ratings and stand up to the "Big Four" of American network
(terrestrial) television (this despite the fact that the CW was, in
fact, partially owned by one of the Big Four in CBS). In television,
the vast majority of broadcast and basic cable networks, over a
hundred in all, are controlled by eight corporations: News Corporation
(the Fox family of channels),
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company (which includes
ESPN and Disney brands),
National Amusements (which includes
CBS Corporation and Viacom),
Comcast (which includes the
Time Warner, Discovery Communications, E. W. Scripps Company,
Cablevision, or some combination thereof.
There may also be some large-scale owners in an industry that are not
the causes of monopoly or oligopoly. Clear Channel Communications,
especially since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, acquired many
radio stations across the United States, and came to own more than
1,200 stations. However, the radio broadcasting industry in the United
States and elsewhere can be regarded as oligopolistic regardless of
the existence of such a player. Because radio stations are local in
reach, each licensed a specific part of spectrum by the FCC in a
specific local area, any local market is served by a limited number of
stations. In most countries, this system of licensing makes many
markets local oligopolies. The similar market structure exists for
television broadcasting, cable systems and newspaper industries, all
of which are characterized by the existence of large-scale owners.
Concentration of ownership is often found in these industries.
In the United States, data on ownership and market share of media
companies is not held in the public domain.
Recent media mergers in the United States
Over time the amount of media merging has increased and the amount of
media outlets have increased. That translates to fewer companies
owning more media outlets, increasing the concentration of ownership.
In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by fifty companies; today, 90%
is controlled by just six companies.
The "Big Six"
The Big Six
NBCUniversal (a joint venture with
General Electric from 2011 to
NBC and Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, 26
television stations in the
United States and cable networks USA
Network, Bravo, CNBC, The Weather Channel, MSNBC, Syfy, NBCSN, Golf
Channel, Esquire Network, E!, Cloo, Chiller,
Universal HD and the
Comcast SportsNet regional system.
Comcast also owns the Philadelphia
Flyers through a separate subsidiary.
The Walt Disney Company
Holdings include: ABC Television Network, cable networks ESPN, the
Disney Channel, A&E and Lifetime, approximately 30 radio stations,
music, video game, and book publishing companies, production companies
Touchstone, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Pictures,
Pixar Animation Studios, the cellular service Disney Mobile, Disney
Consumer Products and Interactive Media, and theme parks in several
countries. Also has a longstanding partnership with Hearst
Corporation, which owns additional TV stations, newspapers, magazines,
and stakes in several Disney television ventures.
Holdings include: the Fox Broadcasting Company; cable networks Fox
News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2,
National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, FX, FXX, FX Movie Channel, and the
regional Fox Sports Networks; print publications including the Wall
Street Journal and the New York Post; the magazines Barron's and
SmartMoney; book publisher HarperCollins; film production companies
20th Century Fox,
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Studios. As of
News Corporation was split into two separate companies,
with publishing assets and Australian media assets going to News Corp,
and broadcasting and media assets going to 21st Century Fox.
$40.5 billion ($8.6 billion
News Corp and $31.9 billion 21st Century
Formerly the largest media conglomerate in the world, with holdings
including: CNN, the CW (a joint venture with CBS), HBO, Cinemax,
Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, HLN, NBA TV, TBS, TNT, truTV, Turner
Classic Movies, Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock, DC Comics, Warner
Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and New Line Cinema.
Holdings include: MTV, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, VH1, BET, Comedy
Central, Paramount Pictures, and Paramount Home Entertainment.
CBS Television Network and the CW (a joint venture
with Time Warner), cable networks
CBS Sports Network, Showtime, TVGN;
30 television stations;
CBS Radio, Inc., which has 130 stations; CBS
Television Studios; book publisher Simon & Schuster.
CBS Corporation have been separate companies since
2006, they are both partially owned subsidiaries of the private
National Amusements company, headed by Sumner Redstone. As such,
Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment handles DVD/Blu-ray distribution for most
CBS Corporation library.
American public distrust in the media
A 2012 Gallup poll found that Americans' distrust in the mass media
had hit a new high, with 60% saying they had little or no trust in the
mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust
had increased since the previous few years, when Americans were
already more negative about the media than they had been in the years
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Sydney Morning Herald
CTV Television Network
The Globe and Mail
Le Nouvel Observateur
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The Jerusalem Post
Times of Israel
Yonhap News Agency
Central News Agency
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Wall Street Journal
Big Three television networks
Freedom of speech
Freedom of the press
Lists of corporate assets
Local News Service
Media cross-ownership in the United States
Monopolies of knowledge
Partido da Imprensa Golpista
Prometheus Radio Project
State controlled media
Telecommunications Act of 1996
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Western world and culture
Early modern period