I am going through the classic five stages of grief upon learning that National Geographic is now the latest member of Rupert Murdoch’s ever-expanding media empire.
So far, I am at the stage of depression.
I’m not sure if I will make it to the final stage—acceptance—because it just seems too much to swallow.
From the comments in my Newsfeed, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
All clever jokes aside—including those about how we can now expect the National Geographic to feature reality stars and FOX News personalities—the recent acquisition is a sobering reminder of just how consolidated our media is becoming and how most of us rely on only a few multinational, money-making corporations for most of our news.
This is bad news for anyone interested in journalism or the future of the so-called Fourth Estate.
Corporations by their very nature are not beholden to principles like truth, accuracy or even good news. Their primary concern is their shareholders. Anyone who doubts this can just turn on any so-called “hard news” channel and see the very disturbing trend of entertainment passing as hard news.
Even worse are the stories that aren’t reported, because they conflict with corporate interests.
It’s something that has been going on for a while. I first became aware of it in my sophomore year at college, where, as a political science major, I enrolled on in a course on politics and the media.
Back then, the warnings about the loss of independent media went largely unheard. (Sometimes I wonder whether there may have been more awareness if we had social media back then.)
Even though I happened to be more aware than most, I admit that I wasn’t as concerned as I should have because I never envisioned it getting worse.
However, it has gotten worse—much worse.
Back in 1998, Saturday Night Live aired an animated short about this.
The short, which was created by Robert Smigel, was a parody of the classic School House Rock spots. It only aired once and appears have been removed from syndication.
Despite the fact that it is 16 years old, it is still very relevant.
Indeed, it may be even more relevant today than it was then.
Take a look for yourself:
Author: Kimberley Lo
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Surian Soosay/ Flickr