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Mass Media: Conservative or Liberal?

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Both Republicans and Democrats alike have often claimed that the media is heavily biased against them. But which side is telling the truth? While certainly not a perfect indicator of the media’s overall political affiliation, we can look at the political contributions of the largest media conglomerates to figure out where their allegiances fall. If we follow the money, it ends up there is a considerable amount of truth to Republican claims about a ‘Liberal Media’.

Free Press, a non-partisan watchdog organization, looked at who owns the biggest chunks of TV and Radio media. [1]

Startlingly enough, it seems like most of our airwaves are controlled by only nine conglomerates. Some of these conglomerates are household names, such as Time Warner, Comcast, and Bain Capital.

 Using data gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group dedicated to tracking where political contributions go, it becomes obvious that the overwhelming majority of these conglomerates prefer funding Democrats over Republicans. [2] In fact, in the year 2012 only Bain Capital and the CBS Corporation donated significantly more to Republicans than to Democrats. [3]
[4]
As for News Corp, Time Warner, Comcast, and Walt Disney Co., political contributions to Democrats were “roughly ten times the amount” of donations made to Republicans. [4]

While not as pronounced of a difference, the Tribune Company gave almost twice as much funding to Democrats instead of Republicans. [5] Similarly the Washington Post Co. preferred funding Democrats over Republicans. [6]

In opposition to all this but not as dedicated as Bain Capital or the CBS Corporation, Vaicom only donated more to Republicans by a very slim margin. [7]


Media Provider

Who Do They Support More?

Bain Capital

Republicans

News Corp.

Democrats

Tribune Company

Democrats

Time Warner

Democrats

Comcast Corporation

Democrats

Viacom

Republicans*

CBS Corporation

Republicans

Walt Disney Company

Democrats

The Washington Post Co.

Democrats

*Viacom just barely supported Republicans over Democrats

It should be noted that while Bain Capital, the CBS Corporation, and Vaicom donated more money to Republicans, they also donated sums of money that are by no means paltry to the Democrats as well. In fact all of these conglomerates played both sides, probably in order to avoid a harsh political fallout given the loss of their preferred party. Of special notice should be the fact that News Corp, the owner of famed conservative media sources such as Fox News and The Glenn Beck Show still donated a ridiculous amount of money to Democrats. It seems like they have completely forgotten who their real supporters are.

So, if we follow the money it becomes quite reasonable to assert that media providers give the majority of their support to Democrats. Out of the nine major media conglomerates that control most what Americans see on TV and hear on the radio, six gave most of their support to Democrats. Even out of the three conglomerates that funded Republicans more, one just barely gave enough to qualify as a Republican supporter. Viacom might be more accurately considered a mere opportunist, not truly dedicated to either party. As to whether or not the financial support of media conglomerates is also reflected in the content they provide to consumers, I can’t say. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

This post was submitted by Abul Y. Azam.

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