Growing up I was never really one to sit and watch the news, I enjoyed watching the weather segment but that’s about it. Although we don’t just find news on the TV or newspapers any more, news outlets have spread, as media forms have grown. From online newspapers, magazines to thousands of online news sources, any form of news can be pulled and changed to be fake or untrue. Where does this come from? Who owns this media? This week we explored the topic of Media ownership, who owns it? Does it matter?
Since starting university I have found myself being exposed to more news and news outlets than ever before, one reason being the pandemic taking over the world and the news at the moment. I find myself viewing news sources through Facebook (owned by Mark Zuckerberg) and Twitter (owned by Jack Dorsey) the most, but how reliable are they? Through my Facebook, I like pages such as The Illawarra Mercury (owned by a major shareholder — John Fairfax Ltd) and WIN news (owned by Bruce Gordon through WIN corporation), while at the same time advertisements of news sources of Buzzfeed (owned by Jonah Peretti) and Daily Mail (owned by Jonathan Harmsworth) fill my feed with fake news. So trying to separate real from fake, and what’s reliable and what’s not.
Buzzfeed and Daily Mail are always caught out for supplying “fake news”, slamming celebrities and ‘influences”, coming up with fake stories and incorrect facts. So majority of the news coming out of these sources are unreliable. Although NewsGuard (“The Internet Trust Tool” extension that tracks misinformation sites, had ruled Daily Mail in 2017 as *red* (unreliable) news source, but have recently revoked this and changed back to *green*. Although NewsGuard says “The Daily Mail is actually reliable for some subjects,” (Neiman Lab – Jan 31st, 2019)… the keyword being SOME.
Now.. Rupert Murdoch. A very well known owner of media outlets, sourcing news. Murdoch has created a media empire, after following in his fathers footsteps, taking over the ownership of Adelaide newspapers, the News and the Sunday Mail. Murdoch is also the Fox Corporation chairman. The Guardian reported on Fox News conducting.. “false statements downplaying the prevalence of COVID-19 and its harms; misleading recommendations of activities that people should undertake to protect themselves and others, including casual recommendations of untested drugs; false assessments of the value of measures urged upon the public by their elected political leadership and public health authorities.” (Todd Gitlin, April 9, 2020).
I wanted to use this example as a way to say, It really doesn’t matter who ‘owns’ the media sources. Unreliable sources will always be found and are hard to remove. Be careful of the media platform you are using and research is key.
Gitlin, T. (2020, April 9). Rupert Murdoch, Fox News’ Covid-19 misinformation is a danger to public health | Todd Gitlin and others. Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/09/rupert-murdoch-open-letter-journalists-coronavirus-fox-news
NewsGuard changed its mind about The Daily Mail’s quality: It’s green now, not red. Retrieved April 15, 2020, from https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/01/newsguard-changed-its-mind-about-the-daily-mails-quality-its-green-now-not-red/
Professors, J. (2020, April 9). Open Letter to the Murdochs. Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://medium.com/@journalismprofs/open-letter-to-the-murdochs-9334e775a992