Do the “Big 5” control what we think?

Do the “Big 5” control what we think? Slate’s Jack Shafer makes the case they (TW, Viacom, News Corp, Disney, Bertlesmann) don’t.


For all the Big Five’s alleged powers of mind control, consider the list of influential news organizations besides the Big Four Newspapers they don’t control. The top newspaper chains: Gannett, Knight Ridder, Cox, Scripps, McClatchy, Landmark, Copley, Newhouse, Freedom, Hearst, MediaNews, and Tribune. The Boston Globe. Newsweek. The various flavors of NBC News. The New Yorker and Conde Nast’s other titles. PBS. NPR. Reuters. AFP. AP. Bloomberg. U.S. News & World Report. Pearson. Hachette Filipacchi. The Atlantic. The Economist. And scores of local TV stations.

In the U.S., the “Five” own no major newspapers save News Corp’s NY Post…and, well, we all know:

If anybody decides what most citizens learn, it’s the agenda-setting editors at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. The TV news would go dark if it couldn’t crib from the Big Four Newspapers. NPR’s Morning Edition would fall mute. The newsweeklies would have to run more cover stories on ice cream, dreams, and guides to colleges.