The transnational media corporation (TNMC) is a type of transnational corporation (TNC) that sells information and entertainment. According to Gershon (2007), “The TNMC is the most powerful economic force for global media activity in the world today,” (p. 56). TNMC is important for global capitalism, as it enables international free market trade, the use of advanced media and information technology. Gershon says that it’s a myth that most TNMCs operate in most markets around the world. The truth is that many of them work in their home or preferred market.
I do not think that TNMCs’ regulation can create an environment that is conducive for a free marketplace of ideas. Napoli (2011) says that the regulatory environment has a tremendous affect on media. Over the past 30 years we have seen a trend towards deregulation of media, given the rapid growth of cable, satellite television, the Internet and satellite radio. I believe that this deregulation of media has contributed to an environment that allows a free marketplace of ideas. The regulation of media is paradoxical to a free marketplace of ideas. Regulation is the attempt to control the media through the government (Media regulation, n.d.). I feel that the media should have less regulation, not more.
There are two basic categories for deregulation and media: structural and behavioral. Structural regulation is basically centered on media ownership. The benefit to structural regulation is to help promote competition in the marketplace. Behavioral regulation is directed towards the media content. These regulations include restrictions on foul language, violence and sexual activity in media content. These regulations can help protect children from adult content. Structural and behavioral regulations are aimed at preserving and promoting diversity and pluralism. Pluralism goes beyond diversity, as it’s based on actively seeking to understand other cultures and religions (Eck, n.d.).
In some ways, structural regulation can help the free marketplace, as it prevents a monopoly from one company. However, some also argue that structural regulation is just another method to achieve behavioral regulation. I agree with Napoli (2011), that the absence of structural and behavioral regulation is the most conducive for a free marketplace. By the government not interfering with the content or structure of media, it allows for anyone to have a seat at the table for promoting their ideas. By not regulating the content on TV shows or the radio, individuals are free to express their opinions and ideas in ways that resonate with their audience.
I think that TNMCs’ the structural deregulation strategies will continue to be successful with new media. Napoli (2011) states that over the years there has been a loosening of both horizontal and vertical ownership restrictions in both TV and radio. I believe that new media will continue to allow the loosening of these strings. I believe this because the Internet allows anyone to be a publisher and writer, thereby contributing content. It would be extremely difficult to regulate all of these sources. Napoli says that the continuation of the deregulation has contributed towards the rise of the modern, global, multiple platform environments.
However, I have mixed opinions about the role that TNMCs’ behavioral deregulation strategies will take hold in the new media environment. On one hand, behavioral regulation strategies are more feasible in the new media environment because it will be difficult to regulate content with the plethora of information out there. Behavioral deregulation has been occurring slowly over the years, although at a slower pace than structural deregulation.
On the other hand, the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine has made it more difficult to understand the “truth” in news. The Fairness Doctrine required balanced coverage of controversial issues. Also, the Communications Act of 1934 also ensured that commercial broadcaster served the public interest (AbbyMediaRoots, 2009). However, in today’s environment, news coverage is often presented with a bias. The same news story can be presented in a multitude of ways, with different perspectives, making it difficult for the consumer to understand the real “truth”. Take for example, the difference between the news reported between Fox News, ABC News and MSNBC. I viewed all three of these media conglomerates websites and their daily headlines varied significantly. On August 31, 2014, the headline for FoxNews.com read “Cruz calls for US to bomb Islamic State jihadists ‘back to the Stone Age’,” (FoxNews.com, 2014). The headline for MSNBC read Top Democrat Feinstein says Obama ‘too cautious’ on ISIS strategy (MSNBC, 2014). The headline for ABCNews read “Joan Rivers family keeping ‘our fingers crossed’ for iconic comedian” (ABCNews, 2014). You can tell the news program’s viewpoint just by the headlines. My concern is that without any regulation of The Fairness Doctrine, news corporations will only report what is important to their advertisers and shade news with what they think will help them gain the most viewers and revenue. However, on the flip side of this, I think that freedom from government regulation is more important than the risk of biased news. As consumers, it’s our responsibility to pay attention, obtain our news from a variety of sources and derive our own opinions based on the facts.
What do you think? Is it more important for media to be deregulated so the government doesn’t control what is reported or for regulation to help ensure that we are presented with unbiased, factual information?
AbbyMediaRoots [Screen name]. (2009, December 16). Media deregulation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_f7s2p1dS0
ABCNews (2014, August 31). ABCNews.com. Joan Rivers family keeping ‘our fingers crossed’ for iconic comedian. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/joan-rivers-family-keeping-fingers-crossed-iconic-comedian/story?id=25197261
Eck, D. (n.d.) The Pluralism Project. Pluralism.org. Retrieved from http://www.pluralism.org/pluralism/what_is_pluralism
Free Market. Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market.
Media regulation. Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_regulation
FoxNews.com (2014, August 31). Cruz calls for US to bomb Islamic State jihadists ‘back to the Stone Age’. FoxNews. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/cruz-fires-up-conservatives-says-bomb-islamic-state-back-to-stone-age/
Gershon, R. A. (2007). The transnational media corporation and the economics of global competition. In Y. Kamalipour (Ed.), Global Communication (pp. 55-78). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Muller, S. (2014, August 31). MSNBC. Top Democrat Feinstein says Obama ‘too cautious’ on ISIS strategy. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/top-democrat-feinstein-says-obama-too-cautious-isis-strategy
Napoli, P. (2011) Global deregulation and media corporations. In M. Deuze (Ed.), Managing Media Work. Sage Publications, Inc. (pp. 73-85). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.