Understanding Vested Interests

The media is powerful. They wield so much public opinion influence through stories and interpretation. That is why we have to understand where the mass media stand and the interests they serve so that we can be effective when the media want to talk to us.

Some newspapers have party political allegiances and state them upfront. So, for example, during a national election, it is clear which party they promote. Most media will say that they are unbiased and that they give both sides of the story. Yet we know many cover conflict, for example, in such a way that they mainly give one side of the story and evoke sympathy for that side. We see this in reporting on wars. Mass media can be used to build up massive national sentiment that can deafen the public to other marginalized voices. (Of course, they can also play an anti-war role, if they choose!) “Alternative” non-profit media come in to fill the gap with different perspectives.

We have newspapers, radio and television stations that say they are independent. But they are not always totally independent of advertisers’ financial clout or government pressure, overt or covert.