Media Reform Information Center

Links and Resources on Media Reform

Media Reform Groups | Articles/Books | PR/Advertising/Commercialism | The Media Monopoly | Radio | TV/Cable | Internet | Alternative Media | Investigative Journalism | Progressive Media | Progressive Book Publishers | Mainstream Media

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called “alarmist” for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote “in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media” — controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market.

In 2004, Bagdikian’s revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.

Media Reform Advocacy Groups

Media Reform Articles/Books:

Public Relations/Advertising/Commercialism

The Media Monopoly / Corporate Media Ownership

  • The New Media Monopoly (new 2004 version of Ben Bagdikian’s book, revised with 7 new chapters)
  • The Big Ten (chart of the 10 largest media corporations and their holdings, The Nation, Jan 2002)
  • Who Owns What (comprehensive list of media ownership by the Columbia Journalism Review)
  • Global Concentration: The Media Ownership Chart
  • Networks of Influence: The political power of the communications industry (book available from Center for Public Integrity)
  • Well Connected: Tracking the Players in Telecommunications, Media and Technology (from the Center for Public Integrity)
  • Mega-Media’s Interlocking Directorates (FAIR, June 2001)
  • Consumers Union testimony before the U.S. Senate on Media Concentration (7/17/2001)
  • Media Industry Efforts to Eliminate and Weaken the Ownership Rules: What it Means for the Public and the Future of the Internet
  • PBS’s Media Giants Site
  • Mega-Mergers in the Telecommunications Industry (up to 1997)
  • Democratic Media Legal Project to Challenge Media Monopoly
  • Clear Channel Sucks (website takes on entertainment giant)
  • OutFOXed (documentary on right-wing bias of Fox News)
  • Pappas Telecasting (right-wing advocacy)
  • Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group / Sinclair Action (right-wing advocacy)
  • Inkywatch (monitoring the Philadelphia Inquirer for bias and deception)

Radio (low-power / microradio)

Television Media Reform / Cable Access

  • Center for Screen-Time Awareness(Coordinators of TV-Turnoff Week; check out their TV Fact Sheets)
    • TV Facts
    • May 1999 Congressional Testimony of Henry Labalme, Executive Director of TV-Free America

      “Millions of Americans are so hooked on television that they fit the criteria for substance abuse as defined in the official psychiatric manual, according to Rutgers University psychologist Robert Kubey. Heavy TV viewers exhibit six dependency symptoms–two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These include using TV as a sedative; indiscriminate viewing; feeling loss of control while viewing; feeling angry with oneself for watching so much; inability to stop watching; and suffering withdrawal when forced to stop watching TV.”

  • Alliance for Better Campaigns (seeking reduced cost air-time for political candidates)
  • Alliance for Community Media (fighting for public, educational & governmental access cable TV channels)
  • Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting
  • Mental Engineering (public broadcasting TV show on dissecting television commercials)
  • Excerpts from the book: Four Arguments for The Elimination of Television
  • Kill Your Television Home Page
  • TV Alters Brain Waves! (from Test Card F)
  • TV & Brainwashing (more on TV, brain waves and advertising)
  • TV: Opiate of the Masses
  • Smash Your TV Set
  • Video Activist Network

Internet / Open Access / Digital Divide

Independent/Alternative Media Advocates

Resources for Investigative Journalism & Reporters

Progressive Media Outlets:

Alternative / Progressive Book Publishers

Where the (Mainstream) Media is…