Media Powerlist: ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won it’ – Media ownership gives power to the few

Three big media institutions control over 70% of our media, and four publishers account for 73% of local newspaper titles. News UK; Daily Mail and General Trust PLC and Reach PLC are the big companies that control what we read and why we read it.

This opens the question, how much power do these papers have?

By Molly Clayton

Rupert Murdoch’s News UK is the most popular media company which is currently winning in the circulation war against the other opponents all in the fight to be the bigger and better media giants.

Power is in the hands of these lucky few, rich billionaires and governments.

Rupert Murdoch’s papers makeup 37% of the newspaper market and regularly brag that they help to lead parties to their election victories. Scary.

Elections, referenda’s and also economic debates can favour powerful voices that are behind newspapers. The media tend to serve their politicians and shareholders as opposed to their audiences and the general public.

The National Union of Journalists said, “If we were to do the same at the global level, it would not get much beyond Amazon, Google, YouTube and Facebook. So, despite the proliferation of websites and social media, the power and influence is still very much concentrated in our media.

“The Leveson Inquiry showed exactly how the concentration of media power, in a few pairs of hands, corrupted the relationship between politicians and the press and the police.”

The famous headline “It’s The Sun Wot Won it” which appeared on the front page of The Sun after it supported the Conservatives in the 1992 election opened the question whether the media have this kind of power. Enough power to influence electoral outcomes and political decisions.

Since then, whichever party the tabloid has backed at a general election has gone on to win, with the exception of 2010.

Diagram to show News Corp UK owns 6 UK companies including The Sun

A diagram to show that News Corp UK which Is the most successful media organisation, owns 6 UK companies including The Sun

In 1989, after the Hillsborough disaster, Liverpudlian’s decided to boycott The Sun after it printed the headline, ‘The Truth’ and blamed Liverpool fans for the stadium disaster.

The paper reported that Liverpool fans pickpocketed the dead and urinated on police. This came after 96 Liverpool fans died at the football match.

Despite the paper publishing a full-page apology in 2004 and Chairman James Murdoch making a public apology in 2011, the boycott is still ongoing.

Liverpudlian’s are still full of anger 30 years on and taxis around the city still advertise, ‘Don’t buy The Sun’, so it makes as to why the vast majority of Liverpool voted labour in the last election.

The Sun supported the Tories in the previous 2017 election. Once the result had been counted it was revealed that over 92% of Liverpool voted labour. Could the fact they don’t buy The Sun have anything to do with it?

‘All press is good press’ is something which was proven in the US 2016 general term election. A point that is commonly argued is that Trump won due to him receiving more press than Hilary Clinton. Whether that press was good or bad, it made people vote for him.

The media is most certainly controlled by a minority of people. It means that the majority of the media we read, talk about and remember is controlled by some very powerful individuals.

The debate of the effects is ongoing but evidence points towards the idea that they control us more than we think.

Diagram to show the Daily Mail and General Trust Diagram own 6 UK companies including The Daily Mail

A diagram to show the Daily Mail and General Trust, which is the 2nd most successful media organisation, owns 6 UK companies including The Daily Mail

Diagram to show Reach PLC which is the 3rd most successful media organisation own 6 UK companies including The Daily Mirror

A diagram to show Reach PLC which is the 3rd most successful media organisation, owns 6 UK companies including The Daily Mirror

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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