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Commercial Media as Free Press

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General public
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journalism
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University...

About the document

Stewart W.
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documents in English
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school essay
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4 pages
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  1. Introduction
  2. The functions of mass media
    1. Conflict with democratic functions
    2. Debate over the most democratic way to interpret the free press clause
  3. The U.S. governments injunction against the AP
  4. The consolidation of the AP and Western Union
    1. The sentiment of the Associated Press v. U.S. decision
  5. The Telecommunications Act and 'free market' interpretation
  6. Imperfections in the system
    1. The uneven distribution of resources
    2. The presence of advertising
  7. Advertising based media market
    1. Giving more influence to the economic elite
    2. The book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that, ?Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances? (quoted in McChesney, 2004, p. 26). Ideally, the ?free press? clause ensures that individuals may use the means of mass communication to engage in robust political debate through an open exchange of information and ideas, which must be its primary function in a democratic system of government.

[...] U.S., and hundreds of media studies suggest, the unregulated commercialization of mass media poses certain threats to the public's access to ?information from diverse and antagonistic sources.? A free market economic system is based on the condition that a commercial enterprise, whatever its business, will always act in the sole interest of maximizing profits. Theoretically, this will dictate that it tailor its product to best satisfy the interests of consumers. When its product is ?essential to the welfare? of the consumers, however, these two interests are in conflict. [...]


[...] GE's manager of corporate communication stated, insist on a program environment that reinforces our corporate messages? (Bagdikian p.160). Even if one concludes that the current market system is the most effective way to facilitate the exchange of conventional consumer products, there are certain aspects of media markets that make them drastically different from those of most other industries. These key differences leave commercialized media open to specific criticisms which are independent of any criticisms of the market system as a whole. One such aspect is the mass media's reliance on advertising revenue, as discussed above. [...]


[...] Perhaps more importantly (at least as it relates to media policy), it also invoked the free press clause, stating: The First Amendment, far from providing an argument against application of the Sherman Act, here provides powerful reasons to the contrary. That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford nongovernmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. [...]

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