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. [...]
[...] Advertisers naturally want their ads to appear in an environment that is supportive of their interests. This ensures the marginalization or outright failure of media outlets whose content promotes the interests of the poor and working class or the politically radical. Still, advocates of unregulated free market, such as George Melloan of the Wall Street Journal, argue that the advertising process is democratic because media content must appeal to a large segment of the public in order to generate advertising interest (2002). [...]
[...] Hart, Peter (2005), Media Bias: How to Spot it And How to Fight it. In Robert McChesney, Russell Newman and Ben Scott (Eds.), The Future of Media (pp.51- 61). New York: Seven Stories Press. Herman, Edward S. and Chomsky, Noam (1988), Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books. Jackson, Janine (2007), Fear and Favor 2006— The Seventh Annual Report: Encroachment Without Apology. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3132. Jackson, Janine and Hollar, Julie and Goldstein, Hilary (2006), Fear and Favor 2005-- The Sixth Annual Report: Outside (and Inside) Influence on News. [...]
[...] Modern capitalist theory seems to suggest that the free press clause ensures an individual's right to use media however he or she chooses, free from government interference with his or her commercial pursuits. In fact, “competitive capitalism” is largely based around the belief that the freedom of a completely unregulated market economy is the basis for all political freedoms (Friedman pp.48-56). Advocates of corporate capitalism argue that the producers of media content can most freely disseminate it through free markets. [...]
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