Capitalism has ruined the news industry. Shocking, I know! Who would have guessed that the publics’ main source of information regarding events on a local to international level should not be controlled by corporations?
There are multiple things wrong with the industry as it is. The first is this idea of “competitive news”. Competition has been a running theme in the promotion of capitalism, claiming that it is constantly pushing people to be better. The story goes that NBC will work harder to gather stories and information if they want to “beat” CNN to the information. However, this creates an endless cycle in which every agency prints or broadcasts the same information, in fear of seeming to be “behind the curve” as it were. This also creates wars over exclusive content, which creates a rift in information for viewers. Certain companies will have sole access to certain groups or the coverage of certain events, which means that only the people who regularly watch or read that company’s news may be in the loop. The industry is already hellbent on splitting up audiences (i.e. the public) for money and now they either punish or reward based on which of the 6 different stations you consume.
Capitialism in news also does the marvelous job of giving us the illusion of choice. We feel like we have all of these options of what to consume when we are reading or watching the news, but factually we don’t. Almost all media, including out news, comes from 6 companies. This isn’t even including situations such as Jeff Bezo’s owning The Washington Post. It’s exhausting to keep up with and impossible to avoid.
The very idea that news has to generate profit is insane when you think about it. Granted, it’s entirely unavoidable as we currently are, but still. We can’t just get pure unadulterated news for the sake of information; there is always an agenda set up to make money. The fact that our current president is a businessman with no previous political experience says more than I could about the state of media.