Corporate Domination of the Media

In his 1989 book Culture, Inc., media scholar Herbert Schiller offers a political-economic analysis of the negative influences and consequences of giant corporations domination of the media and the cultural domain, in the U.S. and internationally. The subtitle of the book, "The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression," expresses Schiller's passionate premise of the dangerous effects of 50 years of corporate growth and mergers on American culture - from the press, to TV, new technologies, to movies, performing arts centers, public broadcasting stations, museums, and even shopping malls. The danger of this trend, according to Schiller, is a world completely dominated by consumerist values and commercial principles in which information is regarded as a private realm rather than as a public good. A bland, uniform Infotainment replaces the free flow of information and diverse ideas. The source of this problem is "the corporate organization of society" (p. 9). The major intention of the book, as stated by Schiller, is to analyze the impact of expanded corporate power "on the social landscape - especially the cultural activity and the visions that sustain a people" (p. 3).

The main themes of the book center on how democracy is weakened by media centralization and the expansion of commercialization into all areas of life; the result is a manipulation of consciousness that limits individual expressiveness. According to Schiller, the "growth of private corporate power is seen as the



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