Posts tagged General Electric

Media Hegemonies/Mapping Who Owns What – [.GE.stays.in.the.fight.]

Here I am, reading the back of my ‘Red Lobster’ gift card, “it may also be used at…” naming off other restaurants owned by GMRI. This of course followed my drive home today to see ‘The Barn’ grocery store sign gone, and ‘The Dominion’ replaced by ‘Metro.’ What is going on? How the heck are all these small businesses being bought out and owned by one huge corporation? All we know is that these corporations somehow “shape and control the opinions we hear.” [1]

 As a fan of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I know that you can take any word and find its Greek roots. In this case, hegemony relates back to the Greek verb “to lead.” As discussed in previous blogs, we know that hegemony refers to the power of a single group that essentially leads and dictates the other groups of the same society. [2] When I say it like this, hegemony definitely seems like a communist kind of living, but it isn’t necessarily like that. I am referring to the control of the media, and how there are certain influences on what shows get aired and cancelled, what magazines pictures are too provocative, and even the censoring of certain movies. The interesting thing is that it is often the same company making the important decisions with the same reasons and biases. How is possible for one company to gain so much power?   

When someone talks about General Electric (GE), I immediately think home appliances. HA! Little did I know, GE is an enormous corporation with a huge amount of power. They have many products and are part of services that never seemed imaginable for a company that combined with Thomas Edison’s company way back when. I like charts, so I created one just to show how involved GE is with the world, even for a United States run business. [3] 

GE

My chart only touched the surface of all the GE owned businesses. Check out this awesome site to see a long list of GE holdings, as well as a timeline of the corporation up to 2003. (http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=ge)

In the world, GE is ranked as thirteenth for companies with the greatest market capitalization. Funny thing, they actually ranked third closer to the beginning of 2008. [4] Interesting how certain companies rise and fall like that! *snaps fingers* Losing a high rank is sometimes as easy as it was to gain. But with all these corporations being multi-owners, it really takes away from the “diversity of editorial voices in the same market.”[5] It’s like having 4 group members. They may all contribute equally and have great ideas, but the louder and more popular group member will gain the attention and even more popularity. The same idea applies for cross media ownership.    

The idea of all these companies trying to make it to the top has to do with the ‘rip, mix, burn’ theory proposed by Lessig. [6] Companies know what the public wants. The only thing that determines the difference is the way of delivering their findings. They rip the culture around them, mix their ideas into something new and creative, then burn it into the culture the best they can. Cultures all around the world get involved, even if the media isn’t actually going on in that country. In China, teens spoke against “the Western Goebbels’ Nazi media” because of the supposed distortion in the Western’s coverage of a certain event. [7] All in all, if you watch one news station, or only read one newspaper, you’re not getting the news. You are merely getting the facts in the way they want to be heard.

[1] Manufacturing Consent. Perf. Noam Chomsky. 1992.

 

[2] Ellis-Christensen, Tricia. What is Hegemony? 2003. WiseGEEK. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-hegemony.htm&gt;.

 

[3] Media Giants: Who owns what? July 2004. Think & Ask. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.thinkandask.com/news/mediagiants.html&gt;.

 

[4] Stock Screener. Nov. 2008. Yahoo! Finance. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://screen.yahoo.com/b?mc=100000000/&b=1&z=mc&db=stocks&vw=1&gt;.

 

[5] CRTC imposes cross-media ownership restrictions. 15 Jan. 2008. CBC News. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2008/01/15/crtc.html&gt;.

 

[6] Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 2005. 24.

 

[7] Students rap media ‘hegemony’ 26 Mar. 2008. CHINAdaily. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-03/26/content_6565420.htm&gt;.

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