News i8, is an independently owned and operated web site. We spent a year checking out daily RSS news feeds from major news sources, and based on timing of headlines and topics, we reached the conclusion that, despite denials, some centralized major news control in the USA may indeed be a reality.
Consolidation of media has created the potential for a few corporations to have significant control over the flow of information. This could also include a flow of disinformation.
The last time we checked, the few corporations that have significant control over the flow of US news information are:
1. Comcast Corporation: Comcast is the largest cable television provider in the US and also owns NBCUniversal, which includes NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC.
2. The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company owns ABC News, ESPN, and several other cable television networks.
3. ViacomCBS: ViacomCBS owns CBS News, CNN, and other television networks.
4. News Corp: News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, owns Fox News and several other television networks, newspapers, and digital media outlets.
5. AT&T: AT&T owns WarnerMedia, which includes CNN, HBO, and several other television networks.
These corporations do/did control a significant portion of US news information, including television broadcasts, online news websites, and other media outlets.
While major media outlets dominate the market, there are still many outlets, both large and small, that offer diverse viewpoints and coverage.
A “balanced news diet” should include a daily helping from independent sources, one might therefore think.
Take a look at these top 20 independent news sources supposedly not funded by a large media corporation. Each one’s claimed funding source is listed:
1. ProPublica – funded primarily by philanthropic foundations and donations from individuals
2. The Center for Public Integrity – funded by philanthropic foundations, individual donors, and earned revenue
3. The Intercept – funded by a combination of venture capital and individual donations
4. Mother Jones – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
5. The Nation – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
6. The New Republic – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
7. The American Conservative – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
8. The Washington Monthly – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
9. Raw Story – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
10. The Conversation US – funded by a combination of institutional partners, individual donors, and earned revenue
11. The Daily Beast – funded by a combination of advertising revenue and investor funding
12. Democracy Now! – funded primarily by individual donations and grants from philanthropic foundations
13. In These Times – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
14. The Progressive – funded primarily by individual donations and subscriptions
15. Jacobin – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
16. CounterPunch – funded primarily by individual donations
17. Truthout – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
18. Common Dreams – funded by individual donations and grants from philanthropic foundations
19. TomDispatch – funded by a combination of individual donations and earned revenue
20. The New Internationalist – funded primarily by subscriptions and advertising revenue.
Who are the philanthropic foundations supporting some independent news outlets?
There are several philanthropic foundations supporting independent news outlets. Some of them are:
1. Knight Foundation: The Knight Foundation is a leading supporter of journalism in the United States. It provides funding to news organizations that focus on innovation, digital transformation, and audience engagement.
2. Ford Foundation: The Ford Foundation is committed to promoting social justice and promoting democracy. It supports independent news organizations that cover issues related to social justice and human rights.
3. Open Society Foundations: The Open Society Foundations is a network of philanthropic organizations that support independent media outlets globally. It has funded media organizations that report on human rights, social justice, and good governance.
4. MacArthur Foundation: The MacArthur Foundation supports independent journalism and has funded reporting on issues such as climate change, criminal justice, and global migration.
5. The Democracy Fund: The Democracy Fund supports independent news organizations that cover issues related to democracy, accountability, and governance. It also funds research and initiatives aimed at improving the quality of journalism.
Links between philanthropic foundations supporting news outlets and large media corporations are often complex. On one hand, philanthropic foundations may support independent news outlets or fund investigative journalism projects that serve to hold powerful organizations, including media corporations, accountable. On the other hand, philanthropic foundations may also provide funding to media corporations themselves, which can create conflicts of interest or concerns about editorial independence.
Ultimately, while philanthropic foundations can play an important role in supporting independent journalism and promoting transparency and accountability, it is important to carefully consider that conflicts of interest arise, for example, when these foundations partner with large media corporations.
In other words, the illusion of independence may at times be a shell game.
Who owns the US news? Fewer and fewer individuals. Therefore, at this late stage in the game, News i8 recommends considering every source and every newsstory with a carefully applied measure of skepticism.