In an era where media industries seem to be the centre of the technological revolution, the ownership of these industries becomes increasingly important. Within the media ownership is synonymous with control. The decreasing number of people who hold ownership to media industries control the one ideological perspective that is put out. Put it this way, you control the media, you control the beliefs of your audience – as it is the only perspective they have access too.
You could say that Gina Rinehart, the richest person in Australia with a net worth of $9.7 billion dollars has a lot to lose. Particularly in regards to the carbon tax, which former Prime Minister Julia Gillard revealed plans for in early 2011, which would cost Rinehart, who made her fortune through the mining industry a $23/ton price on carbon. Gina, who earns $598 a second, was not very happy about this. You could say its coincidence that the previous year the mining tycoon had taken out a 10% stake in the channel ten network. That same year she also laid out a massive $285 million dollars for a 18.6% share in the Fairfax media group, who control the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and a collection of radio stations.
You could say that Reinhart was using her ownership of media networks to shape public opinion to suit her financial gain. Interestingly but not surprisingly, Reinhart discards the concept of global warming, claiming in 2011 that:
“I am yet to hear scientific evidence to satisfy me that if the very, very small amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (approximately 0.83 per cent) was increased, it could lead to significant global warming.”
This was of course in light of the looming carbon tax, which cost mining companies $574 million dollars. Rienhart The media helped to warp public anxiety of the carbon tax by in some cases wrongfully informing Australians on what the tax would cost them, which unsurprisingly by June 2011, had changed public opinion of the tax to only 38% in favor.
The ownership and control of the media has a large impact upon the educated and informed opinions of the public regarding an issue, which in the case of the Reinhart media escapades, was the Carbon tax. I also find it very interesting that in early 2015 Reinhart sold the entirety of her Fairfax shares.
Until next time,