The mechanism of control generally exercised by media proprietors is through the appointment of editors, “who become the proprietor’s ‘voice’ within the newsroom, ensuring that journalistic ‘independence’ conforms to the preferred editorial line.” The power of the media is not just through its editorial line but also in covering some issues rather than others, some views but not others. It is this power that makes politicians so reluctant to cross the large media moguls and regulate the industry in the public interest:
In this sense, the media have enormous power over national elections... those candidates who are placed on the media’s agenda have a chance to win; those that are ignored languish. Those issues — either policy or personal — which the media spotlight become the yardsticks for measuring candidates. When candidates receive heavy (and favourable) publicity, their campaigns flourish...
They also have power to influence the policies that elected governments implement and plenty of reason to exercise that power. “In recent years, media companies have been among the most profitable businesses” in the US. Chomsky points out:
What is at issue is not the honesty of the opinions expressed or the integrity of those who seek the facts but rather the choice of topics and highlighting of issues, the range of opinion permitted expression, the unquestioned premises that guide reporting and commentary, and the general framework imposed for the presentation of a certain view of the world.
Like other corporations, media companies can also influence government through political donations, lobbying, and providing lucrative or glamorous jobs to people with influence.
Comcast one of the largest cable television owners recently purchased the remaining share of NBCUniversal. It is also a leading internet and telephone service provider in the US. "The Comcast Corporation is currently the world's largest media corporation with ... more than 23 million customers in the United States". In 2012 Comcast (with revenues of $62 billion) spent over $6 million on political contributions and almost $15 million on lobbyists. "103 out of 121 Comcast Corp lobbyists in 2012 have previously held government jobs".
Comcast has also frequently hired close relatives of government officials and elected representatives, for example, the wife of the governor of Maryland, a lawyer by training, was hired as "executive producer and star of a largely unnoticed half-hour television talk show about drug and alcohol abuse... Such hires also illustrate a discreet way that some corporations can seek influence with decision makers, not just in Maryland but on Capitol Hill and elsewhere".