“There are 6 media companies that exist today, but there used to be 88,” begins text on a screenshot posted on Facebook in South Africa in April 2022.
“All 6 get their news from Reuters and the Associated Press. Reuters owns the AP and Rothschilds own Reuters.”
It’s years old, and wrong on every point. And its core argument that “the Rothschilds” control all news is simply another example of a centuries-old antisemitic conspiracy theory targeting Jewish people.
There are thousands of “media companies that exist today”. Most who provide news do get some of it from wire services such as Reuters and the Associated Press. But any large and credible news outlet would also have its own journalists producing its own news.
More than this, “the Rothschilds” don’t own Reuters, and Reuters doesn’t own AP.
Media is plural
The first problem with the claim is that it defines very little. What is a media company? Are there only six media companies in a single country, or across the world? And who are “the Rothschilds”?
“Media” can mean many things. It includes apps, websites, newspapers, books and magazines. Music, film and TV are also media, as are photos, artwork, graphics and illustrations. Advertising, marketing and public relations are part of the media industry.
And while other fact-checkers have assumed that the claim applies to the USA only, it doesn’t say so. More than this, it has spread across the world.
More than six ‘media companies’ in South Africa alone
- African Media Entertainment – assets include Moneyweb, Algoa FM and OFM
- Arena Holdings (owned by Lebashe) – assets include the Sunday Times, Business Day, the Sowetan and more
- Caxton – assets include the Citizen, magazines and community newspapers
- eMedia Holdings – assets include eNCA, eTV and YFM
- Independent Media (owned by Sekunjalo) – assets include the Star, the Cape Argus and Isolezwe
- Kagiso Media – assets include East Coast Radio, Jacaranda FM, Urban Brew Studios and Juta publishers
- Media24 (owned by Naspers) – assets include News24, Daily Sun and Netwerk24
- MultiChoice – assets include DStv and Showmax
- Primedia – assets include 702 talk radio, Eyewitness News and Cape Talk
And as mentioned above, those who produce news don’t rely solely on Reuters and AP. They have their own journalists.
But who actually owns Reuters? And does Reuters own AP?
Reuters owned by Thomson Reuters
Reuters has been owned by Thomson Reuters since 2008, when Canada’s Thomson corporation acquired the Reuters group and became Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is in turn traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.
About two-thirds of Thomson Reuters shares are owned by Woodbridge. This is a private investment firm for the family of Roy Thomson, a Canadian who in 1934 founded what was to become the Thomson company.
AP – ‘independent news cooperative’
Reuters does not own the Associated Press. Instead, AP is an independent nonprofit cooperative owned by newspapers and broadcasters in the USA.
“We were founded as an independent news cooperative and remain owned by our US newspaper and broadcast members, steadfast in our mission to inform the world,” AP says on its website.
And again, no member of AP’s management committee or board of directors has the surname Rothschild.
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