Sunday, April 3, 2016

Shkreli Summary

A Summary of the Gathered Information of Martin Shkreli

The goal of my project was to point out the bias in main stream media. I started my project by first assembling a basic understanding of who owns what when it comes to popular media. What I discovered is that there are nine major companies that are in complete and total control of over 90% of news media consumed by the average American. Some of these companies are controlled by one person or one family, like News Corp and 21st Century Fox both being owned by Rupert Murdoch. Another thing that was particularly scary is the fact that iHeartRadio owns over 850 radio stations, since radio has always been considered the most powerful news outlet since every car comes with an fm radio. It's scary to believe that these few people controlling the media can accept a small donation from any public figure and have their image changed across a wide variety of news sources. 
The second goal of my project was to choose a controversial issue and try to argue against the main stream media's combined view of said issue. Martin Shkreli, the candidate of choice, proved to be a very difficult person to argue for, and it seems that there are very few news sources that actually argue in his favor. In order to find information to argue for Shkreli's business choices, I had to try and learn about complicated issues that usually require four year masters degrees to understand, which means I still do not have a complete and total understanding as to how pharmaceutical companies work or how investing works. Despite my ignorance, after digging relentlessly for information, I've gained a very basic understanding of how drug pricing in the United States works and why pharmaceutical companies raise prices on certain drugs; in some instances for good and in other instances for greed. In the case of Martin Shkreli and the increased price of Daraprim, I discovered that Turing Pharmaceuticals actually gives most of their product away for free, and there has yet to be a case of someone unable to receive daraprim as a treatment for toxoplasmosis since the price increase. 
Unfortunately, when it comes to the public opinion of Martin Shkreli, I cannot ignore the fact that he is currently in two different legal predicaments. Where the project becomes difficult is that it is hard to argue for and against a person who is both under investigation and in a major law suit especially since there is very few publicly released documents available. Most of what I could find on the law suit is that Turing Pharmaceuticals spent a large amount of money on frivolous expenses such as celebrity appearances and yacht club rentals. One could argue that these expenses are unneeded, but I would suggest that the expenses were for a private investor's event designed to encourage investment in Turing, especially since Turing was able to raise $90 million after raising the price of Daraprim. When it comes to the legal battle and Shkreli's congressional hearing, all the public knows is that there are allegations against Shkreli and Evan Greebel, and both have said very little about their allegations. Other than that, the main stream appears to not really know much about their charges or the evidence that supports their charges. I would argue that the media's coverage of the two's congressional hearings has propagated a feeling of guilty-until-proven-innocent among the public.
Since I have started this project, I have begun to realize that there is more and more information about the scandal than the main stream media reports on, and I am in no real position to come up with an expert's opinion on the subject. My argument for justifying Shkreli's actions could be easily dismissed in the coming months as his legal predicaments are settled and more information comes to light, but until then I have to support my opinions of the scandal based off of the research I have done. Overall I have spent hours upon hours digging into the internet looking for knowledge to gain evidence of Shkreli's better side and to gain a better understanding of the incredibly complex world of big pharma. Other information I would like to find is what pharma companies have donated to which news corporations over the last years, or whatever kind of big donations might curve the media's agenda against Shkreli. Furthermore, I'd like to interview Martin Shkreli himself, since he is known on the internet for answering questions on Blab and livestreaming for hours on YouTube, although he hasn't been on blab for three months since this blog post. 
What I find incredible is that it takes this much digging in order to come up with a properly informed opinion (whether or not one could argue my opinion is properly informed). In today's age of main stream media, this is the required amount of effort to grasp a basic, unbiased understanding of any issue being reported on in the media. If a news source is reporting on a law suit, one should read the court papers. If a news source is reporting in favor of a political opinion, one should gather a quick, basic understanding of the arguments that might disprove that political opinion. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone is trying to make the American population believe what they want the population to believe. 

"The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses."
- Malcolm X 

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