Consolidation and Monopolization
Today as never before people are fixated and dependent on an increasingly small and exclusive group of corporations for both their news and entertainment. This process of media consolidation has been underway for some time but gained a great deal of momentum and scrutiny in alternative publications during the 1990's. According to the Media Channel (in association with OneWorld.org)," the number of transnational firms who dominate the global media system has dwindled to nine. Ranked according to size, they are: Time Warner, Disney, Bertelsmann, Viacom, News Corporation, TCI, General Electric (owner of NBC), Sony (owner of Columbia and TriStar Pictures and major recording interests), and Seagram (owner of Universal film and music interests)." However, the concerns of consolidation barely makes it into mainstream circles. And when it does rarely are the real concerns of academics, historians and critics voiced. Instead, debate is usually constructed to give the idea of 'free press' a corporate look and feel. In other words, the government should not regulate mergers and acquisitions in the media, as that stifles 'freedom of the press'. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. Each major television network has a special relationship with the government in obtaining FCC licenses. For over 60 years the major TV networks have had a virtual monopoly on the American Airwaves, as only they have the money and power to force their way on the nations airwaves, coast to coast, strong arming other voices out of the public domain. This monopolization, not at all unlike the consolidated media power of the old Soviet Union, is called 'Free press' in America. The censorship in the US is not as blatant as in the old USSR but it is just as present and perhaps even more effective. Corporate executives, through their managing editors are able to spike stories that may reflect badly on themselves, advertisers and individuals and corporations with which the media outlet has a special relationship, including the government that must approve multi-billion dollar media mergers. The views of others important individuals journalists, scientists, government informants that are not for sale on the corporate slave-block or the mainstream medias prostitution ring, are simply not heard in the mainstream. The overall trend being a denigration of basic journalistic practices in favor of the practices of the corporate boardroom which is usually dominated by the bottom line over the public interest.
The main offenders in the conglomeration of Media Power are
1. AOL/ Time/Warner/CNN
5. News Coproration (FOX)
6. Vivendi (universal)
7. GE (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC)
This is a very small cross section of media ownership please see http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/chart.shtml for a more complete list of media ownership.
Indeed, a far more troubling trend in the mainstream media is not simply the consolidation taking place raising media owners and key editors to an elevated place in society among the ruling aristocracy, but the semi-clandestine association media has with other elite in the nation, further removing itself from the concerns of the people, in favor of the wealth of the elite. One such very important association is with an organization called the Council On Foreign Relations. Individuals who sit at the pinnacle of Corporate, Media, Government, Labor and Academic Power meet in strict secrecy and refuse to allow event the slightest glimpse of what is transpiring available to the American public. The CFR's media membership includes, but is not limited to:
· Lawrence Tisch and Willion Paley - CBS
· John Welsh - NBC
· Thomas Murphy - ABC
· Robert McNeil, Daniel Schorr, Jim Leher - PBS
· Katherine Graham - Washington Post
· Michael Posner - Reuters
· Davis Gergan USN&WR
· Leslie Gelb, Cyrus Vance, AM Rosenthal - NY Times
TV Anchors/Personalities Include:
· Dan Rather
· Bill Moyers
· Dian Sawyers
· John Chancellor
· Tom Brokow
· Ted Koppel
· Barbara Walters
· George Will
· David Gergan
· Frank Sesno
All of these very important individuals who decide what America is to know and more importantly what America is NOT to know belong to an extremely exclusive, secretive and powerful club. A club in which almost every Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor and of course, President of the US and CIA Director has come. This includes often those individuals who are charged with regulating these economic and political behemoths in the media. They are all joined together in secret associations unbeknownst to the American Public. This would be clearly illegal if the associations were not of such powerful men. But the wheels of Justice have stopped on this issue and these powerful men continue to feed their 'news' to a largely unsuspecting public who think they are getting the straight scoop on the issues of their day. The fact is, they are not. More than that, on the rare occasion when important issues are discussed, it is usually done so with a heavy corporate spin. In addition, the main chokepoint in the flow of information into America are the wire services. They largely decide what will and what will not enter in the American debate. These too are controlled by members of the CFR.
Enter The Advertisers
It is impossible to understand the impact of the mainstream media on society without discussing the advertisers' effect on that media. This aspect of the growing media monopoly is less a product of collusion and nefarious planning than it is simple market economics. Indeed, many advertisers are leery of the growing monopolization and consolidation of the media, as it provides fewer choices for advertising outlets and makes them increasingly at the mercy of huge media conglomerates who can charge exorbitant rates for advertising space. The idea for advertising and what made it so attractive at first to newspapers and later to electronic/broadcast media is the fact it has allowed the publishers to sell their news at below cost to the consumers, the difference was made up by the advertisers and was recouped in the form of higher prices for the products people paid for their products at the cash register. Broadcast media became far more dependent on Advertisers because before cable and satellite, there was no way for them to directly charge their viewers. This has given the advertisers a great deal of leverage in deciding what programs wound be aired and which would be canned. It also was a strong deterrent to keep publishers and broadcasters from airing stories that the advertisers did not want publicized. But it has also meant a decreasing amount of space for news and an increasing amount of advertising.
In 1980, there were 5 pages of news for every 66 pages of advertisements. This need for advertisement over the clear wishes of the readers for more hard news caused one person to comment. 'The challenge of American Newspapers 'is not to stay in business - but to stay in Journalism' (Harold Evans, London Times).
The intention of the constitution and the form of Government that made this nation, the greatest, freest, richest nation on Earth was to separate the powers so that they could not be used against the people in unison. That is why the Judiciary, Congress, and the President all had different powers and one balanced against the other. In addition, the press was considered off-limits to the powers of Government and was to remain free from Governmental interference. Yet today the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulates not so much what gets on the airwaves but who. Only big, high-powered, very wealthy people are able to obtain an FCC license and then gain the access to the Cable and satellite distribution that is becoming increasingly monopolized. Thus, a small clique of elitists in the CFR and mainstream media are able to bypass the constitutional requirement and work in unison and expunge from the airwaves of any ideas, opinions, viewpoints and information that is not in the interest of these elites. Powerful men in the CFR are now able to undermine the truth in favor of politically correct 'spin' and then call those that attempt to give all the facts, without the spin, various unsavory labels; Conspiracy Theorist, Extremist, Right Wing and many other terms which through years of manipulation through TV and yes, even movies, are designed to keep the vast majority of people from listening to the unvarnished truth. Because the information does not jibe with what is presented via mainstream sources the hearer often becomes confused and even disoriented trying to piece together what they have learned. However, most people will display the all too familiar intellectual laziness and mental lethargy. Then will accept the mainstream media's answer to the obvious contradiction and make no further inquiries. This is extremely dangerous because the changes that are going on right now in America right under everyone's noses, are of such a nature that what you don't know WILL hurt you and perhaps, even kill you and your children.
This is not fear mongering. This is not alarmism. A person with even a rudimentary understanding of History can see how dangerous the axis of Government and media can be. It as dangerous, if not more dangerous that the marriage of Religion and State. Look at NAZI Germany, look at Stalin's Russia. Million were slaughtered by both governments.
The people were not told.
They were not told because the elite had a virtual lockdown on the press and decided what would be presented to the people and what would be withheld. This can only happen where effective (not necessarily legal) control is exercised in the media by the powerful who have special relationships with the Government.
Just like in America 2001.
http://www.radioproject.org/transcripts/0014.html http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/chart.shtml http://www.cjr.org/owners/index.asp http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/ http://directory.google.com/Top/News/Current_Events/Media_and_Free_Speech/Consolidation_and_Monopoly/