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Deciphering the Media Trust

April 8, 2009

Mainstream media plays a significant role in shaping our society. Whether we’re looking for news, entertainment, or knowledge. Our media content is played out and chosen between  major key conglomerates (not including their parent companies): Time Warner, Viacom/CBS, Disney, NBC Universal, and News Corp are a few examples. You need not worry about choosing what content you want to experience, these businesses will choose it for you. You don’t even have to worry about understanding the content, all the media is standardized for an intermediate eighth grade reading level. The convergence of media has allowed these corporations to not only own TV channels, but also radio airwaves, newspapers, film studios, print, phone, cable, and internet service providers. 

Advertisements are aimed at key audiences. Wherever you go, there’s an ad pointing in your direction. Everytime you look at an ad, that ad is looking straight back at you. Corporations conduct extensive research, surveys, and data analysis to figure out what people will consume. The major media corporations depict what advertisements go on their media cotnent. The ad space usually costs outrageously high prices. Google, the most powerful corporation in the world, receives 99% of its revenue solely based on ads. As you may be wondering, our behaviors also affect what content we receive. What we buy, what we watch, and what we think, all of which in the big picture, affects the market. The market, in term, affects the content of the media. It’s like karma in a way. 

Historically, we’ve only been limited to books and newspapers as mediums for knowledge. Throughout the years, new innovations in technology allowed ourselves for expression in different ways. Nowadays the Internet and other software technologies allow for a global and instanenous degree of knowledge. The Knowledge gap is a result of media. Those with higher access to information have a higher degree of knowledge, while others miss out until information is reach via word of mouth. It is almost a duty for those who have access to share and dissement knowledge to their colleagues, friends and family for the betterment of society and the greater good. That is the fundamental role that the Press is to fulfill, journalism is a crusade for the truth. That should be the ultimate ethic for studios, yet it’s not always the case in the modern realm. This is why independent studios that are nonaffiliated to these major corporations are vital to our understanding. These outlets are typically hushed by the massive amount of noise that larger corporations, with their larger areas of influence and expensive marketing campaigns, are able to compete tame. In comparison to the industrial age where companies bought up major resources and created monopolies, nowadays we see the same pattern with our information outlets. It’s all about control and profit. Control means maximum price. It’s also a price for the law and a price every citizen has to pay. 

“Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.” – Buddha, Hindu Prince Guatama Siddharta

Throughout the century, the US Government has passed several laws which have deregulated media content. Although it appears to be a result for a fair market, this actually makes it possible to create legal Trusts, merging of key businesses. According to the DVD Fair Fight in the Marketplace, corporations were allowed to own stations that broadcast up to 35% of United States television. This also applied to radio stations that they could own. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to relax laws in favor of media corporate lobbyists who persuade Congress and other politicians to do so against consumer opinion. Ex-President Clinton appointed Michael Powell to the FCC (he’s son to former Secretary of State, Colin Powell) and then in 2001 ex-President George Bush appointed him as chairman. “He advocated an updating of media ownership rules to reflect new communications technologies such as the Internet, a move that critics derided as increasing rampant media consolidation. He opposed applying telephone-era regulations to new Internet technologies, a move critics charged would deny open access to communications facilities.”

 

Not only are there key media organizations, but these media companies are owned by even larger corporations. For instance, corporation NBC Universal, is owned by General Electric (GE), a company that Thomas Edison founded. Many of the other media conglomerates have parent companies which are founded in the Manufacturing industry. So if they wanted, NBC news stations could portray a slew of GE product commercials. As a consumer, you start to wonder who’s interests are in favor. Products that improve the quality of life? Or are news corporations implementing products that stifend our quality of life, and may contain harmful toxic chemicals, in order to gain profit. Just as physical products may have a toxicity level, corporate consolidation creates a toxicity in government interests, which affects the content we receive. 

Is it the government who controls the laws, or is it business that controls the laws? 

 

“There can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth” – George Jacob Holyoake – (1817-1906) English Secularist

 

These organizations have a strong influence in the world, and it would seem that entertainment may lead to be a larger influence than even that of religion. Just by taking a look at how “Capitalism” or more accurately, Socialist Capitalism, is spread around the world. We see similar international conglomerates in other regions of the world. Resulting in a similar dissemination of information that’s distributed according to culture and ethnicities. (“Telemundo” for example, for those who want to see latin american news in the U.S.-or beautiful women)

 

“The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press.”…”If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

– Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements, ed. George Breitman, 96-144. New York: Ballantine Books, 1964, 101

 

Although big media corporations control many outlets for mass communication, and profits from those audiences, there still remain alternatives and counter-culture mediums. College, independent, and individually owned radio stations, newspapers, magazines, film productions, video games, websites, and so forth. Support in non-mainstream media helps balance out the media giants. Yet the weight scale is largely disproportionate. A rise in smaller media outlets is beginning to rise against the standardization of the large companies. This can also be seen in other industries as well. Yet nothing is more crucial than that of our supply of knowledge, considering that the U.S.’s prime industry is Information Technologies. Similar to our very own American Revolution against the threat of tyranny. The very root of media dissidence will be enshrined in the patriotic duty of every individual who holds a remote in his hand, a mouse on the computer, or a cell phone to his ear. These are the weapons of the next generation. War of the minds. Propaganda, psyops, and disinformation are all tactics which can use against or even in favor of our plight. A key to a greater nation, is the support of alternative and individual means of progressive innovation. Every individual who chooses alternative media, or alternative medicine, or alternative culture, and alternative choices, will embrace an alternative to lifestyle that can be sustain to profit every single person, instead of profiting the few. Every individual choice will be a step into dismantling the foundation of the corporate media empire in order to sustain individual liberty, small businesses, and the justice of the nation through truth.

 

 

-rjc

 

 

Sources:

“The Media in Your Life” by John Folkerts and Stephen Lacy

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14508.htm

http://www.fairfightfilm.org/

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