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How Five Companies Control the US Media and How Their Greed is Leading to Our Extinction

By Petr Knava | Politics | September 15, 2020 |

By Petr Knava | Politics | September 15, 2020 |


I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I’m, uh, a little bit obsessed with the media.

‘The media’. It’s such a soft-sounding, anodyne term for an entity with so much world-changing power. I mean, I get it. You can’t really call it ‘the terrifying tentacled brainwashing envoy of capitalism’ without getting a few funny looks every single time. Trust me. I know.

So we’re stuck with ‘the media’. My little-big obsession and personal thief of joy. And of course to be specific when I say ‘the media’ I mean the broad umbrella term that encompasses the capitalist, ad-funded news media—whether that be print, online, TV, or radio. That’s what I mean when I say ‘the media’. And I say it a lot. I write about it a lot. But it’s not my fault. They don’t let me do anything else. (Well, luckily sometimes a dog does something at least.)

Whether it’s the austere legacy print media ominously warning of the rise of ‘fake news’ after spending a century propagating exactly that for a century and playing a huge part in eroding public trust that facilitated the rise of online fake news in the first place.

Or the rampant, never-ending racism of the media and the blood it has on its hands as a result.

Or the merciless propaganda war it waged over the past few years on two figures who emerged on the political scenes of both sides of the Atlantic and who represented a mass upset with the poisonous status quo and threatened to bring with them a movement that would realign the political priorities of two world powers away from the capitalist owners of the media and toward the downtrodden masses.

Or examples of the media getting schooled by ordinary members of the public.

Or indeed those few, hyper-rare moments when the damn media actually does its job.

Whatever the case, the media just won’t let me rest. Those zany, evil bast*rds!

Like I say, when I use the term ‘the media’ I am referring to the news side of things, but of course the real trouble is the fact that the term actually refers to these huge, cancerous business entities that have made it their purpose to not just own the news and to thus shape the public’s perception of all key issues, but to also be in possession of all the various other arteries of thought monetisation. Film, TV, literature—it’s all fair game for an ever smaller number of faceless behemoths that in their bottomless greed seek to own and rule the world. A world that due to their actions is rushing down a blind alley of extinction.

So, yes, I may bang on about the topic without pause, but that’s for good reason: The media create reality. Propaganda is not—as the powers-that-be would like us to believe—something that is confined to dictatorships ‘over there’. It is alive and well in our ‘democracies’ and more insidious and effective than at any other time in history. The propaganda outlets have one particular worldview they want to promote, and the fewer there are of them the less there is of even the modicum amount of debate that the capitalist sphere would otherwise permit. So here’s a cool little video that may not give any new information, but does a great job of providing a little summary of how the US media in particular got to the sorry mess it’s in. Its central thesis is the ever more dramatic monopolisation of the media, enabled as it was by legislation and priorities of successive governments of both sides of the partisan divide. It provides a quick and stark primer for how corporate greed and political corruption has brought us to an unsustainable place that borders on complete disaster.

As Noam Chomsky once said:

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

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