All about ideas…

Who does the media work for?

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Fact: In 1983, 50 corporations owned a majority of the news media. In 1992, fewer than two dozen owned 90% of the news media. In 2006, the number fell to a total of four corporations: Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, and Bertelsmann.

Documentary - Orwells Rolls in his Grave  I don’t ordinarily promote products on my blog. That’s not what my blog is all about. But today I’m making an exception. The reason? Today while channel surfing, I stopped at Link TV because the network was airing a documentary on the media. Orwell Rolls in his Grave is one of the most important documentaries produced in recent years – and one every voter in the U.S. must watch – because it paints a clear picture of how the so-called “free” media has been taken over by Corporate America to the point that those running the corporations decide what stories are covered, how stories are covered, and the failure of of true investigative and honest journalism.

Over the last several years, the media landscape has changed dramatically. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin pushed through a radical new change in the rules: For the first time in 32 years, television broadcasters in the top 20 markets can also own a newspaper and a radio station in the same area. Michael Copps, one of two FCC Commissioners to vote against the rule, called it “a decision that would make Orwell proud.” It allows even greater media consolidation, and makes independent media even rarer.

Can a media system controlled by just a few corporations really deliver on the promise of the First Amendment? Or is this just the beginning of an Orwellian nightmare where lies can become truth? […]

From the very size of the media monopolies and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what doesn’t, Orwell Rolls in his Grave moves through a troubling list of questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the mainstream media. Are Americans being given the information a democracy needs to survive or have they been electronically lobotomized? Has the frenzy for media consolidation led to a dangerous irony where in an era of more news sources the majority of the population has actually become less informed? Orwell Rolls in his Grave reminds us that 1984 is no longer a date in the future.

Most Americans are familiar with this Jefferson quote,

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

but rarely is this Jefferson quote noted:

“A coalition of sentiments is not for the interest of printers. They, like the clergy, live by the zeal they can kindle and the schisms they can create. It is contest of opinion in politics as well as religion which makes us take great interest in them and bestow our money liberally on those who furnish aliment to our appetite… So the printers can never leave us in a state of perfect rest and union of opinion. They would be no longer useful and would have to go to the plough.” –Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1801. ME 10:254

For anyone concerned with the media and media stories, viewing Orwell Rolls in his Grave will reveal how badly the media serves the voters as a result of “corporatism.”


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