The Mediaopoly

The evil Mickey Mouse and the rest of the brainwashing squad.

I have been mostly television free for around two years. The other day (I won’t get into specifics) I was forced into watching Jersey Shore. It is a show where a bunch of people do nothing but argue and have sex for an hour. There is no other purpose to it than to parade these young people in front of a camera so that their jackassery becomes a for-profit public spectacle.

One of the reasons I gave up on the tube is the fact that the entire media is controlled by six megacorporations. This is a brief overview of the media landscape:

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

I believe NBC belongs to General Electric.

That means that whatever gets on the television, movie screen and radio must be filtered through a corporate bureaucracy whose sole purpose is to turn a profit.

As recently as the 1990s, the actual airwaves that carried television broadcasts were owned by the federal government. At certain points, the government was able take hold of the airwaves to provide coverage of events like presidential debates and speeches. The thinking was that there were certain things that needed to be shown in the interests of having an informed democratic citizenry.

Thanks to the privatization wave of the 1990s, the rights to the airwaves were sold to corporate interests for a song. The media is now fully privatized and corporate-run. This means that everything that passes as news in the media gets filtered through a corporate bureaucracy first. There is never any bad press about Disney or General Electric because it would never make it on to the air.

There is no longer any pretense of the media helping cultivate an informed democratic citizenry.

In this clip, Bill Maher mentions something very telling about this media-opoly:

He says 2/3 of Americans cannot name the economic system under which we operate. That seems about right. And if you cannot name the system, how can you analyze it or fight against its injustices?

Media helps shape the boundaries of public discourse. There are very few places one can turn for serious discussion about our economic system. Sure, there are discussions about economic policy, but those policies might as well take place in a vacuum. Without an overall context for those policies, the media tacitly portrays the economic system under which we live as natural.

This is why Occupy Wall Street was evicted. It was drawing too much attention to the economic system as a whole, connecting too many dots and pointing out too many damning truths.

The history textbooks do the same thing as the media. This is why I don’t use them.

Here is a fun video about the media-opoly:

And this documentary, Orwell Rolls in his Grave, is well worth a few watches. It is a much more in-depth look at corporate media and its implications for our democracy. Watch for the cameos by Bernie Sanders:

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15 responses to “The Mediaopoly

  1. Thanks for the info! It’ll help me with my own article. When faced with the data, it’s easy to see why we can’t believe anything we see on TV or read in the news.

  2. Orwell Rolls in his Grave has a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Orwell-Rolls-In-His-Grave/187719241245981

    and is on twitter @orwellrolls.

    Thanks!

  3. For about a year I have contemplated giving my resource students a citizenship test just to test the waters. Since I have a chance to do some enrichment at times, I may do it sooner rather than later. Unrelated to this post is a question I have for you. Have you ever seen the movie “Teachers”? It stars Nick Nolte and Ralph Macheo. I know you recently posted links to “Fast time at R. High” not too long ago and made some great connections to the current state of affairs. Assailed, please view the film if you haven’t yet. You can youtube it. My goodness, the paralells are insane. The issues discussed relevant more than ever. Hope you can find the time in your busy schedule to give it a first look or even fresher one. Again – Teachers.

    • Ah, thanks for the heads up. I do remember hearing of that movie. I have never seen it but I will definitely give it a look in the next day or two.

      Let us know how the citizenship test goes. It should be interesting.

      • Will let you know how the citizenship test works out. Hopefully, I’ll dedicate a day next week to it. I’ll ask in a future post of yours about the movie – again, very underated film about teachers and the reality we deal with on an everyday basis that I believe came out in 1984. Be well!

    • Awesome scene. I can remember a few similar meetings in my career. It is scary how the only thing that has changed since then have been the facial hair and clothing. Thanks for this. I will certainly watch the entire movie.

  4. “He says 2/3 of Americans cannot name the economic system under which we operate. That seems about right.”

    Not to me. I mistrust these kind of media-generated polls, the main point of which is to show that Americans are overwhelmingly stupid and uninformed about such basic things as who the VP is and what kind of economic system we live under (like the media doesn’t regularly talk about ‘capitalism’ and ‘our capitalist system’ and how great it is.)

    Part of media brainwashing is convincing Americans — especially upper-middle class “left” leaning Americans of the type who watch Bill Maher — that their lesser-educated compatriots are all stupid Neanderthals who can’t be trusted with democracy, hopeless Jerry Springer rejects who probably deserve to be jailed and spied on anyway. I’ve found many supposed “Progessives” just love to yuck it up over the supposed intellectual deficits of the lower classes.

    They’re the same bunch that for the most part doesn’t have clue one about the realities of education “reform,” and see it as benign and necessary, and Bill Gates and his ilk as caring philanthropists.

    I live in a low-income neighborhood and am quite confident that more than 1/3 of them know we live in a capitalist economic system, and know who the VP is, no matter what arrogant upper-class media twits like Bill Maher & Tina Brown say.

    Show me your data, Tina. Show me where you got your sample, and how, and how you asked the question, and to how many people.

    I love your blog, I think it’s sharp and for the most part on the money. But not this time.

    • I totally agree that these polls, especially ones cited by the likes of Bill Maher, blow American ignorance way out of proportion.

      When touching upon the economic system, I will tell you that most, if not all, of my students do not know the term “capitalism”. And I teach in a school that focuses on finance.

      Read the history textbooks and you will see that you will not see the word capitalism. It might be stuck somewhere in the middle of the chapter on the Gilded Age, but it will not be plastered on every other page like the word “democracy” or “rights” are, for example.

      I do not see the word “capitalism” used in the media either. What I see is the term “free market”. This is due to the bad taste the word capitalism leaves in people’s mouths in this day and age. I think there has been a conscious effort to get away from the word capitalism for this reason.

      The other layer to this is the difference between what we call our economic system and what our economic system really is. What do you call a system where the largest businesses are funded and supported by the state? What do you call a system with very little competition, where economies of scale are so large that the entrepreneur has to be independently wealthy in order to get a new venture off the ground?

      I guess I would call it corporate socialism, crypto-facism or just good old fashioned kleptocarcy.

      But leaving people ignorant of any type of handle for it leaves people incapable of fighting against it and I think that is by design.

  5. Here’s how stupid Bill Maher is:
    “Adrian Fenty Crowned School Savior by Bill Maher”
    http://www.good.is/post/adrian-fenty-crowned-school-savior-by-bill-maher/

    And Tina Brown? Please.

  6. I have “no confidence” in Arne Duncan and the policies he has promoted. They are destroying the very fabric of the American public school system. Vote “no confidence” by signing the letter to Obama at http://dumpduncan.org/

  7. Pingback: Interesting « The Savvy Noise Terrorist and Global Warmer

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