Corporate Control of Mass Media

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A central force working for the corporate takeover of government is the global centralization of ownership and control of mass media outlets in western democracies.  Whilst this is just an element of the conspiracy of greed, of greedy people using mass media to spread their version of the truth for personal gain, it has turned into a far worse vehicle for neoliberal attacks on society.  What started with media barons vying for monopolies that were kept in check by cross-media ownership and anti-trust laws has turned into the mouthpiece to spread neoliberal philosophy to the masses.  This has been a result of deals being made with governments to provide mass media support during elections in return for looser regulation of their business – allowing massive concentration of media ownership across the western democracies.

The active resistance to climate change is being funded entirely by the owners of global commercial media networks, large corporations and their paid-for-comment pet ‘journalists’ around the world.  If you don’t believe it, find out who is paying them for their comment.  Follow the money and you will find the answer.[1] The Australian Climate Science Coalition who claim to be an independent group relying on public support are entirely funded (except for $138) by the Heartland Institute in the US.  This was the institute that launched a public campaign during the 90s supporting tobacco company Philip Morris in claiming that nicotine wasn’t really addictive and smoking wasn’t really bad for you.[2]  The aim of these organizations is to provide talking heads to have a media presence to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt on the topic of climate change.

What these sites completely fail to do is actually produce genuine scientific studies that counter the evidence of the over 12,000 studies performed by thousands of climate scientists from around the world.[3]  We are being asked to believe that scientists from countries around the world, working for many different organizations, both public and privately funded, are engaged in a massive conspiracy to trick us all into making the world a cleaner and more viable place in which to live.  The alternative is that a small number of very rich individuals are doing everything in their power to keep things just the way they are in order for their profits to keep rolling in.  Massive, global conspiracy involving thousands of disconnected people or a small group of greedy people being greedy?

“When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”
(Occam’s Razor – also spelled Ockham)[4]

Occam’s razor tells us clearly we are being lied to by a small group of the very rich.

The strategies of these media engagements have been led by many smart people using every modern technique of marketing, advertising and information manipulation at their hands. You wouldn’t think you could write a better novel of deceit, manipulation and brutal force – except somebody did.  George Orwell, in his book ‘1984’, showed a future of an absolute totalitarian government controlling a large part of the world.[5] The government achieves this by controlling the flow of information and wealth to all its citizens in order to create a society of mindless drones who are both detached from each other and from reality in general.  They are encouraged to watch sports, take drugs and engage in casual sex – but breeding is strictly controlled.

“practices which had long been abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years – imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole populations – not only become common again, but were tolerated by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive”[6]

Reading that section from the book is shocking wakeup call to recognize Guantanamo Bay[7] and the US military practices of torture and disappearances practiced globally and known as ‘renditions’.[8] Turning prisoners into slave workers has been a practice in the US for a decade now, whilst still relatively small in volume, it does still represent an extensive pilot program for a bleak future.[9] A situation only made possible by the relentless media onslaught to distract and misinform the population at large.

There are many other ideas in the novel that are disturbingly familiar in mass media today;

Newspeak: A redefinition of language to simplify everything to remove concepts of philosophy that could lead to challenging authority. To make authority seem inevitable and all-powerful.  This approach to mass media has led today to a generation of people who believe that voting is pointless, that our government is in complete control and we should just be happy with whatever we can get day to day[10].  The corporate media conglomerates have worked actively against the interests of the people in concealing the outright illegal and unethical activities of both corporations and governments by the creation and use of a neoliberal Newspeak[11].

Doublethink: Encouraging people to accept two mutually exclusive ideas in everyday life without questioning it or even seeing the conflict[12].  This is cognitive dissonance without the conflict between the ideas causing further issues. The people affected simply do not see the ideas as connected or that connecting them is relevant or sensible.

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth”
(Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, pp 32)

This is precisely how Conservative political groups who favour neoliberal approaches treat the people of their countries. What is disturbing is how effective this has been in bringing large groups of middle and lower class workers to believe that conservative governments are operating in their best interests.

Thoughtcrime: The idea that even thinking of something in a way that is not aligned with the government and corporate program is a criminal act.  The act of defining a problem as being caused by or even associated with the controlling power is deemed to be the beginning of a pathway to action against those powers and therefore is the source of guilt.  This has never been a criminal offense under any western democracy, but Texas in the US has recently moved to allow prosecution based on ‘prediction of future behaviour’ – Thoughtcrime.[13]

Orwell

What began as Orwell’s satire of Stalin’s USSR government grew into a focused study of the worst kind of manipulation of people by government.  Orwell’s imagination of extending the control of a totalitarian government into every moment of your waking life has become a terrible prediction of how conservative politics unfolded since the 1970s. The original driver of the greed of corporate media owners transformed into the tool of neoliberal movement; the public relations branch of the conspiracy of greed. The book 1984 was meant to be a vision of a dystopia to be avoided, not a blueprint for modern society.[14]

 



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