Hippie News & Stuff: The Captive Press--In which Y'r M'd'st H'st'r'n describes the process of corpoRat "media consolidation" as it unfolded in the '80s and later, as analogous to the practice of insurrectionists and revolutionaries the world over of seizing the radio stations
We are all familiar with the banana republic revolutionary narrative: Bands of insurgents in the hills finally think they have softened up the present gummint enough that all it will trake is a good push to bring 'em down. And so they stream down from the hills, and they invade the cities and do yuou know the VERY FIRST THINGS they take over? Even before the armories and police stations?
They take over the media.They seize the radio and tv stations, they occupy the broadcast towers.
They knowq they MUST control the media! It is vital. Without media control, message control, their enterprise is lost. You don't NEED to try to control what people think when you control what they are thinking and talking about. So they seize the stations; usually they close the papers which oppose 'em, too.
The same sorta thinki happened here, though we didn't "see" it happening. But a very similar thing occurred right here in the good, old, democratic republic of AMURKA! Especially Raygun's election, and thence proceeding unimpeded to the present moment. The coup plotters--the Coors and the Kochs, and the Hunts and the Olins the Murdochs and the myriad other, scurvy, scurrying lesser parasites did it here, too. They reached out from their corpoRat boardrooms and they effectively silenced to opposition. Back in the '80s, but they called it something respectably commercial, normal, rational, capitalistic: They called it "Media Consolidation."
Call it whatever the fuck you wanna, the consequence is the same: the USer media are (permanently) in the hands of the corpoRat coup d'etat...
So, truth be told, and in a moment of rare disagreement with the estimable Robert Parry,who recently reproved the "press" for "losing its way." He knows, too: the "Press" didn't "lose its way." Parry seems to make the same mistake that a lot of other folks do: he persists in regarding "the Press" as if it were somehow still this independent, civic force, instead of the slave and vassal of the commercial/corpoRat interests which own and direct its everyu syllable....
The "Press" is not now, and has not been "independent" for close to 30 years. It was SOLD, out-right, to the Capitalists during the '80s, in that process known admiringly in bidness circles as "consolidation."
See, e.g., Ben Bagdikian: in 1980, 50 corporations owned and operated more than 80 percent of ALL USer media "outlets."
Today the number of controlling corpoRats is down to SIX--Disney, GENERAL ELECTRIC, the filthy fucking criminal Murdoch's NewsCorps, Viacom, Time-Warner and CBS--, and the percentage of properties they own/controll is over NINETY FUCKING PERCENT. The media, the images of culture, our whole fucking interpretive apparati of the peoples' self-constitution are OWNED by criminal conspirators dedicated to enslaving them.
It is utterly idiotic to believe that press "properties" owned outright by the biggest, wealthiest, most powerful corpoRat interests in the fucking WORLD will engage in any reporting that casts their owners in a bad or unfavorable, or critical light.
And, absent a Constitutional Amendment (yet ANOTHER one doomed to fail, just like the ERA, and repeals of Citizens United, or ANY legislative effort to reduce the power of great wealth in the government), any law putting restrictions on the amount of private property that may be acquired, whether tanning salons or the number of media properties which may be owned by one interest, IT WILL NEVER AGAIN BE ANY DIFFERENT!
It is well, then, to remember the trenchant advice of one the most percipient media critics of his or any age, A.J. Liebling, who observed:
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.