Send To Printer Email to Friend

The Media Mafia
Cheryl Seal

The Democrats are going to face an uphill battle from here on out. We are not just up against the Republican party, we are also up against a systematic, highly-effective campaign of misinformation conducted by their guard/attack dog: the corporate media.

An estimated 80% of all news outlets in the United States are now corporate owned, according to a recent survey. It decides what news we see and why and it decides to an alarming extent what movies, books, and television programs will be pushed at the public, and which will never see the light of day. Even scarier, this Media Mafia can also “fix” the stock market reports, manipulate elections and drive any opposition into the ground with their financial clout.

By controlling the media outlets, they maintain a grip on the mind of the average American, who only knows “I saw it on the news.” What is worse, these conglomerates are immune from any antitrust controls. In 1969, when bigger newspapers first started buying up smaller newspapers, the Supreme Court opposed these activities, saying that although freedom to publish is a Constitutional right, freedom to buy up other publishers to silence them is not a right. However, publishers and the moneyed interests that ran them pressured the senate into overturning the court decision, by threatening to use the power of the press to derail their next election bids. Now 30 years alter, this attitude permeates all media and a frightening arrogance has replaced any responsibility to the public.

CNN: owned by Time Warner/AOL, which now controls a major share of the on-line market, including the increasingly well-read AOL news and owns Turner Network, numerous theme parks, sports teams, retail stores and publishing companies, Book-of-the Month Club, Time Magazine, Fortune magazine and People, CompuServe, and Netscape and holds major interests in Wal-Mart and Bell Atlantic, along with significant interests in Gateway, Hughes Electronics and SBC Communications.

ABC: Owned by Disney, which also owns 10 television stations, 44 radio stations, and 219 affiliated TV stations, various publishing and recording companies, and movie studios.

CBS: Owned by Viacom, which owns at least three dozen television stations, 200 affiliated stations, 160 radio stations, the Blockbuster movie rental chain, Simon & Schuster publishing, and King World Features

FOX: Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns 22 television stations in the U.S. and 159 affiliated stations, along with “The New York Post and The Weekly Standard, various satellites systems, book publishing concerns, and at least 130 newspapers overseas.

Last but not least, we have our very own U.S. State-operated (to all intents and purposes) network: NBC

NBC is owned by General Electric, which also owns CNBC jointly with Dow Jones and MSNBC jointly with Microsoft. GE also owns several financial services, insurance companies, and of course, is one of the world’s techno companies, producing everything from light bulbs to nuclear equipment. Traditionally, GE has been one of the biggest defense contractors ever, and has its finger in many pies, including Enron. Enron's senior advisor to the chairman and member of the corporation’s finance committee is John LA. Urquhart, who also happens to be the Senior Vice-President of Industrial and Power Systems for GE.

NBC has consistently had one of the most slanted nightly news programs you could tune into this side (in space-time) of the iron curtain. It has lately pumped up the “urgency” of the California crisis, in which its owner has a major stake. Worse yet, it is now methodically covering up its tracks: On February 6, Tom Brokaw did a story on the millions being made off the crisis by energy providers. However, the story nowhere mentions Enron or its roll in driving P&G, one of California’s three largest public utilities, out of business. Enron then grabbed the company and has been making money off selling the power back to the people of California for its own profit. Nor did the story mention Enron's own projections of what it stands to make on the California crisis in the long run (up to $30 billion). The NBC story is intentionally trying to turn the light of scrutiny away from Enron and assign blame elsewhere - and totally falsely.

In addition, NBC is now viciously laying into Clinton - they have run footage of his Manhattan office ad infinitum, as well as footage of him falling down, and made the White House gifts a bigger issue than the India Earthquake. They have even started a new regular segment called “Clinton Watch,” in which they will ferret out every bit of dirt they can find or manufacture. Meanwhile, they are using their news and entertainment shows to do a series of gooey-gushy puff pieces on G.W. Bush. Of course, it goes without saying that NBC did not show any coverage of protestors at the inaugural. I think any citizen who values freedom of speech should write or call NBC - and the other corporate media outlets - via their local affiliate and complain about the slanted coverage we are treated to night after night.

A MUST READ: “DRIVE-BY JOURNALISM: THE ASSAULT ON YOUR NEED TO KNOW’ by veteran journalist Arthur E. Rowse. This book lays it all out in hardhitting detail - a great book, yet the only publisher who would take it on, not surprisingly, was an independent: Common Courage Press.