In our quest to progress humanity we often try so hard we trip over, smash our face off the floor, require reconstructive surgery and need years of intensive physiotherapy to even speak again. We sprint off creating things like cigarettes, Styrofoam and leaded petrol without ever stopping to think of the consequences. We see their ability to generate money and stop there – ‘This makes money? Brilliant! That is all the information I need’. Yesterday in the United
Stazi States of America, the guys at the Fucking Crazy Commission Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made another such decision – without truly thinking of the consequences, or caring.
What the (Republican-controlled*) FCC decided, in their wisdom, was to relax rules that disallow corporate conglomerates from owning several parts of the media in one market. So for instance, if you happen to be a huge communications company you can now own both a TV station and a newspaper in the same country, or the same state, or the same town, or all of the above. Unsurprisingly this opens up a massive opportunity for large companies to ‘own and control the message’ – something I will get into later.
Now, this is not really a big issue if you operate the Running Channel and also own a ‘Get Off The Couch You Fat Slob’ weekly magazine, but when you are controlling the national news media it is a whole different kettle of Covfefe. That means, by letting big conglomerates own huge parts of the national media you are handing over bucket loads of responsibility.
But that is OK! Because a responsible, robust and free press will be free to investigate, report, analyse, scrutinise and reveal things which are in the public interest. And, that is important because there is so much happening in the world we live in it is not possible for us to individually do this. I’d imagine like the rest of the western world,
Little Russia America want and need their media to ensure all of their politicians are held to account if they say, I don’t know, happen to be racist, have a string of sexual abuse allegations, have allegations of collusion with foreign states that borders on treason, or even just lie to the public in general. We’d want to know so we vote for them anyway don’t vote for them.
What you don’t want is a press which is, well, like Russia’s. Their media is state-controlled 2 DA MAX, meaning ‘the message’ is owned and controlled by the state. The current US leader definitely doesn’t want to be able to do that at all, he wants a completely free press, he doesn’t want to be able to control the message or tell the media what to do. For a full breakdown of other things he definitely doesn’t want it is best to look at Trump’s second favourite TV channel ‘RT’ in Russia, and the laws by which they run (probably).
- No criticism of the state allowed.
- The party line must always be praised.
- It must be used to deflect and defend criticisms of the state.
- Never be objective.
- Always appeal to emotion.
- Promote the Party.
- Demonise the opposition.
- Misogyny Monday’s.
- Promote the party again.
- Decry detractors as unpatriotic.
That would be the worst case scenario for the US press wouldn’t it, that would be awful. So to make sure this happens the Republicans and the Republican-controlled FCC want to run away from State-controlled media as quickly as possible! Run Forest run! And that is exactly what they’re doing, slashing through regulations with a machete, hurdling laws and restrictions like Darren Campbell. Just please, for the love of God let these super rich conglomerates do what they want!
So this is the narrative they are portraying; a flat linear narrative with a bad start and happy ending – ‘Look how far we are running away from all those bad things that Russia have’. The problem we have though is that this isn’t quite reality, whilst they are certainly running away from the state-run authoritarian news media system, it isn’t quite as linear as they’re purporting. Unfortunately, for
the Republicans the rest of humanity, the spectrum of the news media it is not a flat linear structure, it actually looks more like this.
So, the burning question on everyone’s lips is; if conglomerates are successful in owning multiple media in one regulation-free market, would the media in that market act any different than if it were run by a state-controlled authoritarian regime? Good question guys (and girls)!
You see, there is a race on at the moment, and the race is to see who can control the message (see, I told you I’d come back to this). If you own all the media, the TV news, the newspapers and even the radio, you can have full control over its output. Even social media where it is much harder to control the message, you still have countries trying, just look at Russia, who are trying to control the message with tens of thousands of fake accounts, spreading misinformation (FAKE NEWS!) across Twitter, Facebook and Google. The aim is to control the message people see in order to influence them enough so they vote a specific way, and to ultimately satisfy the goals of a few people who want to keep or increase their power and wealth.
Selfish companies are one thing but letting them increase their power exponentially massively increases the chances of corrupting the Government. To be voted into power requires a huge media effort, and when you wield the power of numerous national TV channels, newspapers and radio shows you put yourself in a rather strong negotiating position. Budding leaders have to then bow to their demands for de-regulation, in return for positive coverage and subsequent power. In the end, you’re left with an overfull hot tub party where greasy media executives and sweaty leaders only stop the party when they’ve run out of lubricant.
This puts the country in a position where the media will do anything the leaders want, and you have leaders who will do anything the media want – two cheers for democracy! Naturally, in a sham free press market, there will be some outlets who do not conform to the new system of servitude and that means they are subject to ridicule and threats that go all the way to top – think CNN.
Eventually, in a few years time, a politician will want to change the system for the better, but what they will find is a media market so powerful that the only message the public hear is how the politician in question has allegedly slept with 15 prostitutes whilst taking cocaine and shouting racial slurs dressed as a Nazi. The rival candidate, on the other hand, who doesn’t want to change the system will have saved 15 children from a burning orphanage and promised 20% of his salary to a charity. What you won’t hear from the new mainstream media is that the rival started the fire in the first place, and his new tax policy will give him a 20% cut, not to mention the charity is run by his wife who takes a huge salary. But that doesn’t even matter anymore because you’re so locked into the narrative you’ve already forgotten they were trying to change the media industry for the better. Schooled.
So America is in the process of face planting the pavement once more. The nature of the changes mean it is unlikely to be easily reversed and the age of division will continue for a good while longer. They may have run the long way round but they’re slowly getting to the point where it wouldn’t be that much different if a lot of their channels were run by an authoritarian state. Go back to the rules governing ‘RT’ and change the name to Fox News then tell me if it doesn’t fit. Or even argue that Trump hasn’t already preached those ideals.
The free media must be held accountable, and they must be funded differently* to avoid the results currently seen in the American news networks. Transparency, accountability and freedom to scrutinise are essential in a free press. These are the elements that are missing, or beginning to go missing on a lot of these channels. The changes made yesterday will only serve to perpetuate the problem.
*Having political influence in the regulatory body is not a good idea if you want a completely free press, just for reference.
*If you really want a lecture on the funded differently part then let me know if the comments, as I can preach this stuff on demand.
P.S if you liked this post and think others would, please share it – share it like a state-funded fake facebook account.