“In the era of globalization and increasing corporate control of the channels of international communication, the media may become the mouthpiece of global corporations and their supporters in governments,” Daya Kishan Thussu, author of International Communication, said.
This danger is clear and present. News reports have largely become a conduit for influencing public ideology, wherein pre-sorted opinions and biases are presented as “fair and balanced.”
Sounds harsh? Perhaps some historical context is needed.
In the post-Cold War world, we have witnessed privatization and deregulation of former state-run media networks internationally.
The global market-driven system that emerged has supported the convergence of media and entertainment conglomerates, like the AOL and Time Warner merger, resulting in conflicts of interest undermining news quality: Time Warner owned CNN news.
In May 1999, NBC, which boasts having a worldwide audience, decided at the last minute to delete all references to nuclear waste in its two-part series “The Atomic Train.” This self-censorship stemmed from a conflict of interest with its parent company, General Electric, which invested heavily in the nuclear industry. You see, an informed public is secondary to corporate interests.
More recently, accusations that the Swine Flu pandemic is a hoax perpetrated by pharmaceutical special interest groups and the World Health Organization (WHO) to profit from vaccine sales have been reported by various niche outlets: see examiner.com, Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg’s YouTube video and telegraph.co.uk.
Contradicting mainstream media’s extensive coverage of H1N1 as a pandemic to be feared, outgoing Chair of the Council of Europe’s Sub-committee on Health Wolfgang Wodarg said, “The WHO, in cooperation with some big pharmaceutical companies and their scientists, redefined pandemics and lowered the alarm-threshold
“Those new standards forced politicians in most states to react immediately and sign marketing commitments for additional and new vaccines against the ‘swine flu’ and spend billions of dollars to catch up.” Again we find corporations, this time aligned with the United Nations’ WHO, feasibly misleading people via mainstream news.
According to University of Illinois research professor Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy (1999), “Consumerism, the market, class inequality and individualism tend to be taken as natural and often benevolent, whereas political activity, civic values, and anti-market activities tend to be marginalized or denounced [by mainstream media].”
There is a definite corporate and governmental bias. In former economic hitman John Perkins’s parlance, the U.S., is a “corporatocracy,” run by corporations, banks and government.
Mass media remains a powerful social tool for promoting wars, which benefits bankers, governments and various corporations. “You cannot wage a war without rumors, without media, without propaganda.
“Any military planner that plans for a war, if he doesn’t put media propaganda on the top of his agenda, he is a bad military [leader],” said Samir Khader, senior producer at Al-Jazeera in the documentary “Control Room.”
While talking heads on television preach democracy and human rights, the U.S., has killed more than one million Iraqis, most of whom were women and children, and has invaded and continues to occupy Afghanistan, waging a secret war in Pakistan, according to The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill, and may launch an offensive on Iran.
The Rwandan genocide killed 800,000; to ignore reporting the U.S.-campaigned Iraqi genocide as such is unscrupulous corporate behavior. Persons abreast of the history of the media have noted its capacity for symbiotic relationships with governments.
Investigate for yourself the corporate Western ethnocentric propaganda that is often mainstream media. The world is a semi-free press with corporations at the helm. In a nation concerned with the superfluous, the U.S. remains cognitively dissonant from reality.
Brian Williams, CNN, Fox News and the rest anesthetize audiences with yellow journalism and inordinate Michael Jackson coverage not by choice. It is corporations that set the global news agenda.