Corporate Media's Threat to Democracy

"Whoever controls the media, controls the peoples' minds."

"There is no such thing in America as an independent press, unless it is in the country towns.

You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to writes (sic) his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.

I am paid one hundred and fifty dollars a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with--others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things--and any of you who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.

The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his race and his country for his daily bread.

You know this and I know it, and what folly is this to be toasting an "Independent Press."

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

John Swinton, editor of the New York Tribune, in the 1880s, at a banquet of his fellow editors

 

Corporate Media

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. "

Edward Bernays, "father" of modern public relations (PR), on government propaganda

*****

"One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change."

David Barsamian, journalist and publisher

Media Control in the United States

" To keep information from the public is the function of the corporate media."

Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

*****

"The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly."

Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

Propaganda and Democracy

"The modern susceptibility to conformity and obedience to authority indicates that the truth endorsed by authority is likely to be accepted as such by a majority of people, who are innately obedient to authority. This obedience-truth will then become a consensus-truth accepted by many individuals unable to stand alone against the majority. In this way, the truth promulgated by the propaganda system - however irrational - stands a good chance of becoming the consensus, and may come to seem self-evident common sense."

David Edwards, author of Burning All Illusions

*****

"In the United States, both the Republican and Democratic Parties, with only a few prominent exceptions, have been and are in the pay of the corporate media and communication giants."

John Nichols and Robert McChesney

Propaganda page

"It's like Pravda... It's a capitalist consolidation of the press - with consequences the same as Pravda: Horrifying distortion and sabotage!"

Toni Morrison, author - decryng the corporate media's silence about the disenfrancisement of thousands of black voters in Florida during the 2000 presidential election

*****

" The purpose of commercial [media] is to induce mass sales. For mass sales there must be a mass norm ... By suppressing the individual, the unique, the industry ... assures itself a standard product for mass consumption."

John Whiting, writer, commenting on the homogenization of corporate media program content

Media watch

"In the media, the world is turned upside down. The contras and the KLA are "democratizers"; the lethal sanctions against Iraq exist to deliver its people from their dictator; the destruction of Yugoslavia through aerial bombardment of civilians and their infrastructure is a "humanitarian intervention."

Michelle Stoddard, CovertAction Quarterly magazine

*****

" Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. "

George Orwell, author of the book "1984"

Media & New World Order

" I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. "

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805 - 1859, French political thinker and author of Democracy in America

*****

" ... the airwaves belong to the people. "

from the 1934 Communications Act

Public relations watch

" The propaganda system allows the U.S. Ieadership to commit crimes without limit and with no suggestion of misbehavior or criminality; in fact, major war criminals like Henry Kissinger appear regularly on TV to comment on the crimes of the derivative butchers. "

Edward S. Herman, political economist and author

*****

"The range of debate between the dominant U.S. [political] parties tends to closely resemble the range of debate within the business class. "

Robert McChesney, author and media critic

Media page

"If you want to know about the world and understand and educate yourself, you have to dig;
dig up books and articles, read and find out for yourself."

John Stockwell, former CIA official and author

*****

" To accept opinions is to gain the good solid feeling of being correct without having to think. "

C. Wright Mills - from the book The Power Elite

Project Censored - censored US Foreign Policy stories

"The U.S. government officials lie when they talk about human rights. They're a bunch of hypocrites and liars.
You can't take it seriously."

Eqbal Ahmad, writer and activist

*****

" When everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking."

John Wooden

Media Reform

" I am astonished each time I come to the U.S. by the ignorance of a high percentage of the population, which knows almost nothing about Latin America or about the world. It's quite blind and deaf to anything that may happen outside the frontiers of the U.S..

Eduardo Galeano, Latin American writer and historian

*****

" The U.S. public is depoliticized, poorly informed on foreign affairs ... and strongly patriotic in the face of a struggle with "another Hitler". Even though the public is normally averse to war, even with modest propaganda efforts ... the public can be quickly transformed into enthusiastic supporters of war."

Edward S. Herman, political economist and author

Magazines page - alternatives to the mainstream press

"The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly."

Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

*****

" We are willing to accept lies if they make our lives easier. "

Producer from the TV series "People's Century", opining on why Americans tolerate unjust and inhumane U.S. government policies, at home and abroad

Independent Media

"One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change."

David Barsamian, journalist

*****

" The range of debate between the dominant U.S. [political] parties tends to closely resemble the range of debate within the business class. "

Robert McChesney, author and media critic

Internet News and Information

"In a dictatorship, censorship in used; in a democracy, manipulation."

Ryszard Kapuscinski, journalist

*****

" They just don't come in contact with people not in their [income] bracket. They've lost touch with their community."

Stan Opotowsky of ABC News, about the journalistic elite - On Bended Knee

Progressive Media Links -- speaking truth to power

"The loud little handful will shout for war. The pulpit will warily and cautiously protest at first.... The great mass of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes, and will try to make out why there should be a war, and they will say earnestly and indignantly: "It is unjust and dishonorable and there is no need for war."

Then the few will shout even louder.... Before long you will see a curious thing: anti-war speakers will be stoned from the platform, and free speech will be strangled by hordes of furious men who still agree with the speakers but dare not admit it...

Next, the statesmen will invent cheap lies...and each man will be glad of these lies and will study them because they soothe his conscience; and thus he will bye and bye convince himself that the war is just and he will thank God for a better sleep he enjoys by his self-deception."

Mark Twain -- observing how wars that are at first seen as unnecessary by the mass of the people become converted into "just" wars

Excerpted Books

"The press ... traditionally sides with authority and the establishment."

Sam Donaldson, ABC correspondent - On Bended Knee

*****

"The major media are large corporations, owned by and interlinked with even larger conglomerates. Like other corporations, they sell a product to a market. The market is advertisers - that is, other businesses. The product is audiences, [and] for the elite media, [they're] relatively privileged audiences. So we have major corporations selling fairly wealthy and privileged audiences to other businesses. Not surprisingly, the picture of the world presented reflects the narrow and biased interests and values of the sellers, the buyers and the product."

Noam Chomsky (from Take the Rich Off Welfare - Odonian Press, p133)

Authors and Books excerpted on website - with links

" Like blackbirds in flight, packs of reporters darken the sky, moving in swarms at the same speed and in predictable trajectory. When one lands, they all land. When one leaves, they all leave.

The programmers and channel controllers from all the stations are part of the same well-paid elite, steeped in the same values, committed to the mission of maximizing audience share and profits. They are chosen for their ability to play the game and not challenge the audience with too many controversial ideas or critical perspectives. It's no surprise that they circulate easily within the commanding heights of media power, moving from company to company and job to job.

A kind of group think corporate consensus, steeped in market logic and deeply inbred by an un-brave news culture, breeds conscience-free conformity and self-censorship.

This makes frightening sense in a globalized economy where consumerism is more desired than active citizenship, where power is increasingly concentrated and the public is increasingly unwelcome in a public discourse defined by the powerful. If your goal is to numb people and drive them away from active participation, then TV as "weapon of mass distraction" and wall to wall entertainment makes sense. Shut up and shop is the now the message, one that makes sense to advertiser dominated media outlets... "

Danny Schechter, Dung on all their Houses, Toward Freedom magazine, December / January 2000

 

Books

Conglomerates and the Media
Corporate Media & Threat to Democracy - McChesney

It's the Media, Stupid - McChesney and Nichols
Manufacturing Consent - N Chomsky/E Herman

Media Control - Noam Chomsky
Media Monopoly, The - Ben Bagdikian

Networks of Power-Corporate TV Threat to Democracy - Dennie Mazzocco
News About the News, The - Leonard Downie and Robert Kaiser

Our Media Not Theirs - McChesney and Nichols
Rich Media, Poor Democracy - Robert McChesney
Stenographers to Power - media and propaganda - David Barsamian interviews

Toxic Sludge Is Good For You - John Stauber & Sheldon Rampton
Trust Us, We're Experts! - John Stauber & Sheldon Rampton
Unreliable Sources - Normon Solomon
War, Lies & Videotape - International Action Center

Wizards of Media OZ - Normon Solomon

Articles

Prime Time Payola - Is Clear Channel buying political favors with pro-war fanaticism?
In Iraq Crisis: Networks are Megaphones for Official Views
The China Syndrome [Corporate Media and Iraq War]
The Media in a Time of War
Prosecute US Corporate Media For War Crimes
Clear Channel's pro-war rallies are good ways to butter up the Bush administration
A Whiff of Fascism
The Corporate Media in Wartime (5/05)


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