Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Media and Cable Monopolies (Cont.)

“Whoever controls the media controls the mind.” ~ Jim Morrison, who passed away in 1971. (Via University of Wisconsin)

Most people of my generation probably knows the comedian George Carlin (who passed away in 2008) and heard him speak of the American Dream (and who really controls America). Here's the video at YouTube (with over 5 million hits to date). Here are excerpts from the transcript:

"You have "owners". They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls — they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies; so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying — lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want.

They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That's against their interests. That's right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that! You know what they want?

They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place! It's a big club, and you ain’t in it! You, and I, are not in the big club.

By the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar — it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue ... these are people of modest means ... continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about you…

They don’t care about you at all. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."

The six corporations that collectively controls 90% of U.S. media are AOL Time Warner (CNN), Walt Disney, Viacom, News Corp. (Fox News), CBS Corporation, and NBC Universal (MSNBC). Via the Associated Press: "Six of the 10 highest-paid CEOs last year worked in the media industry."

Noam Chomsky (1989) via Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies

"The major media — particularly, the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow — are corporations "selling" privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product. Concentration of ownership of the media is high and increasing. Furthermore, those who occupy managerial positions in the media, or gain status within them as commentators, belong to the same privileged elites, and might be expected to share the perceptions, aspirations, and attitudes of their associates, reflecting their own class interests as well. Journalists entering the system are unlikely to make their way unless they conform to these ideological pressures, generally by internalizing the values; it is not easy to say one thing and believe another, and those who fail to conform will tend to be weeded out by familiar mechanisms."

Noam Chomsky (1991) via Z Magazine: Force and Opinion:

"Control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward: a despotic state can control its domestic enemies by force, but as the state loses this weapon, other devices are required to prevent the ignorant masses from interfering with public affairs, which are none of their business…the public are to be observers, not participants, consumers of ideology as well as products."

Carl Sagan (1997) via The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark:

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudo-science and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”

Fifteen years ago in 2000 AOL purchased Time Warner for $164 billion. (wiki: AOL Time Warner, Inc.)

Noam Chomsky (2011) via a lecture: The State-Corporate Complex:

"The public relations industry, which essentially runs the elections, is applying certain principles to undermine democracy which are the same as the principles that applies to undermine markets. The last thing that business wants in markets is the sense of economic theory. Take a course in economics, they tell you a market is based on informed consumers making rational choices. Anyone who’s ever looked at a TV ad knows that’s not true ... The same is true when the same industry, the PR industry, turns to undermining democracy. It wants to construct elections in which uninformed voters will make irrational choices. It’s pretty reasonable, and it’s so evident you can hardly miss it."


  • Bloomberg (May 2015) Verizon Communications to Buy AOL for $4.4 Billion
  • Huffington Post (May 2015): The all-cash deal will be completed this summer.
  • Washington Post (May 2015) The Huffington Post could be spun off from Verizon. AOL bought Huffington Post for about $300 million in 2011 and may now be worth more than $1 billion.
  • Wall Street Journal (May 2015): Charter Strikes $55 Billion Deal for Time Warner Cable

The Verge (May 26, 2015): Charter buys Time Warner Cable to create America's second biggest cable provider:

"Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) in a deal that values the latter, larger company at $78.7 billion [WSJ quotes a $55 billion deal]. The two firms will merge together under the newly created parent company New Charter, which will become the second biggest cable provider in the US after Comcast. A separate acquisition by Charter of the smaller cable company Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion means that the new company will soon have 23.9 million customers in 41 states. This is the fourth time Charter has tried to acquire Time Warner Cable in the last three years, with this week's deal only made possible after Comcast abandoned its own $45 billion merger with TWC due to resistance from regulators."

The complexity of the deal (found at Forbes) shows how shareholder billionaire John Malone will become much richer: "According to Jefferies, the mega-merger could take Charter’s market capitalization from around $20 billion to just under $60 billion, while 2015 EBITDA would nearly quadruple to $13.2 billion."

Al Jazeera (May 29, 2015 by David Cay Johnston) Monopoly power tightens grip on US economy:

"These actions [cable company mergers] illustrate the increasingly sclerotic condition of the American economy. Instead of enjoying the benefits of competition, America suffers from ever more concentrated ownership of vital, privately owned infrastructure. There is nothing business owners hate more than competition because profits are harder to earn and margins are thinner. But competition is essential to well-functioning markets. Less competition means higher prices and vastly greater wealth for those who can exert oligopoly or monopoly control over an industry. These companies then use their enhanced economic power to lobby and donate their way to government rules that ease their already modest tax burdens, drive down wages and further reduce consumer rights. Many of the largest fortunes in America derive from government rules creating and sustaining monopolies. And when perpetual rights are conveyed to private interests those fortunes are passed down to younger family members who owe their wealth to inheritance, not hard work or merit. Monopolies are generally bad: They charge high prices, avoid investments in quality improvements and run roughshod over customers. Worse are unregulated monopolies, which abound now that government neglects its duty to act as a proxy for the competitive market by overseeing their prices and operations. But even worse than this are monopolies that control such an important infrastructure as cyberspace."

These huge U.S. mega-mergers do absolutely nothing to give Americans better service or cheaper services — they only greatly make a few rich people even more rich (and more powerful). PERIOD. As noted at the Economic Populist, U.S. businesses made $1.8 trillion in after-tax profits last year alone. To date they have over $2.1 trillion in overseas profits stashed offshore. They are also currently paying historically low "effective tax rates". And last year the U.S. merger-and-acquisitions market saw the number of deals (like these, worth at least $1 billion or more) rise 43% from the year before. And just last year alone American companies have spent nearly $1 trillion on stock buybacks and dividends (to enrich company executives on their stock options).

These huge U.S. mega-mergers do absolutely nothing to give Americans better service or cheaper services. They don't hire people or give them raises in their wages. They just dodge taxes and hide money in offshore banks. And Congress lets them do this. And when people like Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren advocates for change, the media (left and right) write them off as kooks. That's the corporate media (the "owners") controlling our minds — getting the American people to vote against their own best interests.

It's not hard to imagine (at this pace) that within the next 100 years (just like in a SciFy thriller) one massive corporation, not only controlling every single asset, manufactured good and service in the world, but also controlling every government in the world. First, all they have to do is control our minds.

Other media quotes:

  • “The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labor. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.” ― Charles Moore
  • “Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups. So I ask, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind.” ― Philip K. Dick
  • “The COUNTRY is controlled by LAWS>LAWS are controlled by POLITICIANS>POLITICIANS are controlled by VOTERS>VOTERS are controlled by PUBLIC OPINION>PUBLIC OPINION is controlled by the MEDIA and EDUCATION. So whoever controls MEDIA and EDUCATION controls the COUNTRY.” — William J. Federer
  • “You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) writes, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” ― Donald Trump (billionaire and presidential wannbe)

1 comment:

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