The Free Press Isn’t

It costs a fortune to own a media outlet in America today. Therefore, as a result, only people with fortunes own media outlets in America.

Media, plural of medium. Medium of communication. Tool for dissemination of information. Only people with fortunes are telling you anything. Any. Thing.

The various media empires are said to belong to corporations. Says so right on the website. But follow the corporate chain up, and somewhere up in the stratosphere is one billionaire or billionaire family. At the top of each media corporate chain is a billionaire. These are not faceless masses; corporations are not fungi. Every major media outlet chain in America today is primarily controlled, owned or funded by one, or a family of, very rich individual human beings.

It is not a “conspiracy theory” to say that rich people share interests, objectives, and value systems. They have things in common with one another. Rich people assign a high value to money and material wealth. That is why they are rich. Overall the richer one of them gets the richer they all get. They don’t have to hold secret meetings to agree to shield their wealth and work to make themselves richer. It is what they do. It is how they got rich; it is how they stay rich.

Every word that America has heard since the Reagan Administration has been funded by the same group of rich people. There used to be an FCC policy called the Fairness Doctrine which required that broadcast entities, in order to use the public airways, had to give roughly equal time and exposure to both sides of political questions. The Reagan Administration turned off the Fairness Doctrine. We can’t fix that. We can’t take the TV stations away from their owners, nor the radio, not even NPR. They own it all fair and square. We can’t take the newspapers away from them; most newspapers are wholly owned subsidiaries of the same media empires.

And even if we had a Fairness Doctrine it wouldn’t work anymore. Cable media do not transmit over the public airwaves. They do not have to be licensed by the FCC. The only Federal regulations affecting cable media empires have to do with how much they can charge their customers. They can say anything they want without restriction. They can lie to you all day. Fox News, for one, does exactly that.

Billionaires own or finance all the so-called “mainstream media,” including NPR / PBS. Billionaires are not going to publish and spread ideas that will cost them money. They simply are not. Billionaires are not going to give equal time to the idea that they should pay more taxes than they are now; billionaires are going to tell their audiences that taxes are bad. From their perspective taxes are bad.

Everything that the Democratic Party needs to do for the American people would require that the rich pay a fair share of taxes. If Democrats get elected it will cost billionaires money. Billionaires don’t have to conspire to give Democrats bad press. It’s in their DNA. They can’t imagine anything better.

Quit waiting for current top-level media (TV, radio, newspapers) to give Democrats a fair shake. It ain’t happening. As evidence I offer you the state and federal governments of the United States.

The Free Press, isn’t. Not the one that everybody is looking at. We can either take our minds and our destinies away from them, or we can accept the minds and destinies they give us.

The simple reality is that humans can only think with the information that is in their minds. Most of the people in North Korea really believe that they’ve got the best deal in the world. Their access to information is carefully controlled.

America’s access to information is controlled just as surely as North Korea’s is. Billionaires control it. Unlike North Korea it is legal in America to report news that does not benefit our ruling class, but Americans are so habituated to watching TV that there is little danger that ideas unwelcome to the ruling class will get a widespread audience or widespread consideration.

It goes beyond the news. Television entertainment constantly reinforces the same set of norms: rich people are better people. Poor people are pathetic, silly, and stupid. Normal families live in million dollar homes. There are no intelligent, sensible, honest, liberal working class people on television. There never will be.

The reality of American media is that they have one world view. They push it all day every day. Unless we are able to offer some alternative there will never be a Democratic majority again. Right now today it appears to me that the odds aren’t that good. I would love to be proven wrong.

The above is an edited excerpt of a longer essay in which I recommend alternatives to the media owned by the rich. If you are interested you can read the longer essay here. 

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