Media Mafia: Corruption in the Cable Industry (Case File #9) – Fascism, Opinion Formation and Murdoch’s Use of Soccer as a Tool of Globalization
Edited by Alex Constantine
“… The involvement of governments in determining the course of development of cable systems has comprised three main stages. In the first stage, governments tried to ignore cable and prevent the establishment of cable infrastructure. In the second stage, governments regulated the technology in order to promote a national cable policy and encourage the overall development of the broadcasting media. In the third stage, although at different speeds and perceptions, governments deregulated cable by giving permission to market forces to dominate cable’s development and abandoning the social goals of cable policy.” – Yaron Katz, “The diminishing role of governments in cable policy,” European Journal of Political Research, Volume 38 Issue 2 Page 285-302, October 2000
Opinion Formation: Exactly How Low are the Cable Networks Willing to Go?:
Chris from Ohio Says – ” … Then there was that woman who sat there and said that lead on our toys and poison in our food is good b/c it means low prices at Wal-Mart. The cable news networks should have their funds cut off now. … ” – September 20th, 2007 at 10:27 AM – PDT
by David Neiwert
… Newspeak permeates the political environment right now. The core agenda of the Bush administration, mouthed by a hundred talking heads on cable TV, is now neatly summed up by two of the core truisms of Newspeak:
“War is peace.” [The purpose of the Iraq war, and the War on Terror generally, is to ensure peace and security at home, we are told.]
“Ignorance is strength.” [Consider the way Bush’s fumbled syntax and express anti-intellectualism is integral to his crafted image of homespun integrity.]
A Whiff of Fascism
by Carla Binion Online Journal Contributing Editor
Online Journal, April 7, 2003
… Lets focus on corporate/government control of the press, specifically corporate control of U.S. television news networks. According to a March 24 article, Protests Turn Off Viewers’by Harry A. Jessell, 45 percent of Americans rely on cable channels as their primary source of news, and 22 percent get most of their news from broadcast networks evening newscasts.
Only 11 percent rely on other forms of media as their principle source of war news.
Our corporate controlled TV networks might as well be state controlled, because they promote the war and Bush policies fairly consistently and have virtually eliminated all dissenting voices. … If youve spent much time watching the pro-Bush, pro-war cable television news programs, you cant help but notice they manipulate (whether deliberately or not) the viewing audiences emotions rather than appealing to viewers’ logic. …
According to Klaus Fisher, the Nazis eliminated from state media any ideas that clashed with official views. He writes that permissible media topics for public consumption included war itself and the Nazi movement; support of Nazi soldiers; praise for Hitler and celebrating the thrill of combat and the sacredness of death when it is in the service of the fatherland.
Todays Bush-friendly TV networks have also deemed only certain subjects permissible,’as evidenced by the irrefutable fact that they only cover a narrow range of subjects. Coincidentally, the proverbial network list’would read virtually the same as the list in the paragraph above. Permissible topics include praise for the war;’praise for the administrations policies; support for our soldiers; praise for Bush and the celebrating the thrill of combat and the sacredness of death when it is in the service of'(in this case) the homeland, even though there is no rational link between attacking Iraq and defending our soil.
Of course, who needs rationality or facts from TV news when the American public already has enough information about world events? In a March 26 article for Editor and Publisher, Polls Suggest Media Failure in Pre-War Coverage,’reporter Ari Berman refers to a Knight Ridder/Princeton Research poll. This poll showed 44 percent of respondents believed most’or some’of the September 11 hijackers were Iraqis. Only 17 percent gave the correct answer: none.
In the same poll, 41 percent said they believed Iraq definitely has nuclear weapons. As Berman points out, not even the Bush administration has claimed that.
Berman also refers to a Pew Research Center/Council on Foreign Relations survey showing that almost two-thirds of people polled believed U. N. weapons inspectors had found proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction.’This claim was never made by Hans Blix or Mohammed ElBaradei.
The same survey found 57 percent of those polled falsely believed Saddam Hussein assisted the 9/11 terrorists, and a March 79 New York Times/CBS News Poll revealed that 45 percent of respondents believed Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks.
TV news reporters have done little to correct the publics misconceptions. On the contrary, network reporters and their guests have often helped bolster the false impressions by mentioning September 11, or the threat of terrorism by al Qaeda, and the threat’posed by Saddam in the same breath.
Individual TV reporters aren’t always free to choose the information they pass along to the public. CNN now has a relatively new script approval system, whereby journalists send their copy in to CNN chiefs for sanitizing.
The policy says, All reporters preparing package scripts must submit the scripts for approval . . . Packages may not be edited until the scripts are approved . . . All packages originating outside Washington, LA or NY, including all international bureaus, must come to the ROW [a group of script editors] in Atlanta for approval.
William Shirer comments on the Nazi party’s control of press, radio and film, Every morning the editors of the Berlin daily newspapers and the correspondents of those published elsewhere in the Reich gathered at the Propaganda Ministry to be told by Dr. Goebbels or by one of his aides what news to print and suppress, how to write the news and headline it, what campaigns to call off or institute and what editorials were desired for the day. In case of any misunderstanding, a daily directive was furnished along with the oral instructions. …
The content of television news lacks range and diversity, but the way the news is presented is also disturbing. Television reporters often deliver news of the war’with apparent breathless excitement, as if they’re giving play-by-play descriptions of football games. People are dying in this conflict.
Civilians are caught in the middle, being blown to pieces or losing loved ones. Children are left behind when their soldier-parents are killed. Instead of presenting news of this war’with giddiness, wouldnt it be more appropriate, more human, for network reporters to take a somber, respectful approach? …
Marie Cocco: Return of Cable TV’s ‘Experts’
Aug 21, 2006
By Marie Cocco
WASHINGTON—The voice on my phone tape was unmistakably young, and carried an undertone of panic. The caller said she’d heard from someone in New York that I knew John F. Kennedy Jr., and so could I possibly—please?—go on her cable-TV network that afternoon to talk about the tragic disappearance of his plane?
Befuddlement set in. Not only had I never met the son of the late president, but I couldn’t imagine how my name could be even loosely thrown about as someone who may have rubbed elbows with the handsome prince of tabloid dreams.
Was it because I’d worked as a journalist in New York, where the papers dutifully chronicled JFK Jr.’s life and loves? Or because I knew prosecutors at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where Kennedy once had worked? It couldn’t possibly be my journalistic association with his uncle Ted, since even that consists—as it does for hundreds of others in the news business—of trailing the Massachusetts senator around Capitol Hill when he is in the thick of some legislative maneuver.
Well, maybe it had something to do with growing up in Boston, having a liberal political outlook and being Catholic—attributes, after all, that only a few million potential Kennedy family “experts’’ can claim. In truth, the closest I’ve ever come to Hyannisport was on a tourist boat that plied the waters off Cape Cod, the guide pointing out the beachfront that runs along the Kennedys’ iconic summer home.
No, I was sorry to tell the young producer when I belatedly returned her call, I didn’t know JFK Jr. Like most everyone else in July 1999, I merely watched in stunned sadness as yet another Kennedy family tragedy unfolded before us.
The odd exchange comes fresh to mind now because another summer has descended into delirious coverage of a made-for-tabloid-TV story. The arrest of a suspect in the decade-old murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey has rejuvenated the Roman circus of cable coverage—just when the infotainment industry had bored itself covering the apparently less titillating war in the Middle East.
They’re back—all back: the legal “experts,’’ most of whom have seen precisely none of the evidence compiled by the police, the district attorney’s office or the Thai authorities who picked up John Mark Karr; the shrinks who specialize in plumbing the darkness of the criminal mind, though none have probed Karr’s; the DNA specialists who admit they don’t know if Karr’s DNA sample matches the biological evidence found at the girl’s murder scene—but if it does, of course, then the case against him is a slam-dunk.
American journalism always has had a taste for the sensational—the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and the over-the-top coverage of it predated the coming of cable by decades. But the loose standard for news that marks the era of cable television has no precedent.
Cable news organizations, unlike the broadcast networks, are faced with feeding the beast of round-the-clock airtime. But short of natural disasters and plane crashes, little genuine “news’’ breaks out 24 hours a day. So airtime is filled with an endless lineup of questionable commentators with limited claim on hard information. Thus did my name somehow turn up as a potential JFK Jr. acquaintance. After all, there seemed to be only six degrees of separation between us, when really there were about 6 million.
It is impossible for viewers to determine which “experts’’ are experts and which are peddlers of uninformed bunk who go on television because the appearances provide free advertising for lawyers, private eyes, psychiatric consultants, jury experts and others who might gain from some association with a high-profile crime. Not a few of these types wrongly convicted John and Patsy Ramsey of their daughter’s murder a decade ago, just as they concluded in 2001 that Gary Condit, then a member of Congress, must have been complicit in the murder of Chandra Levy, an intern with whom he’d had an affair. Levy apparently was the victim of a random assault.
Cable news routinely transforms local crimes into national crises—convincing a fair number of people that there really are terrible scourges afoot in which pregnant women such as Laci Peterson are brutally murdered, and teenagers on graduation trips disappear. The transformation of news into voyeuristic spectacle is a distraction from societal and political rot that isn’t given similar seriousness of coverage. And this will, one day when the circus is over, catch up with us.
Rupert Murdoch and the Politics of Soccer
From: “Television leaves the Broadcast Age”
New Politics Institute
… Rupert Murdoch, owner of Skynews, Fox and so many other media outlets has a global footprint, and is using soccer to create a global, universal product that can transcend cultural boundries.
This globalization of the English Premiere League has had a huge impact on the League itself. Seeking a global audience its teams have been much more aggressive about signing players from all the over world. You see many more Africans, Americans and Asians in England than any other European league. Yes the Spanish have their Brazilians, but most of the European teams still draw heavily from players in their home countries. They are not yet truly globalized. But I expect that will come.
As this globalized 21st century media platform emerges, sports is increasingly becoming the lingua franca, the media experience that binds people together in a much more fragmented and personal media world. Remarkable soccer goals often make the top 10 on YouTube. ESPN is emerging as the most powerful cable channel among the hundreds now available. Mastery of the emerging media of this century will mean many things, but one thing it will mean for sure is the ability to connect one’s values to sport, as the Republicans have with NASCAR and the NFL. What is the progressive response? We tried soccer last year, with great success. But there is clearly much more to be learned and tried in the years to come.
This is the html version of the file http://www.outfoxed.org/docs/outfoxed_storms_theatres_press_notes_7-30.doc.
OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism
A Robert Greenwald Film
Produced and Directed by Robert Greenwald
Laurel Busby, Jim Gilliam, Kate McArdle and Devin Smith
Running Time: 77 Minutes
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THE DIRECTOR’S INTRODUCTION
Making films can certainly take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. I don’t know how to describe the pain of watching hours and hours of Fox news. For myself, our great media monitors around the country, and the dedicated crew working on the film, it actually became physically painful as the hours of watching turned into weeks and then months. The combination of abrasive attack mode all the time, fear mongering 24/7 and gross amounts of overstatement and bias… well, it was no picnic.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the media monitors (see the behind the scenes on the dvd to get a sense of their work) who were glued to the television for hours at a time, watching, noting, sending me thousands of pages of comments. Without them we could not have made the film.
There are some wonderful media activist groups working to change things. My most passionate wish is that you will see the film and then decide which groups to work with, support, or start your own, in order to effect change. We must change the media, to get the kind of country we want.
Finally, encourage all of you to take a look at the other films that I am part of that are raising issues for our country, the “Un series”, Unprecedented about the Florida 2000 election directed by Joan Sekler and Richard Perez, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, about the reasons for the war in Iraq, and Unconstitutional, about civil liberties after 9.11, directed by Nonny de la Pena.
The wondrous MoveOn.org and the critically important Center for American Progress helped bring these films to life. Please support both of these critical organizations.
ABOUT THE FILM
OUTFOXED examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, have been running a “race to the bottom” in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public’s right to know.
The film explores Murdoch’s burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.
Media experts, including Jeff Cohen (FAIR) Bob McChesney (Free Press), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy) and David Brock (Media Matters) provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.
This documentary also reveals the secrets of Former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it’s like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a “right-wing” point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said “There’s no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can’t be crossed.”
Director/Producer Robert Greenwald has produced and/or directed 53 television movies, miniseries and features. He is the director of UNCOVERED: THE WAR ON IRAQ and the Executive Producer of the UN series – Unprecedented, Uncovered and the soon to be released Unconstitutional.