The problem with captive media is that when a news channel like, for instance, Fox News is owned lock, stock, and barrel by a major corporation, it will find it immensely difficult to be neutral and objective in its reporting. There will be a strong pressure – directly or indirectly – to report in a way which is aligned with the fundamental interests of their corporate owners.
There is, indeed, little difference in this between a news media owned by a corporation and one owned by a nation-state: both are “captive” and subject to the will and whims of their masters. But if anything, state-owned news media may actually be freer and more independent, because they are often protected by laws which prevent the government from taking direct control of them. News media owned by corporations, on the other hand, are fundamentally defenceless against pressure from management.
But why, you may well ask, would management want to interfere with them at all? Aren’t they just interested in making money and wouldn’t that make them neutral and objective all by itself?
No, it doesn’t work like that. Yes, they want to make money. But that is only half the truth. Because the basic purpose of any capitalistic company is not really to make money – but to serve the best interest of their owners. Usually, that will be served by making as much money as possible. But sometimes it is more than that.
Let’s say, for instance, that you happen to be the owner of one of the major news networks in the States. You have the option of using that company to make money through advertising sales. Well and good. But… you also have the opportunity – at the same time – of using your news network to support politicians who favour big corporations. Corporations, like the one you own. Would you use your news network to support such politicians by showing their actions and policies in a favourable light while casting aspersions and disdain on their opponents?
Well, why shouldn’t you? After all, if one of “your” politicians should happen to be elected president of the US later on in his career, maybe there will be a nice tax break coming your way then. As a “thank you” gift, so to say.
Purely hypothetical example, of course.
Favouring certain politicians is not the only thing you can do with a news network. You can actually change a whole nation, step by step. Nudging it, gradually, to support values and ideals which you prefer. Like, the inherent “goodness” of a purely capitalistic society. The obvious “badness” of public administration and common welfare programs. The ineffable “evil” of foreign powers, who steal your greatness by selling products to you. And the perfect “naturalness” of the president stating that he wouldn’t hesitate to accept help from foreign powers during elections.
Once you control a news network, you control a significant part of the world – as people see, hear, and experience it. We spend hours and hours in front of the television – or with the TV turned on in the background – and if we, over and over and over again, are told that those things are natural, OK, obvious, and completely normal… then, inevitably, we will gradually begin to listen – and to believe.
It is, bluntly, a standard method of indoctrination. It has been used for ages by experts at this in the Soviet Union. And, for the last two decades, by Fox News.
It is the dream of the ultra-rich come true: they are now able to promote a world in which their wealth and privileges are safe and inviolable – because people believe that to be good and fair.
– Northern Dragon © 2019. All rights reserved.