What we think we know about the world influences our deepest beliefs and passions. We interpret facts through our individual filters and decide from there what is good, bad, evil, and wonderful. These filters are created by our environment, our background, our upbringing, and what we might call “our emotional baggage;” I sometimes call them our “onion layers,” the beliefs and feelings that envelop our true core selves.
But where do the “facts” that impact our views about the world come from? They may stem from teachers, books, or mentors, but they often originate in and are reinforced by the media: the talking heads on television and radio, the words printed in newspapers, books, and the powerful images and videos found online.
The main stream media, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC, and the other giant networks and empires pretend to tell the unbiased “truth.” However, even a cursory glance is enough to prove their agenda is far from transparent. In fact, a shining example of the way the corporatocracy has exerted its power and its influence over public attitudes is its control of the press. Nothing is more important to a democracy than freedom of expression. It is essential to have a press that is open to a wide range of points of view and is not subject to the whims of a few powerful interests.
In the early 1980’s the media was controlled by approximately 50 large corporations. Today, that number has been reduced to a handful: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (FOX, HarperCollins, New York Post, and 34 TV stations), Comcast (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, Bravo, Time Warner Cable, and 13 TV stations), Time Warner (CNN, Warner Bros., Time, and its 130 magazines), Disney (ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, Hyperion, 10 TV and 29 radio stations), Viacom (MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and 185 U.S. radio stations), CBS Corporation (CBS radio and TV networks, Simon & Schuster, and Showtime) and Bertelsmann (Random House and it’s more than 100 imprints, and Gruner + Jahr and its 80 magazines).
Fortunately, around the world we are witnessing a growing alternative media. Amy Goodman’s DemocracyNow!, Common Dreams, CSRwire, Democracy Chronicles, Mother Jones, TheRealNews, and truth-out.org, among others, reach more and more people every day and cover events and details that the mainstream media avoids. They are not owned by or beholden to Big Business and therefore lack the pro-corporatocracy bias we’ve come to expect from mainstream media.
It’s important to know who is reporting the news and who stands to gain behind the scenes. Don’t rely on your favorite journalist or news anchor to cut through the massive filter of money and power that dictates what makes the headlines and what ends up on the cutting room floor. Do your own research, examine many sources and points of view, and exercise your democratic muscle by asking questions and demanding evidence.
The news the media doesn’t tell us is usually the most important. The facts they leave out or dismiss are often the most critical. These are the very facts we should use to decide to act or to stay silent; the mainstream media and the corporatocracy behind it know how powerful we the people really are. They hope to control us by controlling what we know.
If knowledge is power, let’s search high and low for it, share it with everyone we meet, and work together to keep it free from corruption and government and corporatocracy control. Let’s show the mainstream media, and the corporatocracy machine that owns it, what freedom – including freedom of expression – really means.