I promised I was likely to create commentary on my reading of the 1st chapter Dr Noam Chomsky’s book, “Understanding Power, The Indispensable Chomsky”. This is the first article in that processes
What I wanted to discuss here, is the idea that the media in the United States is essentially a “puppet of” a class that Dr Chomsky considers the power behind the government.
It would be easy for me to make a snarky comment at this point, but I’ll refrain from so doing.
Instead, I’ll start with a simple observation. It’s exceptionally obvious that there’re interests controlling the output of the mainstream media in the U. S.
It’s further pretty clear, that at least some of that control, is a result of the fact that the entities in question are “for profit” and typically either vast conglomerates in their own right, or smaller parts of large corporate groups.
Basically what I’m saying here, is that the media in America, considered to be main stream, is generally under the thumb of those “owning” them. Those counted their owners, may then be subjugated by yet others. It’s also distinctly possible there are others outside the direct power structure, who are in the position to wield external influence.
I can make an argument for a couple of other groups of folks who’re mostly not so managed by large corporate constructs. For at least one of them, it’s reasonable to conclude they’re beholden to various groups for routine infusions of cash.
That group, would be what’s currently referred to as the “Right Wing Media.”
Even the more autonomous individuals, must provide the correct type of content, in reasonable formats to make them popular, so their sponsors feel the advertisement for which they pay, is sufficiently effective to make it worth those monies dispensed for its existence.
As such, those in the “Right Wing Media,” must present narratives seen to be enticing to their listeners, watchers and readers. Failing to do so, means advertising revenue falls off. The result for their advertisers, is falling sales.
That said, if they can stay true to themselves, and continue to make a profit in the doing of it, it’s certainly possible, they can at least present the things they find important and reasonable.
The crucial thing to keep in mind where this group is concerned though, is that where some of what they present is “news” (and all news tends to be put out with some bias, regardless who broadcasts it), the majority of their content is opinion.
If their viewpoints resonate with a large number of people, all the better. If they don’t, it’s likely they’ll either shift their perspectives, lose business, or go completely out of operation.
Perhaps one of the best trends to have occurred where news and similar content is concerned though, is social media.
People can essentially become celebrities—some for quite frivolous things—more or less overnight.
That said, it’s possible for folks to create what amounts to newsworthy content, and “broadcast” it on social media. In the process, there’s a potential for huge numbers of followers.
Some social media companies offer ways to monetize that content, making it so people are able to live comfortably on putting it out there.
It’s literally possible to generate what amount to empires on this concept.
Recently, there has begun to be a problem. The truth is, it’s likely the issue has existed for some time, but has become more noticeable as the owners and stakeholders in such companies have become more brazen in their tactics.
The problem? That the very social media companies that have been making their fortunes off content providers through mechanisms like advertisers on their platforms, have begun to censor those providing them with the very substance upon which they were built.
There are those who refer to the folks doing such “filtering” as “tech tyrants.”
As a result of this activity, new social media platforms have begun to spring up. It’s hard to say whether these new entities will be able to essentially supplant the existing companies, or at least, work alongside them.
Further, it’s more than a little difficult to see whether they’ll remain true to their stated objective of providing the same sorts of services as the existing platforms, without censoring content when it doesn’t meet their own political and social values.
At present, that’s at least the stated objective of at a minimum, a couple such alliances.
Essentially, they hope to win the war of ideas, by allowing anyone in the space they’re providing, then attempting to proffer the most solid, meaningful arguments to get people to recognize the superiority of their positions.
There’s still an argument to the effect that some ideas won’t get “fair play” on such platforms, but honestly, I don’t think that’ll fail to happen as a result of the folks who own them.
Rather, the issue is likely to be that many are indoctrinated into specific schools of thought that have them sufficiently trapped as to make it impossible for them to embrace other mindsets without major adjustments to their way of thinking.
That considered, if the media folks about whom we’re speaking remain true to their collective word, at least there should be a place for people with off-the-beaten-track ideas to express them.
Finding ways to do so, that don’t immediately cause their audience to reach for the off switch, as it were, may not prove so easy a task.
Assuming the business environment to not be overly regulated. It should also be possible for more people to enter this space.
The other concern, is whether the government will use regulations to more tightly control what’s said.
This is already in play to some degree, when one considers the idea that rules, laws and regulations like the “Fairness Doctrine” are at least being considered, if not already in effect.
There are a couple of sneakier ways for government to limit Internet freedom that I won’t take the time to get into here if for no other reason than sheer space required.
So wrapping up. To begin with, it’s patently obvious to even the casual observer, Chomsky’s assertion that most of the current day (and certainly past) media is under some controlling entity, is correct. It’s typically also easy to see the entities in question are likely corporate in nature, and managed by powerful individuals (read here, “elites”). There’s hope for more openness, but even it is not guaranteed to result in the potential for propagation of “off kilter” ideas (those that don’t fit within the normally taught modes of thought).
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.