Television is not the truth!
Television is a goddamned amusement park!
Nelson Chaney: All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting.
Hackett: We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.
Nelson Chaney: Well, I don't want any part of it! I don't fancy myself the president of a whorehouse.
Hackett: That's very commendable of you, Nelson. Your indignation is duly noted; now, sit down.
Why media ownership matters
By Amy Goodman and David Goodman
George Bush must have been delighted to learn from a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that 56 percent of Americans still think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the start of the war, while six in 10 said they believe Iraq provided direct support to the al-Qaida terrorist network — notions that have long since been thoroughly debunked by everyone from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee to both of Bush's handpicked weapons inspectors, Charles Duelfer and David Kay.
Americans believe these lies not because they are stupid, but because they are good media consumers. Our media have become an echo chamber for those in power. Rather than challenge the fraudulent claims of the Bush administration, we've had a media acting as a conveyor belt for the government's lies.
As the Pentagon has learned, deploying the American media is more powerful than any bomb. The explosive effect is amplified as a few pro-war, pro-government media moguls consolidate their grip over the majority of news outlets. Media monopoly and militarism go hand in hand.
When it comes to issues of war and peace, the results of having a compliant media are as deadly to our democracy as they are to our soldiers. Why do the corporate media cheerlead for war? One answer lies in the corporations themselves — the ones that own the major news outlets.
At the time of the first Persian Gulf War, CBS was owned by Westinghouse and NBC by General Electric. Two of the major nuclear weapons manufacturers owned two of the major networks. Westinghouse and GE made most of the parts for many of the weapons in the Persian Gulf War. It was no surprise, then, that much of the coverage on those networks looked like a military hardware show.
The Seattle Times
You wake up in the morning. Brush your teeth. Splash the sleep out of your eyes and head for the kitchen for a cup of coffee or tea and whatever is available for breakfast.
You wander to the living room and search for the remote control. It is in its usual place- stuck inexplicably between the sofa cushions. You turn on the television and stand there flipping from one channel to the other, looking for a news brief or something that will sum up what happened during those six hours you slept. You finally settle on the pleasant face on the screen- the big hair, bright power suit, capped teeth and colorful talons- blandly reading the news. The anchoress is Julie Chan. The program is CBS’s The Early Show (Live from Fifth Avenue!).
Guess the nationality of the viewer above. Three guesses. American? No. Canadian? No. British? Japanese? Australian? No, no and no. The viewer is Iraqi… or Jordanian… or Lebanese… or Syrian… or Saudi… or Kuwaiti… or… but you get the picture.
Two years ago, the major part of the war in Iraq was all about bombarding us with smart bombs and high-tech missiles. Now there’s a different sort of war- or perhaps it’s just another phase of the same war. Now we’re being assailed with American media. It’s everywhere all at once.
It began with radio stations like Voice of America which we could access even before the war.
After the war, there were other radio stations- ones with mechanical voices that told us to put down our weapons and remain inside our homes, ones that fed us American news in an Iraqi dialect and ones that just played music. With satellite access we are constantly listening to American music and watching American sitcoms and movies. To be fair- it’s not just Iraq that is being targeted- it’s the whole region and it’s all being done very cleverly.