Friday, September 08, 2006

The Irony, in one Act

It's somewhat surprising and maybe I missed it somewhere, but I haven't seen anyone point out the irony at the core of this Path to 9/11 episode. That irony would be how Clinton and his administration has become or may become the victim of his own hand, literally. Now, we still don't know for certain whether ABC will broadcast this wretch of a film, but I would be surprised if they back down from the broadcast. Now that word is getting out that this "docu-drama" is actually a GOP mashup by some "Christo-fascist" (as Miller calls them) propaganda mill that wants to take over Hollywood "from the inside," the pressure on ABC may become rather severe.

But back to the irony thing. When Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, critics had predicted exactly what has been observed over the last ten years: independent media have been swallowed by the corporate maw and bigger media maws consummed smaller ones at an alarming rate. We have seen right wing Clear Channel ownership of radio stations balloon since the Act was signed. The number of major media outlets has plummeted from 80 in 1986 to just 5 today. Say that again, just to let it sink in: Five. We watched Viacom buy CBS, and Disney finally and completely consumed ABC. There would also be some significant corporate cross-pollination, too, as with General Electric owning NBC. This was not necessarily a concern at the time of the original buy-out, 1985, but with only five major media outlets today, it much more serious now. As Professor Aurora Wallace has said,
Media consolidation has created the illusion of choice. Basically, just because we have hundreds of cable channels, hundreds of magazines, record labels, etc... all of these outlets are owned by 5 companies. We are not better served by the amount of information, if the information is collated by a very distinct minority.
Interestingly and maybe not so coincidentally, Fox News was born the same year as Clinton's ill-advised signing of that bill. It was almost as though Murdoch could smell what was coming.

Naturally, corporations, being what they are, all have Republican leanings. We have a couple of examples of just what that means:
  • On election night in 2000, Jack Welch (then CEO of GE) came into the news offices of NBC, and told the producers to call George Bush as a winner in Florida.
  • CBS approached Greg Palast of the BBC,who broke the story about the Florida voters "scrub list" that was later proven to be woefully inaccurate (95% inaccurate). Mr. Palast gave his permission for CBS to follow up. Several days later, Palast was told by CBS that they had contacted the governor's office and decided to kill the story, because the governor's office had denied that the story was true. A target of the allegation, denies the truth of the story, and so a major news outlet decides not to cover it; a story later proven to be true, but never aired.
The story didn't just not air on CBS. It never aired. Period. Now, remember that bit about there being only five media owners.

But we do know this story, at least, those of us who get news from outlets other than the media that is owned by five corporations. We know it because of the internet. It should be no surprise that the information dissemination the internet has made possible is currently under attack by the telecom companies and Republicans.

All of which brings us to today, a time when a major network, one that is owned by the Macarthyite Disney Corporation, is about to broadcast a demonstrable fantasy, publicize it as based on fact when it is not, and present it as a "history" of 9/11 that lays blames for it all squarely on Bill Clinton, the man who signed the Telecommunications Act that has allowed the consolidation of media outlets into an oligopoly of corporations, which, by their nature, lean toward support of the Republican party.

Now that's some irony. And all I can wonder is, Bill, what in the hell were you thinking?

1 Comments:

Blogger Fuck You Google said...

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10:18 PM  

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