The Media Monopoly’s ‘Code of Silence’

(This editorial by Ian Woods is on page 2 of the new issue of Global Outlook, which is dedicated to re-presenting and analyzing recent MSM coverage of 9/11 activism. Highly recommended. -r.)

The Media Monopoly’s ‘Code of Silence’
Global Outlook, Summer, 2007

by Ian Woods

Bill O’Reilly, the infamous right-wing TV host of The O’Reilly Factor, asked one of his guests the other day an interesting question about the claim that “9/11 was an inside job”. (Kevin Barrett on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’, Fox News, Dec. 19, 2006)

O’Reilly: “If there is any evidence for this story, it would be all over the place. … Why won’t any major, responsible news organization print this stuff? … It would be the story of the century. It’s no place.”

My answer to this conundrum is that the major news organizations aren’t responsible ... at least to the public’s interests. Instead they are responsible to the corporate masters they serve. Hence the media blackout on any alternative theories about what might have happened on 9/11 and furthermore the lack of political will to re-open 9/11, despite the hundreds of unanswered questions.

There are two factors involved here. One is the amount of media concentration and the other is who it is that controls that concentration. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s capitalist neoconservatives that are controlling the US mainstream media and they are tied into the military-industrial-complex as well as Big Oil. War suits them just fine and the holy “war on terror” which “will not end in our lifetimes” – as Dick Cheney proudly says – is their trillion dollar dream come true.

The first factor is also a major part of the problem, because it’s a lot easier to control a handful of big companies than hundreds of little ones. It’s the essence of monopoly capitalism. The less competition, the more control you have of the news you report and the easier it is to ‘manufacture consent’ – in this case the consent to carrying on the “war on terror.”

Media baron Ted Turner apparently agrees: “There’s really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read, see and hear. It’s not healthy,” he said. (John Nichols & Robert W. McChesney in FCC: Public Be Damned, June 2, 2003.) These five huge US communications groups control 85% of prime-time viewing (according to FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps at Columbia Law School, Jan. 16, 2003).

Others say: “Six major companies control most of the media in our country.” (Common Cause and Wikipedia, May 21, 2007.) Together they “own more than 90% of the media holdings in the United States.” The difference in opinion apparently is that the sixth company, which is German, is more involved in publishing in the US than in television broadcasting. But it does have a huge impact on the print media in the US.


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