Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 11,
Number 2 (February-March 2004)
Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381
From our web page at: http://www.nexusmagazine.com/
© 2003 by David B. Deserano, MS
It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient
repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a
square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until
they clothe ideas in disguise.
Today, with the negative, Nazi-esque connotation which comes with that word, euphemisms such as misinformation, disinformation, image consulting, political consulting, news consulting, advertising, infomercials, public relations, damage control, and the art of spin have taken its place in the English lexicon, all but concealing its true nature and omnipresence. And omnipresent, it is. The industries that deal with information control – in both the commercial and governmental sectors—work with hundreds of millions of dollars annually, for Schoolhouse Rock was right on target when it said, "Knowledge is Power!" Is it any wonder that our schools are suffering so badly while corporate CEOs and members of our government continually allot themselves raises? Uninformed, ignorant masses are far easier to manipulate then educated, thinking masses.
Who has the information? How is it
being distributed? How is it contextualized?
Corporations and the
NOTE: In no way is this intended to convince readers of any particular conspiracy theory, but rather to present a collection of facts – all of which are readily available to the average American – and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
Part I: Media Intents, Capabilities, Practices, and Origins
Anyone who has the power to make you
believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.
1.) The radio, the computer, and the Internet are all products of the military.
The radio was invented by Guglielmo Marconi in the mid-1890's
and his first sale was to the British War Office in 1896 during the Boer War.
Three years later, he made sales to the US Navy. During World War I, the
2.) At the outset of World War I in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) had to devise a way to convince the primarily pacifistic American public (still reeling from the effects of the Civil War) to want to send their boys thousands of miles away to fight a war that didn't involve them. President Wilson came up with the Committee of Public Information, also known as the Creel Commission. Made up of cartoonists, writers, editors, publishers and others whose profession was to convey information to the masses (including Edward Bernays, the father of the public relations industry, and Walter Lippmann, the dean of American journalists, a major foreign and domestic policy critic, and an important theorist of liberal democracy), they were, within a year, able to turn the American people into a fervent anti-German population. This exceedingly positive result caught the attention of two groups in particular. One was the intellectual community who saw these new propaganda techniques – and it was openly called propaganda at the time as there wasn't a negative connotation to that word until the Nazi's used many of the same techniques on their militaristic conquests thirty years later – as a general means by which they could control the population on a regular basis. The other were the business leaders, who saw a new window to increase their sales by turning the American people into a population of consumers. What was ultimately learned from all this was that in order to adequately persuade a population to do something, whether to go to war or buy a hamburger, one needed to appeal to them on levels of which they are unconscious (Chomsky, 1991, pp. 7-10 and 17-18; Chomsky & Barsamian, 2000, pp. 151-152; Boihem & Emmanouilides, 1996).
3.) Walter Lippmann "argued that what he called a 'revolution in the art of democracy,' could be used to 'manufacture consent,' that is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn't want by the new techniques of propaganda. He also thought that this was a good idea, in fact, necessary. It was necessary because, as he put it, 'the common interests elude public opinion entirely' and can only be understood and managed by a 'specialized class' of 'responsible men' who are smart enough to figure things out. This theory asserts that only a small elite…can understand the common interests, what all of us care about, and that these things 'elude the general public.' This is a view that goes back hundreds of years," (Chomsky, pp. 10-11).
4.) German television in the early 1930's had been conceived as primarily a tool of propaganda rather than a means of entertainment. "A limited number of cinemas were equipped with 180-line projector receivers so that Nazi Party propaganda could be disseminated easily, and cinema television was used throughout the war for troop entertainment," (Hugill, 1999, p. 197).
5.) Its been noted that "violence is to a dictatorship, what propaganda is to a democracy," and the Nazis used both. Joseph Goebbels, appointed Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda on March 14, 1933, combined the press, radio, film, theater, and propaganda into a single, large-scale organization and considered the media as "a piano…in the hands of the government" on which the government could play. Although monotony may set in if all means reported the same information, he developed a theory that the media should be "uniform in principles" but "polyform in nuances." This is a concept that has carried over to our media today. Although we have a tremendous amount of magazines and newspapers available to us, most of them are "highly centralized outlets that proffer a remarkably homogenized fare. News services for dailies throughout the entire nation are provided by the Associated Press…The New York Times and [the] Los Angeles Times-Washington Post wire services, and several foreign wire services like Reuters. The ideological viewpoint of these news conduits are pretty much the same, 'marked by a prefabricated standardization of news which is constricting and frightening,'" (Neale, Murphy, Mansky, Wintonick, & Achbar, 1992; Reuth, 1993, p. 174; Parenti, 1986, pp. 30-31).
6.) Fear is a powerful means for establishing social control over a
population and the negative effects of media on its consumers are doing just
that, for its been widely established for decades that regular viewers of
violent films and/or television programming often look upon the world as being
much more frightening, dangerous, and violent than those who view the same
media in much less quantities or not at all. The same, by the way, is also true
of regular viewers of the evening news. Furthermore, "psychiatrist Robert
Coles writes that children in some parts of
7.) Those who advocated the blacklisting practice in
9.) In the early 1950's, Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (which
eventually merged together) were organized by the CIA as nothing more than
outlets of propaganda. Headed by General Rodney C. Smith of the US Army, its
intent was to broadcast into the
10.) In the 1950's, ABC, CBS, and NBC offered Joseph McCarthy hours of free air time on television and the radio. Of course, he accepted (Bayley, 1981, p. 185).
11.) In his book The No Spin Zone, the right-wing host of FoxNews channel's The O'Reilly Factor wrote, "If you were a kid in the late 1950's, there's a good chance your thinking was shaped by two television programs, The Mickey Mouse Club and Howdy Doody. If you had asked me back then what I thought of these shows, I would have mocked them. Little wise guy that I was, I smirked at the sight of a bunch of kids wearing large rodent ears and grinning themselves into road maps of wrinkles. That, if you have to be told, was Mickey's gang, the Mouseketeers. As for the hokey puppet show, I was annoyed enough to talk back to the black-and-white TV. 'Hey, kids, what time is it?' some guy named Buffalo Bob yelled. A studio audience packed with kids screamed back, 'Howdy Doody time!' This gave me such a headache, I can't tell you. And my reply to Buffalo Bob's time line was, 'It's time for you to leave, buckskin man,' or words to that effect. The whole thing enthralled my sister but put me in a foul mood. I can still hear Sis singing, 'M-I-C – see you real soon – K-E-Y – why? Because we like you!' I was outraged! However, you will notice that more than forty years after first hearing these lines, I still remember them. That's the power of the tube," (O'Reilly, 2001, pp. 25-26).
12.) In the early 1980's, the US Army asked Atari to create a special
version of the game Battle Zone as a training tool for drivers of the Bradley
Fighting Vehicle. Since then, "talent and product have flowed between the
A. J.W. "Wild Bill" Stealy, the chairman of Interactive Magic, a North Carolina software company, is an Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force officer. His company produced Carrier Strike Fighter, a flight and combat simulator of the iF/A-18E, a fighter jet that had yet to be put into general operation.
B. MAK Technologies won a 1997 Department of Defense contract to make Marine Exed Unit 2000, an amphibious assault game intended for both military and commercial markets.
C. Every year, the US Government hosts the Connections Conference, which is intended to unite members of the Department of Defense and video game makers. "Attendees include personnel of the Defense Intelligence Agency and game companies like GT Interactive… Conference agendas have included such topics as 'Wargaming Design Fundamentals' and 'Department of Defense Wargaming 101' (Naisbitt, Naisbitt, & Philips, 1999, pp. 77-79).
13.) Its very difficult for a human being to kill a member of their own
species; they have to be manipulated to do so. During World War II, its been estimated that, when left to their own devices,
only 15-20% of individual riflemen would fire their weapon at an exposed enemy
target. This was blamed primarily upon the training they received in which they
would practice shooting at a bull's-eye. Of course, bull's-eyes don't appear on
the battlefield and after the war, the military switched to human-shaped
targets. By the Vietnam War, 95% of the riflemen fired their weapons when the
right opportunity arose. Today, the Marine Corps use a modified version of the
first-person action game Doom (known as Marine Doom) as a training device,
along with the traditional live ammunition range targets as a means of
normalizing killing amongst their personnel. In fact, this has been so
successful, the Marine Corps Combat and Development Command in
14.) "As the United States prepared in 1976 to celebrate the
bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, a group of intellectuals and
political leaders from Japan, the United States, and Western Europe, organized
into 'The Trilateral Commission', issued a report. It was entitled 'The
Governability of Democracies.' Samuel Huntington, a political science professor
'The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960's was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, this challenge manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services. People no longer felt the same obligation to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.'
All this, he said, 'produced problems for the governability of democracy in the 1970's…' Critical in all this was the decline in the authority of the President. And:
'To the extent that the United States was governed by anyone during the decades after World War II, it was governed by the President acting with the support and cooperation of key individuals and groups in the executive office, the federal bureaucracy, Congress, and the more important businesses, banks, law firms, foundations, and media, which constitute the private sector's Establishment.'
This was probably the frankest statement ever made by an Establishment advisor.
15.) At the forefront of White House thinking is the global command and
direction of the world economy through information control. While World War II
was still ongoing, "
16.) One of the many by-products of news consultancy on the news industry has been the decreased time spent by news programs on individual stories. This emphasis on concision is a very subtle, but very real form of censorship in that only accepted truths may be told. For example, if Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, or Diane Sawyer say that Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden are bad guys, the viewing audience just silently agrees; no evidence to support such claims are needed. However, if something out of the ordinary is told, something that contradicts common understanding, then the audience very rightly wants to know more: "Why did you say that? I've never heard that before. How can you support such a statement?" Such evidence cannot be presented in the allotted 30 seconds given to the topic. So, when dissenters from the mainstream appear on such programs, they often appear as radicals, because they aren't given the time necessary to adequately establish their claims (Allen, p. 87; Neale, et al).
17.) "Ripped from the headlines!" Although millions of Americans watch the evening news, even more watch the entertainment programming that surrounds it; and those who do watch the news are only getting a sound bite or two as a substitute for any real knowledge or contextual understanding of the events described. However, programs dedicated to bringing fictionalized accounts of real events give considerably more. For those viewers, reality is tainted with a blurring of fact and fiction. Generally speaking, this is nothing new; Hollywood has been skimming stories from headlines for decades and television has certainly followed suit, from three different renditions of the Amy Fisher/Joey Buttofucco story (one on each major network), to four different versions of the teenage, Kentucky, blood-sucking, thrill-kill, vampire cult (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox), though, never has a program been so flagrant as to incorporate this practice into its own hype as NBC's Law & Order (see 92), which currently has four variations on the theme in production simultaneously (all of which are created and executive produced by Dick Wolf): Law & Order (L&O), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (CI), and Crime & Punishment (C&P). Essentially, what these programs do – with the exception of C&P – is to take real crime stories from the news, fictionalize them just enough to avoid lawsuits (several of the programs' writers are lawyers), and air them as entertainment (despite their efforts, Carolyn Condit – Gary Condit's wife – sued NBC and the producers of L&O for their depiction of "her" as she appeared in their fictionalized account of the Chandra Levy case). According to Rene Balcer, executive producer of CI, "People see the headline, see what the story is supposedly about, and there's already a built-in set of expectations from the audience that when we write the stories we can play off of and play against." If this is true, then could not the reverse also be true? Could not fictional programming create a series of expectations as to what the real case is/was about? What pushes the blur even further is the fourth series, C&P, which even uses the same theme music as L&O and airs immediately following CI. With this show, cameras follow the lives of city prosecutors – in and out of court – as they prepare for and try a case. After editing weeks of footage to fit the forty-five minute remainder – after commercials – of a sixty minute time-slot, what the viewer ultimately gets is a highly sanitized version of reality: the prosecutors never lose and rarely make mistakes, the defendant is always evil incarnate, etc. In what ways are these programs altering the American public's views of the world under the guise of pseudo-reality? I think this is a question worth asking (Boychuk, 1996; Levin, 2002).
18.) On average, individuals in industrialized nations spend three hours a
day watching television – roughly half their leisure time; only to work and
sleep is more time devoted. At this rate, someone who lives to be seventy-five
would spend more than nine years of their life just watching TV. Why do we
watch so much? In studies, subjects claimed that television was a means of
relaxation, to which electroencephalograph (EEG) readings confirmed via brain
waves, skin resistance and heart rates of subjects while watching television.
However, even though relaxation is associated with TV by the viewers, research
also has shown that passivity and a lowered level of alertness also correlate.
Furthermore, once the television is turned off, the sense of relaxation
dissipates rather quickly, but the passivity and lowered alertness remain for a
considerable time. "Within moments of sitting or lying down and pushing
the 'power' button, viewers report feeling more relaxed. Because the relaxation
occurs quickly, people are conditioned to associate viewing with rest and lack
of tension. The association is positively reinforced because viewers remain
relaxed throughout viewing, and it is negatively reinforced via the stress and
dysphoric rumination that occurs once the screen goes blank again. Habit
forming drugs work in similar ways. A tranquilizer that leaves the body rapidly
is much more likely to cause dependence than one that leaves the body slowly,
precisely because the user is more aware the drug's effects are wearing
off." Like a drug, heavy television use has long-term negative effects.
Generally, heavy viewers are more easily bored, more easily distracted, have
poorer attentional control, are less likely to participate in community
activities or sports, and are more likely to be obese; they're more anxious and
less happy than light viewers in unstructured situations, such as doing
nothing, day-dreaming, or waiting in line. "The difference widens even
more when the viewer is alone." Part of the human attraction to television
has to do with our biological orienting response. "First described by Ivan
Pavlov in 1927, the orienting response is our instinctive visual or auditory
reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. It is part of our evolutionary
heritage, a built-in sensitivity to movement and potential predatory threats.
Typical orienting reactions include dilation of the blood vessels to the brain,
slowing of the heart, and constriction of blood vessels to major muscle groups.
The brain focuses its attention on gathering more information while the rest of
the body quiets…. In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson
19.) A standard argument made by media executives is that broadcast television is offered without charge to the viewer. "However, to assume therefore that TV is free also assumes that the viewers' time is not valuable, because viewers pay for TV with their time. For every forty-five minutes of programme, we have to tolerate [approximately] fifteen minutes of commercials. [Media scholar Sut] Jhally…even goes so far as to argue that a TV viewer is a type of 'labourer' in the political economy of television. Viewers 'work' by watching commercials in exchange for a 'salary' consisting of entertainment and information programming." With such deregulation established in the mid-1980's allowing for greater advertising content per hour (one result of which was the creation of the infomercial), this metaphor of viewer as laborer implies that television is demanding increased productivity with an accompanying cut in pay (McAllister, 2000, pp. 112-113).
20.) Antonio Mendez, a retired member of the CIA's Office of Technical
Services (OTS), wrote an article in the Winter 1999/2000 issue of the CIA journal
Studies in Intelligence, where he documents his involvement in the rescuing of
six Americans trapped in
21.) Upon the release of Top Gun (1986), the United States Navy set up recruiting booths in theaters where the film was being shown to capitalize on the pro-military fervor the film encapsulated. It's been speculated by some that the film "single-handedly wipe[d] out the post-Vietnam image of the military," (Campbell, 2001, August 29; Rooney, 2002).
22.) In August of 1999, the US Army signed a five-year, $45 million deal with the University of Southern California, chosen because of its close proximity to Hollywood, to have the school's movie, special-effects and other technology experts help with troop training, including battle scenarios, virtual-reality combat, and large-scale simulations creating settings similar to Operation Desert Storm. This partnership is known as the Institute for Creative Technologies (see ). "The digital world, the world of virtual reality…is going to be part of the embrace of this great, new cooperative venture," said Jack Valenti (see 20, 26, and 77). However, according to James Der Derian, professor of international relations at Brown University, "What we're witnessing here today is perhaps not only the announcement of a new sort of technological center, but the creation of a military-industrial-media-entertainment complex," ("U.S. Army", 1999 [italics mine]).
23.) Col. Kenneth "Crash" Konwin, head of the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office, and Larry Tuch, a writer and designer with Paramount Digital Entertainment "detailed…how their organizations have adapted Hollywood multimedia technology and blockbuster movie storytelling skills to create realistic simulations that teach military officers how to make better decisions during international crises." This is a completely separate collaboration from the Institute for Creative Technologies (Brewin, 1999).
24.) In October of 1999, the CIA held a lavish gala film premier for In the
Company of Spies, the first spy thriller ever to bear the CIA's stamp of
approval. Starring Tom Berringer and Ron Silver, directed by Tim Matheson
(Otter from Animal House), written by Roger Towne who wrote the screenplay for
The Natural, and produced by David Madden and Robert W. Cort (who is, himself,
a former CIA official), it was made directly for Showtime, a subsidiary of AOL
Time Warner, the world's largest media corporation. "Never before has the
CIA so fully embraced a movie – it even allowed [the] director…to shoot inside
the agency's sprawling Langley headquarters and provided 60 off-duty employees
to serve as extras." Bill Harlow, the CIA's director of public affairs,
said "senior CIA officials realized several years back that assisting
sympathetic filmmakers and authors was one way the agency could be more open
and accountable to the tax-paying public without divulging operational secrets.
They even persuaded Chase Brandon, a veteran paramilitary officer who has
jumped out of airplanes for the CIA all over the world, to take a job in the
public affairs office as the agency's liaison to
A. In Goldeneye (1995), "the original script had a US Navy admiral betraying state secrets, but this was changed to make the traitor a member of the French navy."
B. The Jackal (1997) "received help after the marines were given a better role. Major Nancy LaLuntas had objected that the helicopter pilots had no 'integral part in the action – they are effectively taxi drivers.' A letter from the film's director, Michael Caton-Jones, stated: 'I am certain that we can address the points that you raised…and effect the appropriate changes in the screenplay that you requested.'"
C. Cooperation had been given to the production of Top Gun after the character portrayed by Kelly McGillis had been changed from an enlisted person to someone outside the military, as relationships between officers and enlisted personnel are against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
D. Although Hearts in Atlantis (2001) had no military in the plot, the film-makers wished to use land belonging to the Army. "The Pentagon agreed and suggested that the film could include a shot of an Army recruiting booth in a carnival scene."
E. Despite having made changes to characters in Independence Day (1996), the Department of Defense refused help because, "the military appears impotent and/or inept; all advances in stopping aliens are the result of actions by civilians."
F. Other films to have received assistance from the Pentagon are: Air Force One (1997), A Few Good Men (1992), Armageddon (1998), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Pearl Harbor (2001), Patriot Games (1992), Windtalkers (2002), Hamburger Hill (1987), The American President (1995), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Apollo 13 (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and A Time to Kill (1996).
G. Some films that were denied: Apocalypse Now (1979), Catch-22 (1970), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Full Metal Jacket (1987), The Last Detail (1973), Lone Star (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), Platoon (1986), and The Thin Red Line (1998) (Campbell, 2001, August 29; Weiss, 2002).
26.) In November, 2001, President George W. Bush's top political strategist,
Karl Rove, met with many entertainment executives to discuss the war on
terrorism and ways that
27.) To assist in the preparedness of possible future terrorist attacks, the Pentagon "put out a mayday call to filmmakers skilled at imagining potential terrorist acts," including writers Steven E. DeSouza (Die Hard) and David Engelbach (TV's MacGyver), and directors Joseph Zito (Invasion U.S.A.), David Fincher (Fight Club), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Mary Lambert (The In Crowd), and Randal Kleiser (Grease). They were asked "to engage in apocalyptic brainstorming of the kind that has yielded acts of cinematic terrorism." The group, a part of the Institute for Creative Technologies, was assembled by Army Brigadier General Kenneth Bergquist (Roberts, 2002; Grossberg, 2001).
29.) Usamah bin Mohammad bin Laden, known to the world as Osama bin Laden,
has degrees in management and economics from
30.) In early 2003, ABC aired a short-lived reality series entitled Profiles
from the Front Line. Executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Black Hawk Down)
and Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race), it followed various members of the
armed forces as they took part in the invasion of Afghanistan during the summer
of 2002. It was made with the complete cooperation with the Pentagon who
insisted upon screening the series before it was aired, though Bruckheimer
insists no changes were made. "Vince Ogilvie, who was the Pentagon's
project officer for the series, said the interactions of the film crews and
military personnel provided 'a prelude to the process of embedding' media
representatives in military units for war coverage." As of February, 2003,
Bruckheimer and van Munster already had two crews assigned to accompany troops
31.) On a recent trip to
Part II: Corporate Media and Content Control
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only
to those who own one.
—A. J. Liebling
32.) In 1953, the infamous Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, was harassing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "over the assignment of television licenses in Wisconsin, trying to switch channel 10 in Milwaukee from educational use to commercial so that it could be assigned to the Hearst Corporation, publishers of the Milwaukee Sentinel, the largest paper supporting him in Wisconsin and trying to prevent the assignment of a UHF channel in Milwaukee to Bartell Broadcasters, a Madison group that included persons active as Democrats," (Bayley, p 178).
33.) The FCC was created to regulate interstate communications that run over radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable. Its authority is based on the idea that its decisions will serve the "public interest, convenience, or necessity…. The public owns the airwaves that radio and TV stations use and profit from. Media companies are allowed to use them on the condition that they serve the public; its part of the FCC's job to enforce that." However, their record for doing so is hardly impressive. Its current chairman, Michael K. Powell, a free-market zealot ("my religion is the market") – who happens to be the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell—isn't even trying to maintain the illusion he's upholding the standards he's supposed to. Upon his appointment as FCC chair, he was asked what the public interest was; Powell replied, "I have no idea," (see 36). It should be of no surprise, then, that the National Association of Broadcasters referred to him as "an outstanding choice" when he was nominated by George W. Bush. Michael Powell (Republican), Kathleen Q. Abernathy (Republican), Michael J. Copps (Democrat), Kevin J. Martin (Republican), and Jonathan S. Adelstein (Democrat) are the five members on the FCC commission and are "unknown to the general public and have virtually no contact with them. They are surrounded instead by corporate CEOs, lawyers and lobbyists. As one FCC Chairman put it, 'the job of the FCC is to regulate fights between the super wealthy and the super, super wealthy. The public has nothing to do with it.'" Members of the FCC tend to move on to extremely lucrative careers working for the very firms they once regulated. "When a firm comes before the FCC, FCC members don't know whether to regard it as an entity to be regulated or as a prospective future employer. This applies across the board, to Republicans and Democrats alike. The FCC Chair who preceded Michael Powell, Democrat William Kennard, has gone on to making big bucks working on telecommunication deals for the Carlyle Group," ("Speak Out", n.d. [italics mine]; "FCC Homepage", 2003; McChesney, 2003).
34.) In 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Reform Act, which
amended the Communications Act of 1934 and drastically reduced the restrictions
placed upon media owners as to just how much they could own. "The 1996
Telecom Act was a corrupt piece of work, being the product of the largest
corporate lobbies" like the National Association of Broadcasters and
corporations like News Corporation and Viacom, "all salivating at the
prospect of rewriting the law to provide them a larger slice of the
action." The public played no role and it received virtually no news media
coverage, except in the business and trade papers where it was covered as an
issue of importance to owners and investors, not citizens in a democracy
35.) "The FCC conducted biennial reviews of the ownership rules in 1998 and 2000, and determined the rules should remain in place. At this point the biennial review was regarded as a benign and unreviewable process. The industry lobby went through the court system to get the rules thrown out. In 2002 a right wing federal appeals court demanded that the FCC provide a justification for keeping the ownership rules, or else they would have to be thrown out. Be clear that it was the appeals court, acting as the advocate of corporations that put the new aggressive pro-industry spin on the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The appeals court interpreted the law to mean that unless the FCC could provide compelling, even overwhelming evidence to justify keeping media ownership rules, they should be scrapped." Michael Powell is supposed to go before the courts and make the case on behalf of keeping media ownership rules in the public interest; Powell is famous for his pro-industry "rah-rah sentiments" and his hostility to regulation in the public interest. Furthermore, "the research that the FCC has developed to justify relaxing the media rules has been kept top secret; members of Congress and leading media scholars have asked to see it and been turned down," (McChesney, 2003).
36.) FCC commissioner Michael Copps has "pressed FCC chairman Powell to
hold public hearings around the nation on the matter. Powell attended a portion
of the first unofficial hearing in
37.) Before he retired, AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin told MSNBC that his
company's Internet division had already helped terror investigators,
"apparently providing access to e-mail traffic." According
to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy,
"there's an implicit quid pro quo here…the industry seems to be saying to
the administration, 'we're patriotic, we're supporting the war…now free us from
constraints.'" Although that may or may not be true, on
38.) Whereas the FCC was developed to oversee the commercial sector of
media, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), with an annual budget of
$544.5 million, was developed to oversee all civilian, non-military
international broadcasting funded by the
39.) Conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly, in an interview with CBS News anchor Dan Rather, stated that news on the corporate owned networks refused to challenge "people of power" (presumably of the government or corporate world) because "the corporations have to do business with the powerful and they don't want to make enemies" to which Dan Rather responded, "You're absolutely accurate about that," (O'Reilly, pp. 153-154).
40.) After World War II, Allied forces restricted media concentration in
41.) William J. Casey was Reagan's CIA director and considered by many to be
the second most powerful person in the Reagan administration; he was also one
of Capital Cities' "founders, long-time counsel, board member[s] and
largest stock holders." He had put pressure on ABC and all of the major
42.) Proctor & Gamble is one of television's largest advertisers, which
gives them a great deal of power. If they don't like the content of a program,
they can—and will—pull their sponsorship, potentially costing the offending
network millions of dollars. They had a policy for many years that stated, in
part, "There will be no material that may give offense either directly or
by inference to any commercial organization of any sort. There will be no
material on any of our programs which could in any way further the concept of
business as cold, ruthless and lacking in all sentimental or spiritual
motivations… Members of the armed forces must not be cast as villains. If there
is any attack on American customs, it must be rebutted completely on the same
show." In 1990, Neighbor to Neighbor, a peace organization, got actor Ed
Asner (of The Mary Tyler Moore Show [1970-1977] and Lou Grant [1977-1982] fame)
to do a public service spot calling for a boycott of Folgers Coffee for buying
its coffee beans from El Salvador, which was ruled by a brutal military regime
at the time. Proctor & Gamble, owners of Folgers, threatened to pull its
sponsorship from any station airing it.
43.) News Corporation, the fifth largest media corporation in the world (owner of 20th Century Fox, Fox Television Broadcasting Corp. [including all subsequent Fox channels such as Fox Sports Channel, Fox Movie Channel, etc., as well as F/X and The National Geographic Channel]; magazines such as The Weekly Standard, Inside Out and TV Guide; newspapers such as The New York Post in the U.S., 22 papers in Australia and nine in England, including The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun; furthermore, it owns the publishing houses HarperCollins and Regan Books) is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has used his media power to nuzzle up to some of the most influential leaders of recent history, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair. Or, rather, they have nuzzled up to him. In the case of Tony Blair, in exchange for the support and endorsement of Blair in Murdoch's publications during his campaign, once elected, Blair was able to change British policy on media ownership to Murdoch's favor. In fact, Murdoch, himself, has been quoted as saying, "When you are the monopoly supplier, you are inclined to dictate," (Williams, 2000; "News", 2003; Jhally, 1997).
44.) Upon the invasion of
45.) During the first Gulf War, each of the big three networks had profound financial ties to the war. ABC was owned by Capitol Cities (which is now owned by The Walt Disney Company), whose chair was on the board of directors of Texaco Oil. CBS, at the time owned by Westinghouse, though now owned by Viacom, also owned the RAND Corporation and the Honeywell Corporation, both of which were and are major defense contractors and stood to make a great deal of money out of the war. NBC was – and still is—"wholly owned" by General Electric, which had a $2 billion weapons contract with the US military, making both the Tomahawk and the staggeringly unsuccessful Patriot missiles, and estimated that they'd make hundreds of millions more with the rebuilding of Kuwait after the war. Also, the Kuwaiti royal family were major GE stockholders. General Electric CEO John Welch reportedly once told NBC president Lawrence Grossman "Remember, you work for GE," (Naureckas, 1991; Williams; "Corporate Info", 2003; Jhally, 1997).
46.) In his 1995 autobiography, Lawrence Grossman (president of PBS [1976-1984] and NBC [1984-1988]) wrote, "The corporate culture came to dominate the news business, treating news as a commodity or service no different from 'toasters, light bulbs, or jet engines,' to quote John F. Welch, chairman of General Electric, which bought NBC in 1986. Welch insisted that NBC News had no greater responsibility for public service than any of GE's more traditional lines of business, regardless of news' special Constitutional standing and the broadcast company's historic FCC license obligations… They [Welch and a good many of his colleagues] had no qualms about doing whatever was necessary to achieve that goal [the profit-making requirements of the NBC news department], with little regard for journalistic standards, integrity, or taste," (Grossman, 1995, p. 75).
47.) "The simple fact is that in most traditional newsrooms the culture of journalism is to determine the basic nature of a story before assembling all, or even most of, the facts. Just as many theorists develop a working hypothesis before collecting the data, many journalists are used to formulating the angle, or frame, of a story before they interview anyone, read a document, or collect any other facts. Sometimes they are more apt to follow the adage, 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.'" Why is this? There are many reasons, but a major one continues to be that "the changing economic structure of the television networks has eroded the[ir] newsroom values… Where once a culture committed to great journalism flourished, a culture dominated by MBAs and financial accountability has taken its place. Accountability to shareholders [to make money] has replaced accountability to democracy and the citizens it serves," (Pavlik, 2001, pp. 312-314).
48.) The Fox network, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, was sued
by two veteran journalists under
49.) When a film is first released, it's not uncommon for someone to sneak a camcorder into the theater and record the film in its entirety and transfer the footage to bootlegged DVDs to be sold on the street. In an attempt to thwart such efforts, some theaters are "now sending in enforcers with night vision goggles [like you might find in the Army] to ferret out the pirates." But, as camcorders get increasingly smaller, that solution is not always reliable. That's why the film industry is working on the development of a system that would "create an annoying flicker that would be picked up by the camera, but not seen by the naked eye…The research for that technology is being funded by the U.S. government, which underscores the size of the piracy problem," ("Hollywood Cracks", 2003).
50.) In 1906, Congress enacted a landmark copyright law that allowed artists to protect their creations. However, there was a time limit placed upon that protection, after which, it would become a part of the public domain, and time was running out for Disney over its copyright of Mickey. But, thanks to the racist Senate majority leader Trent Lott, who got behind and aided in the passing of a bill that extended Mickey's copyright until 2022, Disney needn't worry about a dip in their $2 billion in annual product revenue. This is thanks, in part, to the recently formed Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (Solomon, 1999).
51.) Think we have free speech in this country? Not if you're on television; just ask Bill Maher. Soon after the September 11th attacks, Maher, in response to the labeling of the hijackers as cowards, said on his late night ABC program Politically Incorrect, "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." Less than a week later, his show was cancelled. ABC (whose parent company is Disney) claimed the cancellation had nothing to do with Maher's statements but was exclusively about his ratings, which had been sagging for some time. "That was just the straw that broke the camel's back," said Maher. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who hadn't actually seen the broadcast, said Maher's comments were "a terrible thing to say" and that it was a reminder that Americans "need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is." That's a pretty extreme statement, and even one of Bush's media consultants, Mark McKinnon, called Fleischer's comments "Big Brother-ish," (Armstrong, 2001, September 20; "Maher Tapes", 2002; Armstrong, 2001, September 27; Hirsen, 2002, March).
52.) During a
53.) Richard Perle, a former assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration and the current chairman of the influential Defense Policy Board, which advises Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was also employed as an advisor to Global Crossing, a major telecommunications company with strong financial interest in lobbying the Defense Department. He was being paid $750,000 by the company, including $600,000 if the government would approve the company's sale to Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte. Once Perle's involvement with Global Crossing was exposed by The New York Times ("Pentagon Advisor is Also Advising Global Crossing, March 21, 2003), he resigned his position with them (Labaton, 2003; "Senate", 2003).
Part III: Individuals—Actions and Connections
It's possible the entertainment industry
could help the government formulate its message to the rest of the world about
who Americans are and what they believe.
—Bryce Zabel, chairman of the
54.) John F. Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, dabbled in
56.) J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
from 1924-1972, had a special liking for all things
57.) From the 1920's to the 1950's, Walter Winchell was one of the most
influential newsmen in the country, both in print and on the radio. It's been
estimated that at the height of his popularity, nearly two-thirds of all adults
59.) From 1940 until his death in 1966, Walt Disney was a secret informer
60.) The first known reference of Ronald Reagan's name in an FBI file is on
61.) Sir Laurence Olivier was already a major
62.) Sir Alec Guinness, an accomplished actor with a career spanning more
than 60 years (including Oliver Twist , The Bridge on the River Kwai
, Lawrence of Arabia , and Dr. Zhivago ) will forever be
remembered for his role in the original Star Wars trilogy as Obi-Wan
"Ben" Kenobi. He was already an established stage actor when he joined
the Royal Navy in 1941; he enlisted as an ordinary seaman and obtained a
commission the following year. "In 1942 he was given special leave to make
63.) During World War II, Jimmy Stewart "flew 20 missions over
64.) Actor Neville Brand (D.O.A. , Stalag 17 , Love Me Tender
, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Birdman of
65.) Actor Lee Marvin (The Wild One , The Killers , The Dirty
Dozen , Paint Your Wagon , The Iceman Cometh , The Big Red
One , Gorky Park , and Delta Force ), who'd made nearly sixty
films in a career that spanned more than forty years, is buried at Arlington
National Cemetery alongside some of the highest ranking soldiers in the history
of the American armed forces. Although his marker only gives his name, rank
(Private), and service (USMC), it fails to mention his part in the infamous
battle of Iwo Jima, for which he won the Navy Cross, the second highest award a
soldier can receive. His Sergeant in that battle was another person of note and
Marvin relayed the following story on The Tonight Show:
JOHNNY CARSON: "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima…and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."
LEE MARVIN: "Yeah, yeah…I got shot square in the ass and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi…bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you down. But, Johnny, at Iwo, I served under the bravest man I ever knew…We both got the cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. The dumb bastard actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move foreword and get the hell off the beach…That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi, we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me lying on my belly on the litter and said, 'Where'd they get you, Lee?' 'Well, Bob…if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!' Johnny, I'm not lying…Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew…Bob Keeshan…You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo," ("Lee Marvin", n.d.).
66.) In the 1940's, John F. Kennedy hobnobbed with the likes of Spencer
Tracy, Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Gary Cooper, Walter Huston, Sonja Hennie, Gene
Tierney, Peggy Cummins, and legendary producer Sam Spiegel. "He was a
celebrity – a minor celebrity, but a celebrity nonetheless. In
67.) Robert Montgomery, who'd made more than 55 films in an acting career that spanned between 1929-1960 (including Blondie of the Follies , Riptide , Mr. and Mrs. Smith , Here Comes Mr. Jordan , They Were Expendable , and The Gallant Hours ), also served as President Dwight Eisenhower's (1953-1961) speech writer and advisor who later appointed him as a special consultant to the President on television and public communications. In 1947, he headed the Hollywood Republican Committee to Elect Thomas E. Dewey President and in the 1960's, served as a communication consultant to John D. Rockefeller, III. His daughter is Elizabeth Montgomery, of TV's Bewitched fame ("Robert Montgomery", 2003; Vaughn, p. 76; Katz, pp. 962-963).
68.) In 1950, Irvin Kershner, the director of such films as The Flim-Flam Man (1967), The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Robocop II (1990), was a documentary filmmaker for the United States Information Service working in Iran and Jordan (Katz, p. 744).
69.) In April 1953, Cecil B. DeMille, then working out of Paramount Studios, was appointed as a special consultant to the government on cinema. As far as propaganda was concerned, DeMille believed that the most effective use of American films was not to design an entire picture to cope with a certain problem, but rather to see to it that in a regular film, the right line, aside, inflection, or eyebrow movement was introduced to reflect desired American attitudes to whatever subject was at hand. DeMille once said to C.D. Jackson, of Eisenhower's Committee of International Information Activities—who also had ties to the CIA—that, "anytime I could give him [Luigi Luraschi, a longtime senior executive at Paramount Studios] a simple problem for a country or an area, he would find a way of dealing with it in a picture," (Eldridge, 2000).
70.) In 1956, The Joint Chiefs of Staff met with John Ford, John Wayne, and
Ford's producer, Merian Cooper, to discuss how
71.) President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) was considered quite the
womanizer during his White House years and rumors abound that he had been
romantically involved with Jayne Mansfield, Angie Dickinson (a member of the
Rat Pack), Kim Novak, Janet Leigh, and Marilyn Monroe – Grace Kelly visited him
in the hospital after he had back surgery. JFK's brother, Robert Kennedy, was
also supposedly involved with
72.) Former ABC News correspondent Pierre Salinger was once the press secretary for President Kennedy ("Salinger", 1997).
73.) Former Rat-Packer Peter Lawford, who appeared is such films as Little Women (1949), It Should Happen to You (1954), Exodus (1960), Ocean's Eleven (1960), and The Longest Day (1962), was married to Patricia Kennedy, sister of John F., Robert F., and Eunice Kennedy ("Peter", 2003).
74.) Upon the assassination of JFK, the
75.) Kirk Douglas was a Goodwill Ambassador for the State Department and the United States Information Agency beginning in 1963. In 1981, he was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, "the highest honor bestowed on a private citizen," (Katz, p. 384).
76.) Actor George L. Murphy, who'd made more than 35 films between 1930-1952
(including Broadway Melody of 1938 , Broadway Melody of 1940 , The
Navy Comes Through , Having a Wonderful Time , Battleground ,
and Border G-Man ), went on to a successful career as a Republican U.S.
Senator for the State of California from 1965-1971. Furthermore, he was a
Delegate to the Republican National Convention from
77.) Jack Valenti (see 20, 22, and 26) was born in
78.) Respected news personality Bill Moyers, host of such programs as This Week (1970), Our Times with Bill Moyers (1983), Moyers: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth (1988), Listening to America with Bill Moyers (1992), and NOW with Bill Moyers (2002- present), was once involved in politics, himself. In the late 1950's, he was a special assistant to Senator Lyndon Johnson. He served as Deputy Director of The Peace Corps during the Kennedy administration and was later a special assistant to President Johnson from 1963-1965 before serving as his presidential press secretary from 1965-1967 ("Bill", n.d.).
79.) Shirley MacLaine, "in 1968, was a Bobby Kennedy-pledged delegate
80.) In the late 1960's, Shirley Temple (officially known as Shirley Temple
Black after her 1950 marriage to TV executive Charles Black) unsuccessfully ran
for the vacant Republican congressional seat of her home district of
82.) From 1973-1974, game show host (Win Ben Stein's Money [1997-present]) and sometime actor (Ferris Bueller's Day Off ), Ben Stein, was a speechwriter and lawyer for Richard Nixon at the White House and then for President Gerald Ford (1974-1977) ("Ben", 2003).
83.) ABC's Diane Sawyer was an assistant to Richard Nixon for eight years,
including the bitter end of his presidency. She was not only an aid, but an
absolute loyalist who was one of the faithful on the plane that took Nixon to
84.) In a 1975 lecture in
85.) Now, he may be fibbing, or he may be revealing a startling truth in his 1982 autobiography, but the creator of such television programs as The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show, Chuck Barris, claims to have been an assassin for the CIA (Barris, 2002, pp. 42-51).
86.) Nancy Kulp who, despite her many film roles and numerous television
appearances, will forever be remembered as Miss Jane Hathaway on The Beverly
Hillbillies (1962-1971). In 1984, she made an unsuccessful political bid for
the seat of the Ninth Congressional District in the Pennsylvania House of
87.) In 1986, Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea,
88.) Fred Grandy, better known as Gopher from his role on the television
series The Love Boat (1977-1986), went on to become a United States Congressman
of the Republican party for the state of Iowa from 1987-1995. On
89.) Sonny Bono, of Sonny and
90.) In 1988, Pat Robertson (born Marion Gordon Robertson), creator and host
of The 700 Club (1966-present) and founder of The Christian Broadcasting
Network (CBN) in 1960, wanted to run for President under the Republican banner.
His platform included the promise of getting all Soviet warheads out of
91.) NBC's Maria Shriver (a registered Democrat) is the daughter of Eunice
Kennedy, sister of John F., Robert F., and Patricia Kennedy. She is married to
actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (a registered Republican), who served for many
years as the Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness under
Bush, Sr. and told Talk magazine (in the November 1999 issue) that he was
contemplating a run for the California governorship. Furthermore, his father
was a member of the Nazi Party ("Maria", n.d.; Bellone, 2002; "
92.) Senator Fred Dalton Thompson, a Republican from Tennessee (1994-2003),
has appeared in roughly twenty films, including Feds (1988), The Hunt for Red
October (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Bed of Lies (1992), In the Line of Fire
(1993), and Baby's Day Out (1994) and has guest-starred on such television
programs as Wiseguy (1988), Roseanne (1989), and Law & Order (1990). His
"acting career intersected in a lucrative law practice, in which he was of
counsel to a major
93.) Former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body"
94.) Suzanne Morrison, the mother Matthew Perry, one of the stars of NBC's Friends, was once the press secretary for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. After Matthew's parents divorced, his mother married Keith Morrison, an NBC newscaster ("Matthew", 2003).
95.) Mark McKinney, one of the members of the now classic Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, is the son of a career Canadian diplomat, Russell McKinney ("Biography for Mark McKinney", 2003).
96.) Academy Award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones was a roommate of former
Vice-President Al Gore whilst attending
97.) NBC's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is married to US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan ("Knighted", 2002).
98.) CNN's Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, is married to James Rubin, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Chief Spokesman for the US State Department from 1997-2000, and who is now a partner at the London-based PR firm, Brunswick Group. As with Hill & Knowlton and The Rendon Group (see 44), The Brunswick Group utilize the talents and skills of people connected to both the government and media. This includes Michael Buckley, a former National Director of Hill and Knowlton's Litigation Group; Steve Lipin, a Pulitzer Prize nominated Finance Editor of The Wall Street Journal; Tim Payne, a former PR manager and editor supporting Westminster Chamber of Commerce and campaign director for the UK's Liberal Democrat party; Fiona Antcliffe worked at the House of Commons for MPs George Gardiner and Colin Moynihan in the 1980's; Tom Buchanan and Jonathan Glass both worked at Price Waterhouse, the accountancy firm responsible for the tabulation and secrecy of the results of the votes for the Academy Awards; Simon Holberton had an eleven year career at the London-based Financial Times; Susan Gilchrist was a retail correspondent at The Times of London; James Hogan worked for BBC News & Current Affairs where he was in charge of Question Time, Elections, and Documentaries; David Shapiro had been a press secretary to US Senator Richard Lugar and an award-winning television journalist with the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour; Richard Jacques once worked at the UK Cabinet Office and the DTI (Department of Trade & Industry), advising on European regulations, industry competitiveness, government privatizations and UK trade relations with North America, he later became a diplomat based in Brussels representing the UK government on industry and competition issues; JeanneMarie Prost was Group Finance Director of France Television, the public broadcasting group overseeing the three channels France 2, France 3, and France 5 (Cockburn, 2000; "James Rubin", n.d.; "The Partners", 2003).
99.) Film-maker Kevin Rafferty, who's made such films as The Atomic Café
(1982), Feed (1992), and The Last Cigarette (1999), and had been a camera
operator for Roger & Me (1989) and The War Room (1992), is President George
W. Bush's cousin. Barbara Bush's sister is Kevin Rafferty's mother, making a
former head of the CIA his uncle (
100.) Child star Charlie Korsmo (Dick Tracy , Men Don't Leave , What About Bob? , The Doctor , and Hook ) retired from the film industry in 1992 and went on to earn a degree in physics from M.I.T. in 2000. Since then, he's accepted a position with the Missile Defense Team of the US Government, worked as a special assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency, and currently serves as Deputy Domestic Policy Analyst for the House Republican Policy Committee of the US House of Representatives ("Biography for Charlie Korsmo", 2003).
101.) Spike Jones, born Adam Spiegel, has been the director of numerous
music videos and the film Being John Malkovich (1999). Although it doesn't give
her name, according to an
102.) In 2002, Angelina Jolie was recruited by the United Nations to be the U.N. Goodwill ambassador. Some other celebrities who have been involved with the U.N. over the past year include Danny Glover, Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Ustinov, U2's Bono (who went on a four nation aid and debt fact-finding tour with US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill), and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (Hirsen, 2002, August; Hirsen, 2002, September).
103.) Richard D. Parsons, the Chairman and CEO of AOL Time Warner, was once
counsel for Nelson Rockefeller and a senior White House aide under Gerald Ford.
He is also currently the Chairman of the Apollo Theatre Foundation and serves
on the board of directors of the
104.) Jennifer Garner, star of the hit series Alias, has been asked by the
real CIA to appear in a CIA recruitment video which would be shown to college
graduate students. Although she hasn't done it yet, according to Chase Brandon,
the CIA's liaison to
Part IV: Journalism and the Threat of the First Amendment
Three hostile newspapers are more to be
feared than a thousand bayonets.
105.) In 1970, Peter Dale Scott, a professor of English at UC Berkley, published The War Conspiracy, a scathing investigation of the CIA, oil companies, and their manipulation of US foreign policy in order to escalate the Vietnam War for their own ends. Before the book could be made public, however, the CIA intervened and successfully stopped its release ("The War Conspiracy", n.d.).
106.) In 1971, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart
wrote How to Read Donald Duck, a scathing examination of the symbolic magery of
the (then) popular Disney comics. "The book sought to raise basic
questions about corporate culture, routinely accepted and often adored" by
children and adults alike. Translated into a dozen of languages and selling 500,000
copies before the end of the 1970's, few of those books made it inside the
borders of the
107.) By June of 1973, the revelations of Watergate had firmly shaken the foundations of the Nixon administration. Nixon's man for telecommunications policy at the time, Clay T. Whitehead, was going around the country publicizing a congressional bill that would have placed a local station's license in jeopardy if the station was unable to show "meaningful service to the community." One way to demonstrate such service, Whitehead was suggesting, was to eliminate reporting and analysis of the administration. As if to show the others what to do, CBS voluntarily dropped its "instant analysis" of administration speeches, angering the likes of Walter Cronkite and Roger Mudd. In an interview in the June 1973 issue of Playboy magazine, Cronkite claimed that this and other measures amounted to "a well-directed campaign against the press, agreed upon in secret by members of the administration…This administration has tried to bring, and may have succeeded in bringing the press to heel," (Powers, 1977, pp. 196-197).
108.) After the war in
109.) Vladimir Pozner was a Parisian-born Soviet commentator and an
international television celebrity who was one of the
110.) "MYTH: Freedom of the Press in the
RESPONSE: The last 20 years have seen a trend towards 'management' of the press by the government: restricted access press pools, fabricated stories, fake letters to the editor, and even violence against
111.) Gary Webb is a very decorated journalist. In
a career that spanned more than nineteen years, he was the recipient of more
than thirty awards for his journalistic prowess, including the Pulitzer Prize
in 1990, the H.L. Mencken Award from the Free Press Association in 1994, and
the Media Hero's Award in 1997. In 1996, he wrote a series of articles entitled
Dark Alliances that revealed how a "US-backed terrorist army, the
Nicaraguan Contras, had financed their activities by selling crack cocaine in
the ghettos of Los Angeles to the city's biggest crack dealer. [It] documented
direct contact between drug traffickers bringing drugs into
112.) In February of 2000, the Dutch newspaper Trouw and France's
Intelligence Newsletter reported that the US Army's Fourth Psychological
Operations (PSYOPS) Group at Ft. Bragg, NC, worked in the news division at
CNN's Atlanta headquarters during the end of the 1999 Kosovo War. "In the
1980's, officers from…PSYOPS…staffed the National Security Council's Office of
Public Diplomacy (OPD), a shadowy government propaganda agency that planted
stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration's Central
America policies. A senior
113.) On April 27, 1999, Amy Goodman of the Pacifica radio network
interviewed Frank Sesno, CNN's senior vice president for political coverage, on
the media's use of retired military personal as "analysts":
Amy Goodman: "If you support the practice of putting ex-military men – generals – on the payroll to share their opinion during a time of war, would you also support putting peace activists on the payroll to give a different opinion during a time of war? To be sitting there with the military generals talking about why they feel that war is not appropriate?"
Frank Sesno: "We bring the generals in because of their expertise in a particular area. We call them analysts. We don't bring them in as advocates. In fact, we actually talk to them about that – they're not there as advocates."
His response is very interesting. CNN may very well be calling them "analysts" rather than "advocates", but advocating the use of military force is precisely what they do. Exactly one week before Sesno made his remarks, one of CNN's military "analysts", retired Army Lieutenant General Dan Benton, made the following statement in regards to the war in
114.) In an impressive collection of news reports, Fairness & Accuracy
in Reporting (FAIR) showed that in 1998, ABC World News This Morning, NBC's
Today, The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, CNN,
USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsday all reported
the fact that the U.N. weapons inspection teams were removed from Iraq by order
of the U.N. However, four years later, every one of those sources reported that
Saddam had forced the inspectors out. Did they forget their own reporting or
were they consciously assisting the
115.) Dan Rather, often cited as the poster child for the "liberal media" (see Bernard Goldberg's 2001book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News), has been anything but liberal in his stance towards the president and his war aims. In an interview with the BBC in May, 2002, he said, "What we are talking about here – whether one wants to recognize it or not, or call it by its proper name or not – is a form of self-censorship. It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole…felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves. And one finds oneself saying: 'I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it.'" He's also been quoted as saying, "George Bush is the president, he makes the decisions, and, you know, as just one American, [if] he wants me to line up, just tell me where," and "Whatever arguments one may or may not have had with George Bush the younger before September 11th, he is our commander in chief, he's the man now. And we need unity, we need steadiness. I'm not preaching about it. We all know this," and "I would willingly die for my country at a moment's notice and on the command of my president." Do these sound like the words of a professional unbiased journalist who is committed to reporting the truth? Do these even sound like the words of a liberal journalist? Theodore Roosevelt once said, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Edward R. Murrow must be spinning in his grave (Arnove, 2003).
116.) "In past wars including the 1991 Gulf War, the pool system has
been the main means of control of journalists 'in theatre' – a propaganda term
adopted by many journalists. The pool allows the military to control the
movement of journalists as well as almost everything they see. In 1991 the
Pentagon tried to bully journalists not to operate outside the pool and some
adopted the value system so fully that they turned in any journalists who tried
to report independently. This time the Pentagon has [become] more sophisticated
and more determined to eliminate the possibility of independent reporting. They
have pressured journalists to leave Baghdad and by 18 March about half of the
300 there had left, including many of the key UK and US journalists…who would
likely have more credibility in their own countries. The rules issued by the
Pentagon were themselves part of a process of spin. They are presented as
voluntary and appeared to some to offer 'unprecedented freedom to report the
facts'. But on closer inspection, a number of clauses buried in the text
indicate the iron fist in the velvet glove. While the rules state that there is
'no general review process' of reports by the Pentagon, a later section notes
that 'if media are inadvertently exposed to sensitive information they should
be briefed after exposure on what information they should avoid covering'. A
security review also becomes compulsory if any sensitive information is
released deliberately. In a classic passage attempting to present strict
censorship rules as voluntary, the Pentagon notes that 'agreement to security
review in exchange for this type of access must be strictly voluntary and if
the reporter does not agree, the access may not be granted'. The pool this time
has a new feature known as 'embedding' which entails that reporters operate in
close proximity to military units. They will not be allowed to travel
independently and some suggest that control of the technology of communication
will be controlled by the military, too. These new rules mean that journalists
will don military uniform and protective clothing and, the Pentagon hopes, start
to identify with the military. According to reports there are 903 journalists
embedded with US and
117.) The Geneva Conventions forbid the targeting of civilian installations
– whether state-owned or not – unless they are being used for military purposes
(the broadcasting of propaganda does not constitute military use). However,
this didn't stop "the coalition of the willing" from launching
missiles at the Iraqi TV offices on
118.) BBC war correspondent Kate Adie revealed in an interview on Irish
radio in early March of 2003, that the Pentagon's attitude is "entirely
hostile to the free spread of information." Furthermore, she was told by a
senior officer in the Pentagon, "that if uplinks [satellite telephone or
television methods of distributing information] were detected by any
119.) Bill Hammond, a historian with the Army's Center of Military History,
has noted that in the more than 10 years of the War in Vietnam, only 54
journalists were killed of the more than 6,000 who'd spent time in the war
zone. In the first three weeks of the new War on
120.) In order for reporters to become "embedded", they must sign a contract with the government that explicitly requires them to "follow the direction and orders of the government" and prohibits them from suing for injury or death even where this "is caused or contributed to" by the military. They are almost completely controlled by the military and "agree to give up most of their autonomy in exchange for access to the fighting on military terms." Christina Lamb of the London Times noted that "embedded" journalists are "giving a more positive side, because they're with the troops…and they're not out in the streets or out in the countryside seeing what's actually happening there." Since the war began, the British populace in general has become more supportive of the war, and of that, British Minister of Defense Geoff Hoon has said, "…the imagery they ["embedded" reporters] broadcast is at least partially responsible for the public's change of mood." At the end of March, 2003, Hoon stated, "One of the reasons for having journalists ["embedded"] is to prevent precisely the kind of tragedy that occurred to an ITV crew very recently when a…journalist was killed essentially because he was not part of a military organization." ITN reporter Terry Lloyd and two of his crew (cameraman Fred Nerac and local translator Hussein Othman) were killed by "friendly fire," (Miller, 2003, April 3; "Missing", 2003).
121.) Patrick J. Sloyan, who covered the 1991 Gulf War as a Newsday correspondent, recently wrote, "When the air war began in January 1991, the media was fed carefully selected footage by [General Norman] Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia and [General Colin] Powell in Washington, D.C. Most of it was downright misleading." It's happening this time, too. According to Christian Lowe of the military magazine Army Times, "embedded" journalists are being "hounded by military public affairs officers who follow their every move and look over their shoulders as they interview aviators, sailors, and maintainers for their stories," (Solomon, 2002; Miller, 2003, April 3).
123.) Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a quantitative
124.) During the first Desert Storm, the British
Ministry of Defense referred to the relationship between the government and the
press as "buddy-buddy". This is no different today. Members of the
press are being "embedded" in various military units, thus, certainly
bringing about questions of bias. Here is a brief list of things to look out
for when watching reporters on the frontlines during these next few wars:
A. Reporters who wear items of American or British military costume – helmets, camouflage jackets, weapons, etc..
B. Reporters who say "we" when they are referring to the
C. Those who use the words "collateral damage" instead of "dead civilians".
D. Those who commence answering questions with the words: "Well, of course, because of military security, I can't divulge…"
E. Those who, reporting from the Iraqi side, insist upon referring to the Iraqi population as "his" (i.e. Saddam's) people.
F. Journalists reporting from either side who use the god-awful and creepy phrase "officials say" without naming, quite specifically, who these often lying "officials" are.
G. "Allegedly" – for all carnage caused by Western Forces; not used for carnage caused by "enemy" troops.
H. "Officials here are not giving us much access" – a clear sign that reporters are confined to their hotels.
J. "Newly liberated" – for territory and cities newly occupied by the Americans or British.
K. "What went wrong?" – to accompany pictures illustrating the growing anarchy in
125.) Shamed (and retired) Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who was once
Reagan's point man for crisis management and coordinator of US
counter-terrorism efforts in the 1980's, a staff member of Reagan's National
Security Council, and one of the main players of what has become known as the
Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the illegal selling of weapons to the
government of Iran, was a frontline "embedded" war correspondent for
FoxNews during the 2003 war on Iraq, although his bio on the Fox webpage makes
no reference to his shameful past. Other on-air Fox journalists even referred to
him as "Col. North" from time to time. He's also the host of War
Stories on the Fox network, a weekday radio program, Common Sense Radio, and
the author of Mission Compromised, a fictionalized account of the October,
1993, raid on
126.) Television reporter Pat Dooris of KGW News in
127.) Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Peter Arnett, an NBC and National
Geographic correspondent in
128.) The current Bush administration has taken
their communications department very seriously, utilizing the skills of several
television professionals. Of those, one is Scott Sforza, "a former ABC
producer who was hired by the Bush campaign in
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Still to Include:
1.) Many media corporations also own companies that are involved with the military-industrial complex, which implies a friendly working relationship between media conglomerates and
2.) Members of both the government and the entertainment industry (particularly those involved in the film and music industry) have been working very hard to create strident measures for censoring the Internet. Jack Valenti is a key figure in this.
3.) There is a new psychological condition being studied amongst the peoples of
4.) Corporations have been putting our information up for sale, including insurance companies, credit card companies, cable companies, magazine publishers, and government agencies such as the DMV. Who's buying it? Well, other corporations, for one, but also the
5.) Several past presidents of the Screen Actors Guild have gone into politics themselves, or have attached themselves to the careers of other politicians.
6.) Robert Ryan, Liesel Matthews (AKA Liesel Pritzker), Charlie Chaplin…
7.) Guts & Glory (PN 1995.9 .W3 S93 2002)…
About the Author:
David B. Deserano is a recent graduate from