Saturday, December 01, 2012

corporate control of media

Corporations are anti-government control and regulation, they own the media so the media encourages the idea that politicians are corrupt and untrustworthy so that people reject control in favour of open market capitalism.

So the implementation of the Leveson Report (or not) is not about free speech: it's about counter-balancing vested commercial interests which have editorial control of the press. And I don't believe for a minute that it will inhibit investigative journalism: there are more opportunities for publishing than ever before and a story that's worth hearing can be sold. The editor of the Independent was moaning that his paper had done nothing wrong and was still going to be regulated along with the bad tabloids. Well, isn't that how the law always works? We're always being told that if we do nothing wrong we have nothing to fear but in reality we are restricted in every aspect of life by regulation.

The problem is that these publications call themselves NEWSpapers despite the fact that what they mainly do is push a point of view. All of them - tabloids or not. Consider the last election: even the Guardian openly supported a political party. They are targeted at a market sector and they put out whatever supports the prevailing view of this sector otherwise people would switch to another paper. So the Daily Mail puts out scare stories about immigration because white van man and tea shop lady are scared of immigration. That has nothing to do with news or free speech, it's just reinforcing people's identity as part of a group by reminding them of the boundary between 'us' and 'them'.

The other thing they do is to try and perpetuate their existence. So politicians are the common enemy. It helps to undermine the potential power of government by increasing people's perception of it as a bungling bureaucracy made up of weak, greedy, ignorant members. Tax is a good weapon because nobody likes paying tax much and the idea of unfairness in the tax system drives people to distraction (rightly) but the emphasis is less on making things fair and more a pincer movement on criticising high taxes and reduced services without pointing out the one is a consequence of the other.