On October 3rd, the widely acclaimed media critic, Robert McChesney , came to speak at Ithaca College about corporate influence over the internet and the news-media.
Given the recent revelations surrounding the scope of NSA surveillance, McChesney’s visit was timely. In a Q&A session before the official event, McChesney spoke to the fact that all major cell phone and internet service providers had contracts with the government and were secretly selling off data about their customers. This confluence of corporate and political power is not a unique phenomenon, and McChesney’s revelations demonstrate symptoms of a larger problem.
As McChesney rightly pointed out, corporate and government interests mutually strengthen each other in the United States’ mainstream media. All the major news and cable news networks are owned by very large, very wealthy parent corporations. Each of these corporations have political interests that they factor into their coverage. McChesney explained to the audience that the corporate media holds objectivity and official sources so dear, that they allow the government to fully dictate what is and what isn’t newsworthy. This phenomenon is the antithesis to a free press that holds power structures accountable and is unafraid to be dissident.
Sadly, it would appear as if we inhabit a time where mainstream news is delivered by the same 1% that controls our government. This 1% not only dictates the laws we must abide by, but they decide what issues are “relevant enough” for us to be talking about. They frame debates in a way that serves their agenda. It’s a dark day when the supposed “free and independent press” of this so-called democracy cannot even demonstrate a loyalty to its audience.