I have long felt and often said that the single most damaging event in American history was the destruction of the independent media. I’ve occasionally made calls to restore independent media using various ideas and when I do, of course, other people have other ideas. One of the bits of “push back” I get comes in the form of pointing out how many options exist for the people out there – so clearly, there’s no reason for a Fairness Doctrine or equal time rules. There are just so many news outlets out there, the story goes, that if you don’t like one, you can always find another. I’d like to think about that for a few minutes…
Let’s say I decide I should be Emperor of the World. I write as much on my blog; ‘Mark should be Emperor of the World.’ Well, okay, that’s an opinion. One voice on one blog. One can do with that as one will. But I really want to be Emperor of the World…so I start a second site. This new site also takes the position that Mark should be Emperor of the World. It doesn’t use the same language, necessarily, but it DOES express the basic sentiment. Two sites aren’t going to give me much more impact than my one site so, before long, all five of my websites are expressing the opinion that Mark should be Emperor of the World.
As it happens, I’ve got some resources I can draw upon so I enlist a bit of help. Now I’ve got ten sites, all hammering the idea that Mark should be Emperor of the World. People start asking questions, the most salient of which is, “Who the heck is this Mark guy?” Turns out, I’m pretty clever. I realize that as people start asking about me, many may not like the idea that I should be Emperor of the World. (They’re wrong.) I add a few more sites. THESE sites clearly don’t like me. They take a “hard look” at the question of who, exactly, should be Emperor of the World. Surprisingly, none of these sites questions the basic notion that we should have a single person functioning as Emperor of the World. That part is a “given.” Perhaps not surprisingly, they each arrive – reluctantly, of course – at the conclusion that, Wow, Mark really SHOULD be Emperor of the World…
I don’t mean to suggest all of this happens between breakfast and lunch. It takes awhile. But with enough resources and enough patience, eventually you can read any of my five hundred blogs (for me or against me), tune into any of my television or radio stations, pick up any of my newspapers and always receive the same basic message: Mark should be Emperor of the World. Either with wholehearted endorsement or “reluctant conclusion” my entire network of two thousand outlets will simply continue to repeat the idea that Mark should be Emperor of the World.
BUT they’re all me…or controlled by me. If someone on the staff of one of my outlets writes a piece describing how I should NOT be Emperor of the World, we just don’t publish that work. After awhile, because that writer “never got published,” we let him go. The other writers get the message. Pretty soon, it’s all ‘Mark should be Emperor of the World’ all the time.
So…you can see the problem. The key is not the number of outlets, it’s the number of owners. You give one guy – me, in this case – far enough reach into the media and, with enough repetition, he can convince you of just about anything – Mark should be Emperor of the World. Thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, these days, most of the media you see in this once-great nation is owned, operated, and/or controlled by five companies. Five. THAT is what the destruction of independent media looks like…and it was no accident.
But I’ll tell you this: YOU, my lucky readers, are in on the ground floor. Today, it’s only one voice on one blog proclaiming that Mark should be Emperor of the World. But give me enough time and enough resources and you just watch what I can do…
2 thoughts on “Mark Should Be Emperor of the World…”
Mark my words!
May I be your director of manipulative ambivalence?