20 November, 2006

Who Owns the Media?

Who owns the media, and why do we trust what they say? I have been asking myself this since I was an idealistic “art chick” teenager. It’s in my blood. The need to represent the under represented. That’s what I ruminate over every month when I tie myself to the chair and write.
The American Media was designed to act as the watchdogs of the government, but has been bred into one of those Prada wearing lapdogs. I can understand why. It can be daunting month after month, knowing that it is logically impossible to resist the media empires that are buying up all independent media one little gulp at a time. Arizona is not exempt from the globalization of media sources. All Northern Arizona Newspapers are owned by Lee Enterprises, Larson News and Western Newspapers. The prominent newspapers of southern Arizona are owned by Gannet. This is not to say all papers owned by large entities are evil, most are just ineffectual. Created to entertain the public, and gobble up trees.
I will share with you a modest example of my rantings. A friend of mine, (the editor of an Arizona newspaper) recently shared with me that he was handed a sheet of legal pad paper with a list of what stories he could cover in the paper...Now, He isn’t some fresh faced kid, needing guidance in the newspaper industry. He is the editor of the paper he represents. Yet it is dictated to him what sort of news he will cover as the voice of his community.
Subcommadante Marcos, author and theorist states this about the importance of independent media, “The giant communication media: the great monsters of the television industry, the communication satellites, magazines, and newspapers seem determined to present a virtual world, created in the image of what the globalization process requires.
“In this sense, the world of contemporary news is a world that exists for the VIPs - the very important people. Their everyday lives are what are important: if they get married, if they divorce, if they eat, what clothes they wear and what clothes they take off - these major movie stars and big politicians. But common people only appear for a moment - when they kill someone, or when they die. For the communication giants and the neo-liberal powers, the others, the excluded, only exist when they are dead, or when they are in jail or court. This can't go on. Sooner or later this virtual world clashes with the real world. And that is actually happening: this clash produces results of rebellion and war throughout the entire world or what is left of the world to even have a war. We have a choice: we can have a cynical attitude in the face of the media, to say that nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communication, and computer systems, that invades not just with an invasion of power, but with a way of seeing that world, of how they think the world should look. We could say, well, 'that's the way it is' and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity: we can say that any communication by the media monopolies is a total lie. We can ignore it and go about our lives.
“But there is a third option that is neither conformity, nor skepticism, nor distrust: that is to construct a different way - to show the world what is really happening - to have a critical world view and to become interested in the truth of what happens to people who inhabit every corner of this earth.”
Pay attention to what you listen to, my friends. Our consumption is our choice. Most of the worlds population is not so fortunate to have such freedoms.

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