Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one
Originally written for Everything2
Tue Mar 11 2008 at 19:47:23

A quote from A. J. Liebling, a writer for the The New Yorker.

Freedom of the press is considered to be one of the cornerstones of a functioning democracy. Without it, you wouldn't know what you were voting on, and the process of voting would be worthless.

Silvio Berlusconi is Italy's wealthiest person. He also controls more "freedom of the press" than any other person in Italy. Of course, he also happens to have been elected to the most powerful post in Italy multiple times. Not too surprising.

Control over the media translates to control over the ideas and issues discussed at election time. The more that control is concentrated into fewer hands, the less of a real democracy the nation becomes.

As the gap between the rich and poor widens, it shouldn't be surprising that many members of the wealthy classes would use their growing power to influence the media. The more influence they gather, the more they can consolidate their wealth, and further widen the gap. If left unchecked, the democracy itself would be destroyed.

As Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1864:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and cause me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed."

Comments from

by Jedi4Pets
on Mar. 11, 2008 at 05:57pm
3 Votes

Yup. No argument here.

by mudgeon
on Mar. 11, 2008 at 07:38pm
4 Votes

Newspapers are drowning in red ink, while the internet surges. The press has never been more free, or less subject to concentration.

by seeya
on Mar. 12, 2008 at 12:05pm
3 Votes

Sure, I'm encouraged by the internet - here's a good article

Still, even on the internet, the major media outlets still dominate the articles that get linked to, because they're the ones with the resources to hire full time reporters / writers / fact-checkers.

Without the internet, people like Ron Paul (not that I'm a fan) wouldn't get much attention. But even with major attention to Ron Paul on the internet, he still only registered about 4% support in opinion polls. So much for the internet having much of an impact on national politics.

Maybe in the future, someone like Silvio Berlusconi wouldn't be possible. But for now, he obviously is.

by jlarsen
on Mar. 12, 2008 at 05:31pm
4 Votes

The internet is free.

But the list of media sources that are still proprietary to a handful of mega-conglomerates is longer than the one-item list that still belongs to a free press. They own the television channels, the radio channels, the nation's billboards, and the newspapers. And often one organization owns hundreds of outlets in three forms of media in addition to having a major web presence as well.

The media giants also own or work very closely with a number of consumer products as well as the advertising outlets their products are advertised on, and the so-called "news" organizations. These "news" outlets are seducing children to brand loyalty through music, food and beverages. The loyalty isn't just to the brand of soda or footwear, but to the media powerhouse that is driven by the profits from those product and also produces the "news" shows (and the slanted views that come with them) that the parent corporation wants newly indoctrinated youth to be brainwashed into believing.

Besides, how much longer before the government gets their wish with the internet/Internet 2 and all internet websites become regulated and controlled by a handful of corporations as well?

There used to be independent newspapers, and radio stations, once upon a time, they've all been bought up by a small handful of corporations. Eventually the same will be the fate of the internet.

The internet is free (for the moment) and it is having an effect on the "bottom-line" of some newspapers and television/radio stations, but only as long as it takes the corporation/government oligarchy to find a way (by hook or by crook) to tame the internet. Then everything will go back to the way they want it (and it really hasn't deviated all that much from pre-internet status).

by Kayzzaman
on Mar. 14, 2008 at 03:11pm
3 Votes

Carefully woven argument, no ditherings about that, seeya,
Very well done, thank you.

by Cavern
on Mar. 14, 2008 at 03:56pm
3 Votes

great article!

this is the base of mind control.

mixing lies with truth always gets people!

there is either confusion, or complete disregard for the information.
They cant lose! We always do!

by IcebergFats
on Jun. 14, 2008 at 09:45pm
4 Votes

It is controlled on every level in this country.

Americans don't get news.

Rupert Murdoch own FOX, The Wall Street Journal, Barrons and is looking to place his grip somewhere on the internet. It only a matter of time.

by grantlawnm
on Jun. 15, 2008 at 06:18pm
2 Votes

Again I really, really, really, really, appreciate your level of understanding and the way you put it together. The Lincoln quote was perfect.
The managed media is controlled by a few companies and I think clear channel has almost all of the radio stations.
So if this is free then I hate to see lack of freedom. But the air waves used to belong to the people. But that concept is lost now and oh, we still have the internet.
So even on the internet we are tracked and monitored wherever we go and I guess that is freedom to some. The emails are obviously not private and I guess that is freedom to some.
But the word freedom used to mean what it was supposed to mean (at least if you were a white male land owner) and now it stands for surveillance, monitoring, and oppression.
Welcome to the land of the free. I won't even get into what bravery means now.