Media concentration in has actually reached phenomenal levels, and it is compounded by the substantial spread the pernicious fake news.

You are watching: Whoever controls the media controls the mind


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Asad Ismi

The over quote attributed come Jim Morrison, command singer that ‘60s rock band The Doors, could have been said today around the joined States and Brazil. Media concentration in both countries has reached phenomenal levels, and it is compounded by the enormous spread that pernicious fake news.

Conn Hallinan, a columnist with Foreign policy in Focus, a project of the Washington, D.C.–based academy for policy Studies, speak me that once Ben Bagdikian published his book The new Media Monopoly in 2004, there to be 100 corporations managing media outlets in the U.S. Together of September 2020, 6 corporations regulate 90 per cent that media outlets in the U.S.: AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, News Corp and also Viacom.

Hallinan adds that “people read what those corporations want them come read, and also corporations like lower taxes, fewer financial and also environmental regulations, in short, everything makes castle the many money. Because profits room the bottom line, staffs are reduced back, documents are merged, and stories dumbed down to not upset anyone. So fewer papers, under reporters, tighter budgets (which way no investigative reporting) and also a less informed population. Due to the fact that democracy just works when civilization are informed enough to do choices, democracy is diminished.”

As Mickey Huff has said, (in a video panel discussion), six corporations controlling the media is just another sign among many others the the U.S. Is no a democracy. Huff, that is director of project Censored, a U.S. Media literacy organization, explains the country as “an inverted totalitarian state, sort of a corporate culture governed v illusions the responds to the civilization every four years riddled with election fraud.” the points out that “even the elitists at Princeton University and Northwestern college have dubbed the U.S. A plutocracy and also an oligarchy .”

Nolan Higdon, that co-authored a book around the U.S. Media through Huff titled The United states of Distraction (2019), agrees the the country is no a democracy, and this is partly because of media concentration. Higdon is additionally author the The Anatomy the Fake News: A an essential News proficiency Education (University that California Press, 2020) and a lecturer in media researches and history at the university of California at Santa Cruz. He speak me around the effects of media concentration in the U.S., where legacy media is both made up of and seeks the approval of economic and political elites, and is used as a divide- and-conquer-strategy through those same elites.


While that is obtrude oligarchy inside the U.S., the mainstream media is additionally giving a warped view of the outside world to Americans, encouraging support for a international policy grounded in limitless war. Even Donald trumped admitted this was the instance when he to be president.
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“As a result,” Higdon says, “their reporting and also messaging does no veer right into populist discourses the reflect the will of the majority of civilization or the worries that concern them.… Instead, castle reduce everything to a narrow framework of Republicans matches Democrats. The audience tunes into MSNBC or CNN or reads The Washington Post or The New York Times to boo Republicans and also cheer Democrats. And users that Fox News Channel, Forbes, TheWall Street Journal, and Breitbart perform the exact same to cheer Republicans and boo Democrats.…The emphasis on what divides united state distracts native the neoliberal ideology of realm that binding parties and the elite class that fund, support, and run them.”

While the is obtrude oligarchy inside the U.S., the mainstream media is likewise giving a warped see of the outside world to Americans, encouraging support for a international policy base in endless war. Even Donald trump admitted this was the instance when he to be president.

As Higdon puts it, “Americans hear virtually nothing around what is walking on overseas.” the points out how, v very few foreign correspondents on the ground, tradition media now rely broadly on military and intelligence experts: “These space folks who have a vested interest in perpetuating war and also denigrating the so-called enemy. Due to the fact that most human being in news media are trained on exactly how to sound prefer experts…Americans receive armed forces talking points together journalism.”

Compounding every this is the massive rise that fake news—one instance of plenty of being the scapegoating of Russia because that stealing the 2016 choice for Trump.

Media concentration’s other compounding element is the rise of big tech companies. In 2020 Google, Facebook and Amazon received the bulk of all proclaiming spending in the U.S., and also Amazon chef Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post. This tremendous concentration the resources has actually meant the demise of countless progressive alternative news media outlets. Meanwhile, an effective platforms prefer Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and also YouTube make for really rapid diffusion of fake news.

Higdon call the large tech suppliers “twenty-first century snake oil salesmen” who have actually a “profit version predicated top top keeping world addicted come their display screens by privileging sensational contents that appeals to an adverse human emotions. That is what fake news is.”


Brazil gift a comparable picture to that of the U.S., with only 11 families regulating the most necessary media conglomerates. Political leaders and spiritual groups play far-ranging roles in this media oligopoly.

Hallinan is additionally alarmed by the climb of huge tech companies and also fake news: “Americans have always been fed fake news, but not so lot so quickly, without much in the method of dissenting voices. I have actually grave fears for the future.”

Brazil gift a comparable picture to the of the U.S., with only 11 families regulating the most crucial media conglomerates. Politicians and spiritual groups play far-reaching roles in this media oligopoly.

Grupo Globo (which owns TV Globo) is the country’s biggest media conglomerate. That reaches every one of Brazil and has “an unmatched influence in politics, economy and also society,” follow to Sherlock Communications, a Latin American public relationships firm. An ext than 70 per cent of Brazil’s TV audience is divided in between four networks, through TV Globo getting more than fifty percent of this. The other significant conglomerates room Record, Band and also SBT. TV Globo is likewise the largest commercial TV network in Latin America and the second-largest in the human being after the American broadcasting Company.

In the print press, about 50 per cent that Brazilian readers revolve to only four companies: Globo, Folha, RBS and also Sada. Virtual media contents is dominated by only four companies: G1, UOL, R7 and also IGm, which with each other have almost 60 every cent the the virtual media audience.

Associate professor Helder Ferreira carry out Vale teaches global studies at Xi’an Jiaotong–Liverpool university in China and also is an expert in Brazilian politics. He tells me the Brazil’s media concentration has after-effects for the country’s democracy due to the fact that it negatively affects political accountability and government transparency. “Such high media concentration is obstructing a much-needed social transformation in a nation that remains one of the most unequal in the world,” that adds.

João Feres Júnior, professor of political science at the State college of Rio de Janeiro, agrees v Ferreira carry out Vale as soon as he describes to me that “media concentration facilitates oligarchy in Brazil by embracing an ideological position that favours the rich versus the understanding of the poor. As soon as the media promote less taxes, less government and an ext private company in a country that still has a many poverty and social difficulties that have the right to only be ameliorated with state intervention and redistribution, climate the media is going versus the majority of the population.”

According to OXFAM, the six richest men in Brazil have actually wealth equivalent to the approximately 100 million civilization who comprise the poorest 50 every cent of the population. And the revenue of the country’s wealthiest 5 every cent is equivalent to the earnings of the continuing to be 95 per cent. This elite monopolizes substantial economic and also political power v its control over the media, perpetuating excessive inequality and also right-wing dominance.

This supremacy endangers democracy. Marcos Napolitano, professor of background at the university of São Paulo emphasizes come me the “many values that guide our political and also social life space still elitist, assets of an oligarchic and anti-popular liberalism forged in the 19th century in a paper definition of a slavery<-based> society. Transparent Brazilian history, the main media teams in Brazil have opposed elected leftist governments, also moderate ones, together they did in 1964 (when the army overthrew a progressive government) and in 2016, once the media assisted to overthrow leftist president Dilma Rousseff that the employees Party.”

Ferreira carry out Vale adds the “Brazilian media has frequently created and also disseminated information and also content the favours traditional values and a parochial political culture based on low appreciation for flexibility of expression, separation, personal, instance rights, and open debate. This tendency has been boosting with the growing participation of evangelical families in the telecommunication sector in Brazil.”

Media concentration in Brazil is muddied even more by the authorized of politicians in the sector. Back this is banned by Brazilian law, Ferreira execute Vale claims this stipulation is “bluntly ignored” through those that are an alleged to be lawmakers.


The combination of fake news v a classic right-wing media has helped create not just a conservative government in Brazil however an explicitly neofascist one.
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As of 2018, 32 representatives and also eight senators sit in Brazil’s national Congress own broadcasting companies. This leader to ridiculously corrupt cases such as legislators participating in decision to provide themselves broadcast licenses.

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The mix of fake news v a timeless right-wing media has helped create not simply a conservative federal government in Brazil yet an explicitly neofascist one. Because (and before) his choice in 2018, chairman Jair Bolsonaro has actually openly displayed his hatred for women, the LGBTQI community, and Indigenous and Black people. The has dubbed for the death of leftists, the destruction of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and the repair of armed forces dictatorship.

With 141 million mobile net users, Brazil is “fertile ground because that the enormous use of fake news,” says Ferreira perform Vale. And he clues out how Brazil’s media concentration created an even riper setting for fake news, since it is one “without the contrary opinion, debate and dissent.” because that Ferreira carry out Vale, Brazil’s abundant fake news environment permits opportunist political leaders like Bolsonaro to flourish: “ never had actually a clean political agenda and a setup of action to resolve Brazil’s troubles so he regularly resorts come fake news come hide his lack of viable ideas and propositions to command Brazil. Likewise Bolsinaro employs fake news to divert public fist in moments of crisis.”

Significantly, follow to Ferreira perform Vale, “It is significantly clear the Bolsonaro considerably benefited indigenous fake news to success the 2018 presidential election. He resorted come demagogic rumours (for example, the hacking of the Brazilian electronic voting system by the Venezuelan government) disseminated through WhatsApp messages sent from international cell phone chips to illegally obtained phone lists.”

Ferreira carry out Vale adds the a Brazilian fact-checking organization referred to as Aos Fatos uncovered that “in three vital days (October 14, 15 and also 16) of the presidential election campaign of 2018, 1,504 WhatsApp accounts sent out to different WhatsApp teams 14,090 messages containing fake news against Bolsonaro’s political opponents.”