FACTS: Over 80% of the world’s information today is controlled by just five corporations—Time Warner, The Disney Company, Viacom, News Corporation (Australia), and Bertelsmann (Germany). Add CBS and General Electric into the mix, and media watchdog groups such as The Waking Times have projected that 90% of the American media is now controlled by just six corporate giants.
The five companies controlling most of the world’s news , however, are so intertwined that they act as one conglomerate rather than independent corporations. They share cable systems, satellite channels, and even recording companies with a total of 141 joint ventures. These are business partners, not competitors.
In 1983, liberal icon and Washington Post legend, Ben Bagdikian published “The Media Monopoly.” It was labeled ‘alarmist’ at the time—but by the 20th edition published the year he died (2016)—his warnings paled in comparison to what had actually come to pass.
Pulitzer Prize winning Bagdikian warned his adopted nation of the amorphous danger in allowing just 50 news companies to control the content of the nation's public debate. That was in 1983.
This warning came as Bagdikian—a journalist himself—was witnessing the devouring of thousands of independent information outlets into the bellies of a small handful of corporate beasts, which had no interest in the locals they served. The number of information sources and voices being heard plummeted during his residency in the land of the free from those thousands of varying and contrasting views across the ideological spectrum (which had once engaged in vigorous debate in the public forum) to the five global players named in the opening of this article.
As a survivor of the Armenian genocide in his native Turkey, Bagdikian knew that democracy—and ultimately, freedom itself—depended on an informed public exchange of ideas, unfettered and unrestrained by ideological suppression or monopolistic interests.
Fast forward to the final edition of his book (2016) and the number of corporations controlling not only America’s, but the world's news content, was down to these five corporations, which were owned and controlled by 15 of the world’s wealthiest men and women.
And these five corporations share management. A study published by Columbia Journalism Review, as cited in Bagdikian’s final printing (2016) revealed that News Corporation, Disney, Time Warner, and Viacom have 45 interlocking directors. Forty-five. In essence, the same people oversee the management of the four US branches of the world’s media monopoly.
Convinced that conservative forces were behind this takeover of the world’s information sources, Bagdikian called, unsuccessfully, on the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce the monopoly laws against these giants until the day he died. No administration from that of conservative Ronald Reagan to liberal Barak Obama, however, had the courage (or nihilistic tendencies) to take on the media monopoly, and break it up, though clearly in violation of law.
WE ARE NOW IN THE END GAME
Information sources were intentionally being consolidated by a small group of private individuals with a view towards hegemony and control of content rather than competition, as evidenced by their shared management and resources of today. This was not necessarily a conspiracy, but rather a plan to end competition between the world's largest players. Bagdikian’s warnings were prescient. It was Orwell writ large, on an unimaginable scale. It was Sir Cecil Rhodes’ plan of benevolent elites ruling the world in its endgame.
Today, the globalist media cartel ultimately decides who is heard—and more importantly—who is not heard, on our planet.
Should any entrant successfully run the gauntlet and become a meaningful bit player—such as Ted Turner did in his day, or more recently, Arianna Huffington—he, she (or it) will be quickly snapped up by the media monolith.
Welcome to the new world.
Enforce existing laws. There is no need for a study group, a committee, congressional hearings, or anything that might allow a moment of delay. Anti-trust and monopoly statutes date back to 1890 in the United States (The Sherman Anti-trust Act) and exist in other nations as “competition laws.” The Attorney General of the United States and his or her law enforcement equivalents around the world should immediately move to break up these giants by eliminating ownership of multiple means of communication in any single market or across the spectrum of publishing, radio, film and visual, by any one company.
A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY?
There is one man alive today who is more reviled by the media monopoly than any other person in its history. This man’s name is Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America. The fact that Mr. Trump became president in spite of the cabal’s maneuverings in opposition to it indicates that a brief window of opportunity to end the monopoly’s domination of the world’s information resources may exist.
I make the statement that President Trump is the most reviled person in media monopoly history boldly because of the sad history of Bertelsmann—the European branch of the media monopoly—which willingly served Adolf Hitler’s regime. Hitler should have been the most reviled person in media monopoly history, but he was not. In fact, he was Bertelsmann’s best customer during the war years. The company printed 19 million books under Adolf Hitler, and thrived under his rule through large contracts to print anti-Semitic literature for the Nazi Propaganda Ministry.
Bertelsmann’s history would further suggest that the fathers of today’s media monopoly may have had some measure of participation in putting Hitler in power (at worst), but they cannot dispute or claim that they did not make money off his cruel regime by printing the literature necessary to keep him in power.
Whether one hates the current president of the United States or loves him is irrelevant. He is the only leader in a century who has nothing to lose by ordering his Attorney General to bring the media monopoly back to rule of law and the competition required of all businesses under it.
The president must break up this monopoly just like AT&T was broken up by the Department of Justice in 1982. Time Warner, as example, should be dissembled into regional corporations, then further divided so as not to have cross-media control in any single market.
The Disney Company?—lots of little mice could not control the minds of American youth like the giant mouse tries to do today. And so on. Bust them up and never let them coagulate again.
Our nation and the world could then get back to local news and local sources, reported by people who actually live there and care. Real reporting would quickly be revived and emanate from a wide variety of views rather than just one shrill voice that is ultimately controlled by 15 of the richest men and women in the world.
It would be an ironic justice if President Donald Trump’s legacy was bringing down the monopolistic forces which tried so desperately to destroy him, would it not?
Howell W. Woltz
Author of “The Way Back to America: 10 steps to restore the United States to Constitutional government,” and his recent international bestseller, “Justice Restored: 10 steps to end mass incarceration in America.”
Born in North Carolina and educated at the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Caledonian University in Scotland, Howell now lives in Warsaw, Poland with his wife, Dr. Magdalena Iwaniec-Woltz. Howell is the European Correspondent for The Richardson Post and Chairman of The International Centre for Justice.