Sponsored by the letter A.
In 1983 I graduated from high school and 90% of American media was owned by about 50 companies. By 2011, the same percentage was owned by just 6. Just over 200 executives controlling the information diet of over 270 million Americans.
We call them corporations now.
Because they are just like people.
So AT&T is poised to buy all of Time Warner. That means Disney and ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Miramax. Also, all of CNN, HBO and of course, Time and Warner Brothers.
Math isn’t my strong suit but I believe that takes it down to 5 or maybe 4.
What we have here is a deliberate failure to communicate. An assassination of accountability. If you’ve ever wondered how it was possible for the majority of Americans to believe the reason for the war in Iraq was WMDs or that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 as late as 2005, now you know.
It wasn’t only FOX News kids.
Just recently, a majority of republicans polled were positive that Obama was responsible for the disastrous response to Katrina, even though it happened in 2005. Three years before Obama took office. America is fighting her longest war in history and nobody is even asking why. Afghanistan. We’re involved in 6 other conflicts where we bomb and kill innocent people everyday but you never see that shit on the news.
This merger is all over NPR but nary a whiff on any network or cable news channel because they’re already owned by one of the five. When Rachel Maddow says on live television that Bill Clinton didn’t sign NAFTA, I know we’re all but fucked.
Our reality has become so thoroughly owned by our media that most of us would be intellectually and philosophically bereft without it.
I hate AT&T with a vengeance. I’m on my third cable box in as many months. They took over Direct TV and the product and service went to shit within weeks. None of the features I pay for work consistently. I stopped paying them for internet months ago because every evening my DSL performed like a goddamn dial up.
The United States ranks 30th in the world for average internet speed. We’re behind Romania, Iceland and Bulgaria. We pay twice as much for half as fast.
My only alternative was Time Warner. Except now Sauron is fixing to buy Sauraman. The control of content and distribution will be more comprehensive than ever. I don’t have a choice for cable or internet.
How is this not a monopoly?
This is macro and micro.
The power of Satan compels you to read “The Master Switch” by Tim Wu. I’m putting it back within reach of the on suite toilet. Wu coined the term “net neutrality”. It’s an absolutely fascinating book that details, among other things, the thorough and deliberate evil of AT&T and it’s creepy resurgence as a corporate leviathan.
We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
Drinks for my friends.
*The Phenobarbidolls. Easily the most eclectic record I ever made. “Fish Lounge”. Named after the common area lounge at A&M with the giant saltwater tank in the wall. Betsy (her band), slept in the studio for most of the project. She made tea in the mornings and flirted with me by giving head to a banana in the evenings. Ropy thick sexual tension.
The label was Sympathy For The Record Industry which means only Long Gone John ever listened to it. Brought to you by Studio goddamn C and at least one Neve 8 channel broadcast console in addition to the the 32 input API and STILL only 24 tracks with all manual mixing. No automation.
Beautiful ballads and songs like this. My partner Alex had the vision here. I fucked it all up on this song. He made the mistake of volunteering to assist Niko Bolas across the hall in Studio A one day and showed up after being chewed up by Little Lord Fauntleroy late one night to wonder out loud what the fuck Michael Whitaker and I had done with this song.
He said he liked it but I suspect he never forgave me.*