"Media baron Rupert Murdoch is offering to create "an independent, autonomous editorial board" for the Wall Street Journal if his News Corp. bid for Dow Jones Co. succeeds, a letter ... addressed to the controlling Bancroft family and published in the Journal was aimed at overcoming resistance to the five billion-dollar hostile takeover offer."AFP News
It was Rupert Murdoch’s fast-spreading style of yellow "infotainment" journalism that inspired me to write the Editor Freedom Act I proposed some years ago – see EditorFreedom.com. I was surprised to see this media baron propose an "autonomous editorial board" to approve the changes of the top two editors in his quest to buy the Wall Street Journal empire.
Clearly, a big problem with a "free press" today is that our major media editors are not free due to the fact they are at-will employees hired by the five or six white men who own and control the majority of media in this country, and now around the world.
As things stand, the editors of "our" major media are hired and fired without any imput from viewers, readers, subscribers, legislators, or any independent board of review. As a result, these powerful owners control the media currency of "democracy"... and so are free to control and counterfeit it to their liking. In short, they own and control the "weapons of mass distraction" and we, the people, are under fire.
The so-called "independent" and "free" press is thus independent in name only. In practice, all major media editor employees are first considered and hired for their friendly-to-corporate views and fired for any real antipathy to such positions. While we are perfectly free to be naive and believe otherwise, many former employees of major media will attest that this is indeed the case.
"I’m the chief executive. I set policy and I’m not going to surround myself with people who disagree with me."
Otis Chandler, LA Times
To overcome concerns about journalistic integrity, Murdoch said he would "establish an independent, autonomous editorial board for the Wall Street Journal exactly along the lines of what was established at The Times of London." The Guardian newspaper also noted that Murdoch's offer to set up an independent board for the Journal mirrors a promise he made when he purchased the Times of London years ago. One big problem is that board "has long since been disbanded."
Based on this example it looks like Murdoch, like so many politicians, will say anything to get elected, or simply whatever it takes to buy his next major media property. And so media power and concentration rolls on.
The problem with "our" media is that, due to what I term a "factor imbalance," it’s current ownership and control make-up distorts the entire socio-economic process and corrupts democracy itself. The main "factors" to the economic equation are labor and capital. Today, we have capital’s views coming at us from all corners while labor’s views are hidden, distorted and blacked out. While we may have the internet to blog our dissents today the fact remains the vast majority still get their news, opinions, and political candidate views from major corporate-capital media.
"In February 2003, A Florida Court Of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States."
In practice, what we have in this media, and elsewhere, today is a pervasive corporate fascism - wherein the views and concerns of the vast wage-earning majority are effectively disappeared in a form of journalistic murder. This is particularly true in the case of so-called "free trade" dogma and the utter censoring of any discussion of a public central bank (see publiccentralbank.com).
As a result of such unbridled media power we live in a corporate-capital cage, and one big reason is the lack of any real independence for major media editors and producers. The point of my proposed Editor Freedom Act is to remove the hiring and firing decisions of major media figures from their owners. We might first consider here that these editor positions, and the people involved, are essentially quasi-public employees – as they are responsible for manufacturing, and not distorting, the very media currency of democracy.
To leave this hirng and firing power in the hands of a few powerful men is utter nonsense, an invitation to fascism, information counterfeiting, and a perpetual destruction of effective democracy. I’m not talking about government controlled media here, I’m simply raising the issue of establishing some real semblance of factor balance in the socio-economic equation – i.e., one which works to prevent the major distortions, crises, and upheavals which litter our history.
Clearly, the concentrated ownership and global reach of mega-media concerns, and latter-day difficulties of market entry, are developments unforeseen by both the writers of the U.S. constitution and classical economists. The founders took a raucous, diverse, and locally-owned, free press for granted - as one might do in a time when entry into the field was relatively easy and inexpensive. This state of affairs is no longer the case. New societal and marketplace conditions require new reforms and greater public empowerments in order to free the press.
1 | 2