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Corporate media

Posted in the database on Friday, January 06th, 2006 @ 19:12:28 MST (1468 views)
from left i on the news  

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Some people talk about the "mainstream media." I avoid that terminology, since it depends on whose "stream" you're talking about; I prefer to think that on a global scale, I'm more in the "mainstream" than most American media. I prefer the term "corporate media", which might be strange since I use it to apply even to media outlets like PBS, but when I use the term, I use it because those media, whether they are actually owned by large corporations or not, reflect corporate interests. Just to pick a simple example, invariably siding with corporations when strikes occur, and not with the workers.

But sometimes, "corporate media" means even more, and reader Helga has emailed a stunning example, taken from the Australian paper The Age. The article is about Australia's secret (?) Jindalee Operational Radar Network, which is part of the global (by which we mean America and its allies) missile defense system. As you read the article, you're hard-pressed to distinguish it from a press release written by Lockheed Martin, who developed the system. We read about about how the system has "impressed" the scientists who have examined it, how it will be "highly effective," about how "enthusiastic" Lockheed executives are about the system, and so on. Then we get to the very end of the article and read the tagline:

Brendan Nicholson [the reporter] travelled to the US as a guest of Lockheed Martin

Now that's corporate media! Jeez, why not just put "PAID ADVERTISEMENT" on the top of the page?

We get at least some indication of Lockheed's ROI on their small investment in having the article published with this sentence: "Australia will spend tens of billions of dollars over the next decade keeping up with a world of sophisticated military technology." We aren't told how much of those "tens of billions" will be going to Lockheed, but it's a fair bet it's a substantial amount. Incidentally, I am unaware that foreign troops have ever attacked Australia during its entire history. Just to put those "tens of billions" in perspective.



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