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When billionaires buy media outlets such as newspapers or news stations, they have the ability to control information, and influence public perceptions. The recent purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon billionaire Jeffrey P. Bezos, and the prior purchases of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal by ethically challenged and filthy rich Rupert Murdoch, booted out of the U.K for scandalous journalistic practices, are two prominent examples.
Might the potential to manipulate the public for personal gain become a serious threat, whether exercised or not, whenever a real or legal person (namely a corporation) squats atop the Fourth Estate? Should “We the People” not be concerned when news could be slanted to say enhance the wealth of some insanely rich power broker and his cronies?
The same truth in advertising rules ought to apply to manipulative media outlets. Indeed, they should let their audiences know they are not objective sources of information. And spinning news like a frictionless gyroscope ought to engender substantial penalties by the FCC. Chronic violators ought to lose their licenses to broadcast.
Propaganda indeed fills the popular airwaves worldwide allowing the wealthiest of the wealthy here and abroad, who in effect own those airwaves, to maintain or increase their ill gotten gains at the expense of everyone else. These billionaire creeps pull the strings of their morally challenged henchmen squatting in the Hallowed Halls of America’s Congress and elsewhere to do their bidding, and make sure their information filtration system remains intact.
Yet, the Internet, if not debauched or made inaccessible, may allow those who care to ferret out the truth, find ways to overcome the deceptive rhetoric that manipulates minds, ever increases the wealth gap between the few controllers of the popular message and their vast receptive audience.
We will have to wait and see.