The Cartelization of the News Industry

by Jeffrey Steinberg

Printed in The American Almanac, May 5, 1997.

End of Page Mass Brainwashing Site Map Overview Page

Make your own free website on
In 1996, the 104th Congress, with overwhelming bipartisan support, and with the backing of the White House, passed a telecommunications bill that removed the last remaining obstacles to the complete cartelization of America's mass media and ``news'' industry. The door was opened for a handful of predominantly British and British-allied media giants to take over the newspaper, radio, and television markets in the major urban centers of the United States.

Perhaps one reason that the sweeping deregulation of the communications, entertainment, and news media took place, with hardly a whimper of opposition from any factions in government, is that the process of corporate cartelization and mass-media tyranny had already advanced so far, that the new law represented merely a codification of something that had already been consolidated.

In a rapidly growing number of cases, these media giants are not even American companies. Many of the most influential media conglomerates are directly British owned and operated:

A Near-Total Monopoly

Among the American-owned media giants, a half-dozen companies share, with their British cousins, a near-total monopoly over the news. The Associated Press, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times (Times Mirror Corp.) are, along with Reuters and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC, and its U.S. de facto subsidiaries, National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System), almost the sole sources of news for the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Except, that is, for the four television news departments at NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN (FOX-TV has recently built up its own news department). But, these four companies are themselves subsidiaries of even larger multimedia conglomerates: General Electric owns NBC; Time Warner recently absorbed CNN; Disney/Capital Cities owns ABC; and Westinghouse owns CBS. Each of these mega-media-entities owns local TV and radio stations in major urban centers, as well as magazines, motion picture companies, and record companies, (in addition to their more familiar product lines), throughout the United States.

The reach of this cartel extends far beyond the borders of the United States, to reach English speakers around the world. For example, the International Herald Tribune, the English-language ``newspaper of record'' abroad, is a joint venture of the Washington Post and New York Times.

Whereas, not too long ago, various trade journals would compile a profile of the 100 most powerful media executives, the list has now dwindled down to no more than 20 multimedia CEOs.

This, then is the structure of an enormous cartel, operating in a mode that British Intelligence official H.G. Wells dubbed an ``open conspiracy.'' Murdoch, Ted Turner and similar media moguls have been trumpeted in the pages of the British-influenced ``American'' society journal, Vanity Fair as holding the ``real power'' in what is called the ``New Establishment.'' But, that too, like the other stories peddled for popular consumption by the cartel, is only partly true, and mostly a Big Lie. As a chart which accompanies this feature shows, the real power remains in the more shadowy grouping, sometimes referred to as the ``Club of the Isles''-- the hereditary families of the mostly-British oligarchy -- whose media machine conceals its existence through the manipulation of perceptions and ``public opinion.'

Mass Media, Mass Brainwashing

In the early 1950s, Theodor Adorno, the Frankfurt School social engineer, wrote enthusiastically that Americans' ability to think would be destroyed once the majority of them had been induced to spend all of their leisure time in front of the one-eyed baby-sitter, a.k.a. ``the TV.'' (Adorno had worked on the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Radio Research Project at Princeton University, and spent years in Hollywood, developing a hands-on sense of the mass-brainwashing potential of the mass media.) Nearly a half-century later, America is addicted to television; current history is reduced to sound-bites of carefully screened and ``spun'' national and international news ``factoids'' (as they are called in the mindless reporting of CNN), buried by a barrage of graphic scenes of real-life violence and perversity, which take up well over half of the nightly diet of ``the day's news.''

Even the live coverage of car crashes, gang murders, rapes, natural disasters, wars, and terrorist acts, is served up on the basis of careful studies conducted at the neurological divisions of the leading medical schools. In recent decades, psychological warfare experts have unveiled a new pseudo-science called ``victimology,'' developed by the London Tavistock Institute, which is premised upon the theory that individuals can be put through trauma by being exposed to shockingly graphic visual accounts of violence.

The results of these manipulations, and of the impacts of media on ``public opinion'' is being measured, on an hourly basis, by polling organizations that are joint ventures of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, USA Today, the New York Times, and Gallup.

It's What They Don't Tell You

``American'' media elites practice a brutal, albeit well-concealed, form of ``wartime'' news censorship, but the mechanisms of this control are now openly acknowledged. John Chancellor, the longtime NBC-TV news anchorman, in his recent autobiographical account of life in the news room, The New News Business (with Walter R. Mears, New York: HarperPerennial, 1995), admitted that, through formal structures such as the Associated Press, informal ``clubs'' such as the New York Council on Foreign Relations, and the Sun Valley clique, decisions are made, on a daily or weekly basis, about what the American people will be told, and what stories will never see the light of day.

Unless you were a subscriber to EIR magazine, or to this newspaper, you missed three profoundly important news stories in 1996. The blackout of these stories by every major news outlet, is symptomatic of the larger pattern of the ``crimes of omission'' on the part of the news cartel.

The first, was the 1996 Democratic Party Presidential campaign of Lyndon LaRouche. Despite the fact that LaRouche was on the ballot in 26 states, and garnered nearly 600,000 votes, his campaign was completely blacked out of the national television, radio, and print media -- to the point that the standard media line was that ``President Clinton ran unopposed'' for the Democratic Presidential nomination. LaRouche averaged 6.5% of the vote in the states in which he was on the ballot, and received well over 10% of the vote in a number of those races--far more votes than were captured by the widely-publicized Presidential bids of Republicans Lamar Alexander, Phil Gramm, Bob Dornan, and Pete Wilson. Had LaRouche received proportional media coverage, his vote totals would have increased significantly; and, more to the point, his policy input into the Presidential debate process would have shaped a very different kind of national election, one that would have, in all likelihood, led to a larger Clinton victory, and a Democratic Party sweep of both Houses of Congress.

The fact that a candidate who had fully qualified for federal matching funds, had received some 175,000 votes in California alone (Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, who received significant nightly news coverage, got 20,000 votes), and had aired four nationwide, prime-time, half-hour TV campaign broadcasts, received zero mass media news coverage, says volumes about the top-down control the media exerts over what the American public is allowed to know.

In stark contrast to the 1996 media campaign blackout of LaRouche, in March 1986, when two LaRouche-backed candidates won the Democratic Party nominations for Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State of Illinois, the major news networks launched a round-the-clock slander campaign, branding LaRouche ``a political extremist,'' and demanding (and finally getting) a government frame-up/prosecution. In the span of four weeks, over 8,000 separate media slanders, all bearing the identical ID-format ``political extremist Lyndon LaRouche,'' appeared in the U.S. press. - George Bush, Crack Kingpin -

The second ``sin of omission'' by the media involved a published story that missed the most important part of the exposé: On Aug. 18-20, 1996, the San Jose Mercury News in California published an important three-part series, revealing that members of a Nicaraguan Contra organization, the National Democratic Front (FDN), had bankrolled the war against the Sandinista regime in Managua by dumping tons of crack cocaine onto the streets of Los Angeles. The Mercury News story, by investigative reporter Gary Webb, provoked an angry reaction from the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the rest of the media cabal.

But, the real story behind the Mercury News scandal was the dimension of the Los Angeles Contra-cocaine tale that never appeared in the pages of the Mercury News: the story of the role of Vice President, and, later, President George Bush, in supervising the cocaine-for-guns operations in Central America, that placed segments of the federal government in bed with the Colombian cocaine cartel.

The Bush role in the Contra-cocaine business was a perfect instance of rock-solid news. The government documents specifying Bush's role in the Central America program, were all declassified, and publicly available at the Library of Congress and the National Archives. There were thousands of pages of court transcripts, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration affidavits, and other legal evidence of the Contra-cocaine links. Yet, no news organization apart from EIR saw fit to break the story as a high-priority item. - A Foreign-Directed Coup Plot -

The third story that never appeared on the front page of the Washington Post, or as the lead item on NBC Nightly News, involved the media itself. From the day of Bill Clinton's inauguration as President of the United States, on Jan. 20, 1993, the London-centered Club of the Isles, utilizing British intelligence assets, among other resources, has been running a covert operation, aimed at bringing down the Clinton Presidency. Using a recipe that has been applied over and over again in Africa, and in other parts of the Third World, the Hollinger Corp., BBC, Reuters, the Times of London, the Economist, and other British ``news'' organs, in league with such U.S. outfits as the Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the American Spectator, have conducted a non-stop black propaganda campaign against the President and his closest advisers. Millions of dollars have been covertly provided to an underground of newsletter publishers, radio ``talk-jockeys,'' ``Christian'' broadcasters, and tax-exempt think-tanks, to keep up the ``Clintongate'' drumbeat.

The idea that a foreign apparatus, run by a purported leading American NATO ally, is conducting a covert war against a U.S. head of state -- as if the United States were a republic -- should warrant news coverage. But, the news editors at NBC, CNN, the Washington Post, and so on, have chosen, instead, to black out that story, and devote countless front-page articles to a regurgitation of the made-in-London, Clintongate baloney.

Top of Page Mass Brainwashing Site Map Overview Page

The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.

Publications and Subscriptions for sale. See: Publications and Subscriptions

EIR on Who Owns The Media, $10.00.

Readings from the American Almanac. Contact us at: