The Mainstream Media Is Dying, and We’re Winning

October 4th, 2012

For decades, the corporate media industrial complex has controlled public opinion. Technological limitations and central bank inflation made media distribution too expensive for most small companies, and only the subsidiaries of massive parent corporations with direct or indirect access to the discount window at the Fed could possibly afford to get a message out to the general public. Regulatory agencies controlled access to the airwaves, doling out channels to a select few companies. Meanwhile, cable providers created regional monopolies with the help of special contracts from local and state governments. The end result was a climate where a handful of gatekeepers controlled the media, choosing what would be broadcast and denying coverage to content that deviated from their agenda.

The internet, however, is changing all this. In smaller countries, the information revolution has already tipped the balance of power into the hands of the people. The Arab Spring burst forth from Twitter and Facebook as people gathered together, shared information using alternative media outlets, and cast off dictators. While America’s printing presses are still keeping the old system glued together for now, evidence is mounting that the corporate media industrial complex is about to lose grip on the world’s hegemon, the United States. When it does, a people-powered and robust array of alternative media sources will provide the news, rather than a handful of corporations in bed with the government.

New Poll Shows TV, Print, and Radio News in Rapid Decline

Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential campaign went viral between 2007-2011 in a way that would have been impossible without the internet. Since Google searchers could look deep into a candidate’s record, internet news media consumers began to push aside the camera-friendly, slick-talking candidates in favor of those with compatible voting records. Before the internet, a television debate between candidates might have been the only easy resource that Americans could have referred to before voting. Now, people can find out who is contributing to what campaign and how each politician votes.

This trend, however, is no longer something limited to Ron Paul supporters and other obsessed and engaged politicos. DVice.com reported on a Pew poll which demonstrates that more and more consumers are getting their news online, rather than from TV, radio, and print media.

Poll: Pew Research Center

As one can see in the above poll of American media consumers, online news outlets have surpassed print and radio. TV news is also in a precipitous decline, and internet news outlets will soon take the number one spot.

American Spring: The Implications of a Future without Centralized, Top-Down News Media

What would happen if the media didn’t have the power to tell us how inevitable certain candidate’s victories are? What if there were no central news outlet to tell us which candidates are electable and which are not? The national media has long operated on a simple set of talking points, and that type of messaging is unsuccessful online. Soon, a viral picture meme may be able to out-message all of the cable news channels in a matter of minutes.

Will the two-party system survive the transition to a decentralized, people-powered media environment? Will there be an American spring similar to those that happened in the Middle East and elsewhere? One can only theorize as to how dramatic and swift the change will be, but it’s coming, and there may be some significant developments that transpire when the internet finally beats TV on a future version of this poll.

With the “bored at work on Facebook” crowd becoming one of the most powerful media markets in the world, those of us who battle against the media industrial complex and its monopoly over information are about to finally win the day. Our time is coming, and we will make certain the truth gets out, thanks to the innovation and technology that is giving us the power to overwhelm the status quo created by the marriage of select corporations and government.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.