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AdLib On June - 21 - 2011


We mean it! Unless you want the sight of the charred remains of Ol’ Glory seared into your memory and on your conscience, with it’s screams of “Give me liberty or give me death…but don’t burn me, it’s so horrible!!! AAAHHH!!!” ringing in your ears the rest of your life. And all you have to do to prevent this is just do exactly what we say…use your remote to save democracy.

Many posts and comments have been written here at The Planet addressing the corporately owned Main Stream Media (MSM), how it would rather distract us with Weiners than inform us about debt ceilings, keeping us updated with the latest on Kim Kardashian instead of the destruction of the Middle Class, and how it delights in using its 24 hours of broadcasting to proliferate commercials of kind women and cherubic faced men in black in white,grinning about how oil companies are really owned by all of us and have found all the solutions to get us all the oil we need without polluting…if only the government would stop requiring them not to pollute.

Many have veered away from watching tv when it comes to getting the news and have turned to the internet. This has enlightened many who might otherwise be wrapped up in the trivia, propaganda and exploitation that carries the banner of “news” today on our TVs.

In the old days, before news networks were run by political propagandists and gigantic corporations, news divisions at networks were independent and the very networks themselves were mostly privately or self-owned.  So, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) was a company only involved in television, as was NBC (National Broadcasting Company) and later ABC (American Broadcasting Company).

Just as companies that made cars were in the car business, it used to be that companies that made television programs were in the TV business. Now…

CBS is owned by National Amusements, a Viacom spinoff, Viacom has over $23 billion in assets.

NBC and MSNBC are co-owned by Comcast (with a 51% controlling share) which has over $118 billion in assets and General Electric which has over $751 billion in assets.

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company which has over $70 billion in assets.

Fox is owned by NewsCorp which has over $54 billion in assets.

CNN is owned by TimeWarner which has over $66 billion in assets.

I doubt that The Founders foresaw any of this when they drafted the 1st Amendment, that one day, the press that they wanted protected would just be revenue generating divisions of mega-corporations.

The financial interests of mega-corporations that own news channels are necessarily intertwined with what their “news” presents to the public. It influences the their viewers, the issues they support and the politicians they elect. There is only one legal mandate on corporations for which they can be sued by shareholders for breaching, that of making the maximum amount of profit possible. Which of these corporations would want to provide news to citizens which may make them support tax increases on the wealthy (instead of budget cuts on 99% of Americans) and cause themselves to be held legally liable for aiding and abetting America at the expense of reducing their own revenues?

This is a pretty straightforward proposition. Any policies the corporate owner of a news outlet promote to deliver facts and the truth to the public, that might result in negatively impacting that corporation’s net profits, could violate civil law and result in that corporation being successfully sued by its shareholders.

So, the exploitative blather, propaganda, predictions and mind-reading by talking heads and unending hostility and arguing that passes for “news” programs today serves the overall agenda of the multi-billion dollar corporations who want both your viewership and ignorance to what’s really going on in this country. As long as the American people are distracted and divided, they fall and corporate earnings and power continue to rise (the following charts are from a great article on this at Mother Jones, check out the full article here ) :

The numbers are very clear, the current environment and course of the US is greatly benefiting those same corporations that own all of our nation’s media outlets.

So, we can either curse the darkness or light a candle. The best hope right now for there to be a news outlet that is not corporately owned and serves the people as that safety net for democracy that The Founders envisioned, officially began it’s big push last night.

Current TV debuted the Keith Olbermann show last night. Olbermann brought in sky-high ratings over at MSNBC and essentially turned that station into a player. Lightning could strike once again and if so, it would be an enormous boon to our democracy.

This is not about whether one sees Olbermann as insightful journalist or an egotistical blowhard. This is a question to Americans, do you want a tv news outlet side-by-side with the existing ones that is not controlled by a corporation ? Current TV has made clear that it’s goal is to grow into a 24 hour news channel which also has shows and features like the current ones but the big difference would be that individuals, not corporations, would make the calls on what stories are or aren’t covered. Decisions could once again be made on conscience and principle, not corporate mandates.

Current TV has been around for a while but it is still in an early stage in its growth. It doesn’t have the billions of a corporate owner behind it so the programming may be limited for a while but the many rebroadcasts of Olbermann’s show will diminish as more new shows and newscasts are introduced and take hold.

Be advised, likely as a condition of their getting this channel on cable, Comcast has a 10% share of the company. However, the controlling interests are owned by VP Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, both of whom have a history of public service to this country, albeit from the Democratic side.

There is an opportunity now to support this young upstart channel, Current TV, into becoming more prominent and a competitor with corporate news channels.  Supporting Current TV and the prospect of strengthening our democracy with a freer press is as easy as adding it to your favorite channels on your cable or satellite service, contacting your provider to carry Current TV if they don’t, watching the channel from time to time and exploring their other programs (Vanguard is very good), spreading the word to friends and acquaintances through email and social media…you get the picture.

This really isn’t about left and right. It’s more about David and Goliath. And Democracy and Plutocracy. It’s more about the possibility of breaking the corporate monopoly on tv news channels and supporting the potential of a news channel that isn’t restrained from informing and empowering the people. It’s a rare opportunity  to re-establish a very visible safeguard of our democracy that has been lost along the way and we should jump at the chance.

For your reference, here are the providers and station numbers where you can view Current TV:

DIRECTV – Channel 358

Comcast – Channel 107

Time Warner Cable – Channel 103 NY and 142 LA

DISH Network – Channel 196

VERIZON FiOS – Channel 192

AT&T U-Verse – Channel 189

And hurry up, that match is starting to burn my fingers!

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

25 Responses so far.

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  1. jjgravitas says:

    I notice you did not include the network known as CW. It has no news programs that I know of. I don’t rely on TV (exclusively) for news anyway.

  2. funksands says:

    Ad, good piece. I share Adnoai’s distaste for KO, but am more than willing to throw my eyeballs and support behind any movement on television which can chip aways at the MSM Lamestream media cone of silence. (Hello Bahrain?)

    Another promising avenue is Dan Rather’s new gig on HDNet. He’s being solely funded by Mark Cuban on television and on the web and is being given carte blanche (for now) to write and report on anything he wants. There have been some pretty impressive stories. Some that weren’t, but overall I’m pretty impressed.

    http://www.hd.net/programs/danrather/

    • SallyT says:

      Funk, I have watched HDNet, too. I came across it by accident flipping through but it was when Dan Rather was on and it was an interesting one. I need to check it out more.

  3. escribacat says:

    Thanks for posting this, Adlib. I watched my first “new” Keith Olbermann show today on Current TV and I got the same feeling that you express in this post. Perhaps there is hope for the flow of information after all, that there will be an increasing number of other options besides the flood of flashy drivel we get from MSM. Maybe we won’t all be absorbed by the Fox Borg.

  4. SallyT says:

    Thank you, AdLib. As you know, for the past 3 months I have been promoting Current by its website and informing when Countdown with KO would begin. Yes, it is just Keith for now but that is how MSNBC started, too. In an article in the RollinStone, Keith hints that once the network’s news programs get going, there will be other newscasters joining them. (It was Keith that got Rachel Maddow on MSNBC) Yes, last night had a moment on MSNBC but I think Keith felt that people would expect something to be said. I sometimes have gotten frustrated with KO in the past but shouldn’t you once in awhile. Otherwise, you aren’t thinking for yourself.
    I do hope the station can get a following and I will continue with my part.

  5. Buddy McCue says:

    I don’t have a TV, but I do like Current’s website, and I get clickable news headlines from there automatically.

  6. ADONAI says:

    Well, I don’t care if a flag gets burnt but I do care about unfiltered news.

    True, I don’t really like Keith Olbermann but maybe most of that had to do with MSNBC. I’ll give it a shot. Sounds interesting.

    • Marion says:

      The ironic thing is that in Europe, you can only access Current TV via Sky, which is Murdoch.

      I wouldn’t watch KO if my life depended on it. I find him totally unrealiable. I’d like to see US news the way it was before all this 24/7 hoopla. It’s a sad day when the BBC has to do a news program for Americans because their network news sucks so badly.

    • AdLib says:

      Current will have to be about more than KO and I think they know that. If they are about honest and earnest news reporting, they will use KO’s celebrity to build upon.

      So, whether KO is or isn’t a favorite of yours, supporting Current will be supporting the only possible non-corporate news channel in the cable universe.

  7. KQuark says:

    Did you watch the first show AdLib?

    • AdLib says:

      Yes, I watched the premiere last night, it was nice to see him back. There was a small elephant on the room named MSNBC which there was a little self-consciousness about but that seemed unavoidable. In addition to the freedom KO has there now, I like the idea that he may hold all the other news networks’ feet to the fire including MSNBC which is a good thing.

      He and Current are uniquely positioned and as the hype of the 2012 election grows elsewhere, they could really distinguish themselves and earn a growing audience.

  8. JMBrodie says:

    Enjoyed seeing Keith again. I have missed his perspective.

    • AdLib says:

      Same here! I have grown quite tired of Lawrence O’Donnell’s manufactured indignation on one issue after another, it’s really worn thin. And I’m pleased to see him already eating crow with his condescending dismissal of anyone who doesn’t agree with his flawed prediction that Pawlenty will be the GOP nom.

      Whether folks like him or not, KO has been consistent on the issues that he has been the most passionate about and though he can go over the top at times, there is a sense of social responsibility that underlies all of it.

      Welcome back KO, glad to have him energizing and building up Current.

  9. choicelady says:

    Love Keith though I do, and miss him though I do, in order for me to get Comcast’s Channel 107, I have to PAY. And I’m freaking too cheap to do that if it means picking up another tier which I don’t want. I’m checking out whether I can get JUST Current TV. But if it’s a whole tier, maybe not…

    BTW -- that 1.6% millionaire tax rate in 1913? That’s their goal today. Just what we need. More plutocrats like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Uh-huh.


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