The Collapse Of Media (And What You Can Do About It)

Authored by Nafeez Ahmed and Andrew Markell via,

When a system enters into the final stage of its deterioration – whether that is an institutional system, a state, an empire, or the human body – all the important information flows that support coherent communication breakdown. In this final stage, if this situation is not corrected the system will collapse and die.

It has become obvious to nearly everyone that we have reached this stage on the planet and in our democratic institutions. We see how the absolute dysfunction of the global information architecture?—?represented in the intersection of mainstream media outlets, social technology platforms and giant digital aggregators?—?is generating widespread apathy, despair, insanity and madness at a scale that is terrifying.

And we are right to be terrified, because this situation is paralyzing us from taking the action required to solve global and local challenges. While liberals fight conservatives and conservatives fight liberals we lose precious time.

While progressives fight government, the corporations and the super-rich we drown in despair. While philanthropists, fueled by their own certainty and wealth, fight for justice or equality or for some poor hamlet in Africa we become apathetic and distracted from the real source of the problem. And while the president fights everyone and everyone fights the president, the collective goes mad.

In the background, however, the game of hoarding resources and not redistributing them accelerates; absorbing the sum total of our collective actions and commitments into a singular unacceptable future. There is only one way to avoid this fate; uncover the source of the disease and cure it by mobilizing solutions.

We are about to break down for you the source of this disease of information that is accelerating us to ecological and institutional collapse because once you see it, you will be free to act and build something else.

The Collapse of Democratic Institutions

Industrial civilization is in the throes of a great disruption, a systemic transition which could either lead to regression, crisis and collapse; or a new way of working and living, a new mode of prosperity, a new narrative of success.

The global media industrial complex is not equipped to address this great disruption to civilization-as-we-know-it. To the contrary, it is literally incapable of meaningfully processing information in such a way that it produces, for a significant percentage of the human population, real actionable knowledge? which can render humanity capable of transitioning successfully into the new era.

The global media industrial complex today compounds the problems we are facing.

It does this by providing, despite appearances, no knowledge at all. The prevailing model of media is to monopolize and manipulate information flows to produce beliefs and emotions that will allow giant aggregators to maximize ‘clicks’, to maximize advertising revenues, to maximize profits?—?for a few.

So rather than creating knowledge, the global media industrial complex is designed to generate competing, polarized narratives around which different audiences coalesce into irreconcilable segregated communities; it reinforces beliefs without teaching critical thinking; it blunts an attitude of openness while promoting a banal left-right dichotomy that fuels a global culture of mindless consumerism.

This prevailing media structure constrains the public’s capacity to make intelligent decisions. And that allows global ecological, energy, economic, social and other challenges to accelerate, while we argue amongst ourselves about ideology.

The consequence is that information flows are inexorably linked to dominant processes of profit-maximization for a tiny minority; so much so, that people’s relationship to information is managed as a control mechanism over attention and ideological persuasion.

The Monopolization of Media & Journalism

At the heart of our collapsing democratic institutions sits the global media industrial complex. If you are brave enough to look closely you will see that both ‘free press’ and ‘fake news’ outlets operate as a structural extension of an extreme form of predatory capitalism, using information to capture wealth for the few at the expense of the many, by capturing our minds. They are two sides of one coin that make the same people obscene piles of cash.

We only have to peer under the hood to see this fact staring us in the face.

In the US, six huge transnational conglomerates own the entirety of the mass media, including newspapers, magazines, publishers, TV networks, cable channels, Hollywood studios, music labels and popular websites: Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal.

In the UK, 71% of UK national newspapers are owned by just three giant corporations, while 80% of local newspapers are owned by a mere five companies.

Today, the world’s largest media owner is Google, closely followed by Walt Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Facebook. Together, Google and Facebook monopolize one-fifth of global ad revenue. And all these corporations control the bulk of what we read, watch and hear, including online. They define our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Yet they reflect a tiny number of people who have a very narrow outlook on the world.

That’s because these power structures are part of what one study in the journal PLoS One describes as a “network of global corporate control.” The study authors, a team of systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, found that the world’s most powerful 43,000 transnational corporations are dominated by a core 1,318 companies, further dominated by a “super-entity” of just 147 firms.

So most of what we read, watch and hear through the media is structurally conditioned by a network of special interests that are self-supported and self-sustained. This is why the distinction between fake news and real news is both illusory and dishonest. Due to this structure, virtually everything you encounter as ‘news’ functions a subtle or overt piece of propaganda that distracts you from the real activity that is driving the machinery. It matters little whether it comes from Mother Jones, the New York Times, Breitbart or Fox News – everything coming at you within this structure produces the debilitating effect of confusing your mind and stimulating your emotions into a complex mash-up of anger, resignation apathy and sloth.

Through the Google Glass

To understand the power of these special interests to monopolize information in service to their own vested ends, we need look no further than the story of world’s largest media owner of all.

In January 2015, INSURGE broke the exclusive story of how Google was founded and evolved under the wing of the US intelligence community.

The report revealed that during his development of the core code behind the Google search engine as a Stanford University postgraduate student, Sergey Brin received seed-funding from a CIA and NSA-run research program, the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS). The confirmation came from a former manager of the MDDS, Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, who is now the Louis A. Beecherl distinguished professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research Institute at the University of Texas, Dallas.

This was not necessarily unusual?—?the intelligence community has long been involved in Silicon Valley for all sorts of obvious reasons. What’s interesting is that you probably never knew about how this worked in relation to Google. And that says a great deal about the way the global media industrial complex operates. Her claims are corroborated by a reference to the MDDS programme in a paper co-authored by Brin and fellow Google co-founder Larry Page while at Stanford.

How the Media – All Media – Handles the Truth

This story was totally blacked out in the English-language media: except the US tech news site Gigaom, which recommended our investigation as follows:

“An interesting, if extremely dense, account of Google’s longstanding interactions with US military and intelligence was published on Medium last week.”

This has very important implications that deserve careful scrutiny: In short, the inside story of Google’s seed-funding and founding by the CIA and NSA breaks into the open?—?but not a single English-language newspaper wants to cover or even acknowledge the story. Yet what could be bigger news, than one of the world’s biggest ‘news-facilitators’ being so closely aligned with the US intelligence community at birth?

The lack of interest is not the result of a conspiracy. It’s the predictable outcome of the fact that the global media industrial complex represents a highly centralized institutional structure that perpetuates a culture of slavish obedience to power.

The global media industrial complex largely obscures important knowledge about the very structure and nature of power. That’s why this is probably the first time you’ve seen direct evidence that the most powerful media owner in the world, Google, was conceived with the support of the US intelligence community.

Power and Control Over Your Mind & Your Resources

This is not about whether Google is uniquely ‘evil’. It’s about a wider pattern of unacceptable ownership patterns and social networks across the media landscape.

Consider William Kennard. He served on the board of the New York Times, then became US Federal Communications Commission chairman. He then joined the Carlyle Group as Managing Director. Carlyle majority-owns Booz Allen Hamilton, the defense contractor managing NSA mass surveillance. After Kennard joined the Obama administration as US Ambassador to the EU, he pushed for the secretive, pro-corporate Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Consider John Bryson, Obama’s Secretary of Commerce until 2012. In the preceding decade he sat on the board of the Walt Disney Company, which owns the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). He was simultaneously on the board of US defense contractor Boeing. Despite resigning from those positions after joining government, he held lucrative stock, option assets, and deferred-compensation plans with both Disney and Boeing.

Consider Aylwin Lewis, another Walt Disney Company director and simultaneous longtime director at Halliburton, one of the largest transnational oil services firms, formerly run by Dick Cheney. A Halliburton subsidiary, Houston-based KBR Inc., received $39.5 billion in Iraq related contracts over the last decade?—?many of which were no-bid deals.

Consider Douglas McCorkindale, a director of giant media conglomerate Gannett for decades, and head of various Gannet subsidiary spin-offs. Gannett is the largest US newspaper publisher measured by daily circulation, and owns major US TV stations, regional cable news networks, and radio stations. Yet for about a decade, McCorkindale also served as a director at the US defence giant, Lockhead Martin, resigning in April 2014.

Consider that these individuals, through their media and defense industry interests, profited directly from devastating wars enabled, effectively, by their own propaganda.

And notice that this is a bipartisan game, lavishly benefitting liberals and conservatives alike.

So the global crisis of information and the global Crisis of Civilization? - where we see an escalating convergence of political extremism, ecological destruction, and economic volatility, unravelling our societies and families, decapitating the hopes of our youth? - are clearly one and the same reality.

The commodification of information is part and parcel of the commodification of the planet.

This is a game where your mind, your attention and future are reduced to a worthless asset, traded through the markets until there is nothing left. But there is no need to accept this fate. All that is required is that you see it for what it is.

Once seen, new information and ideas can flow into your mind, new emotions can flow into your body, and you will be empowered to take action. If you see you can act. It becomes obvious that the only solution is to redesign the journalistic format such that new ideas and information lead to constructive action. It becomes obvious that to enliven the public sphere and restore our democratic institutions, we should facilitate the flow of money in media back to where it belongs; into the hands of both journalists and reader-participants committed to the creation of a just and sane future.


SofaPapa cheka Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:37 Permalink

A related idea:Our global societal structure has subsidized faiure since WWII.  This is the meaning of a welfare society.  When people who have demonstrably failed to succeed in a structure are given resources for no better reason than breathing, you get... more people who will demonstrably fail.  It's not rocket science.  We are being overwhelmed by the braindead.  This is true at the "top" and at the "bottom" of society.  The top is demonstrated by the current state of our military, corporate, and military leadership (grossly incompetent, venal, and corrupt); the bottom is demonstrated by our inner cities (violently underdeveloped).This society will not endure, in fact is not enduring.  It's falling apart everywhere we look.It's only a matter of time before the "wealthy" nations notice; that is to say before the food distribution system breaks down, revealing a final reality that so many people will find to be a surprise.  For some of us, however, the only surprise is how long it's taking.  Inertia gives what was once an incredibly robust economic model a very long runout time.  But it is running out.I agree with the author on his main point.  The only solution will be if people see through the invisible barrier that has been placed in front of the obvious reality.  Just a small shift in perspective of what we are witnessing.I have no idea if that will happen or if the current massive planetary die-off accelerates into its close, and the surviors create a new round of life looking nothing like what the planet has seen before.  I am confident that Earth will continue to orbit around the sun for another good while.  Beyond that, I am confident of little.

In reply to by cheka

J S Bach cheka Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:29 Permalink

"...have to get control of the internet"The more they chase the dragon of deception, the more impossible it becomes to tame it.  If they quell the internet temporarily, it will only delay and intensify the inevitable backlash against them.Take heart... their end is nigh.

In reply to by cheka

Number 9 Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:19 Permalink

social technology platforms and giant digital aggregators?—?is generating widespread apathy, despair, insanity and madness at a scale that is terrifying.i have lived long enough to see the before and after social media and yes, most of my wife's family and just about every half of my family are at each others throats..tmfitoo much fvkin info

Number 9 cheka Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:36 Permalink

cousin says sister's steak looks over done..sister sees drop off in likes..sister say cousin should learn to cook..cousin says fvky off biatch you cooking is worse than dirtcunt runs to hubby and asks if he is going to allow her to talk like hubby has any sense what so ever he smashes cell phone, cuts net access and prepares the dungeon 

In reply to by cheka

G-R-U-N-T Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:36 Permalink

"It has become obvious to nearly everyone that we have reached this stage on the planet and in our democratic institutions"Errr....I believe what you mean is we now have the opportunity to create democratic institutions, because what we have now and what we had sure as hell isn't democratic, at least on the Federal level. It's only because Trump was elected that the deep state and their propaganda grunts are shitting bricks and now has become vulnerable to the one thing they fear the most, the silent majority and they're beginning to use a sludge hammer to crack their cacoon which has protected these arogant stains on humanity for decades!

DaiRR Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:50 Permalink

Sure, the MSM is all about manipulating the news and social engineering.  Why are they so overwhelmingly DemoRat ?Watch or read that shit at your peril.  LOL, why does anyone spend a single penny on the NY Times, WA Post, Newsweek, etc.?  I could never figure that out.  Idiots.

VideoEng_NC Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:52 Permalink

There are some solid synapse firing on this site but look how long it takes to explain the tardness that's going on in this world with what is thought to be known.  Yes, contrary to what's been said, things can be done but we're all waiting for that Michael "Don" Corleone moment...can't wait.

I Write Code Wed, 12/06/2017 - 03:37 Permalink

Y'know, I've thought for years now that I'd like to start my own news site, to do this or that specialized function, but every time I revisit the idea it seems more like what I really want to do is create a real news site and news paper, online and/or dead tree versions, the way they used to be, the way they're supposed to be.The disgusting propaganda, slander, and gibberish that passes for news today on the MSM is beyond belief.  Yeah it was never perfect, but the average today is worse than the worst excrescences in history.--Oh yeah, the rest of this post is pretty much unreadable trash, no matter the good intentions.

otschelnik Wed, 12/06/2017 - 02:07 Permalink

There will always be a reliquial MSM. That's why Bezos bought WaPo,and why the Koch brothers are trying to buy Time.  These people are prepared to lose any amount of money in order to gaslight the masses.  Trump said at an election rally once "this Twitter is great.  Its like owning a newspaper without the losses!"   He's right.  This will be the way of the future - as long as FB Youtube Twitter don't succumb to the political pressure of the Frankfurt Marxists. 

Nomad Trader Wed, 12/06/2017 - 03:34 Permalink

"..the only solution is to redesign the journalistic format.."Actually, there is another option. We can refuse, absolutely refuse, to consume newspapers and television news. Works for me - I don't even know who the prime minister of my country is. Plus, I've found that living in such a state is the only way I can make money as a trader. But be warned, addiction to the media is a very hard thing to break free from.

psychobilly Wed, 12/06/2017 - 04:04 Permalink

“While progressives fight government...”


I stopped reading at this point. Gunvernment is the regressive left’s God and church, through which all blessings in life supposedly flow. Give us what we want or we’ll kill you. So “progressive.”

psychobilly Wed, 12/06/2017 - 04:19 Permalink

“While progressives fight government...”


I stopped reading at this point. Gunvernment is the regressive left’s God and church, through which all blessings in life supposedly flow. Their earthly Utopia evidently requires a literal army of gun-wielding, costumed thugs and micro-managing apparatchiks to bring about. Always one more mountain of corpses away from Utopia. Give us what we want or we’ll kill you. So “progressive.”

willspeaks Wed, 12/06/2017 - 04:50 Permalink

I am far more worried about "Predatory Socialism" than  "Predatory Capitalism".Far better that the media is controled by six conglomerates than by ONE.The biggest problem by far is that the EDUCATION system is controled by Government at the earliest point in children's lives and we are reaping the stupid harvest.

truthalwayswinsout Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:57 Permalink

It all started with the Supreme Court. They ruled in Sullivan that a public figure can no longer sue for simple defamation. This was without doubt legislation from the bench.The end result was we went from a fairly good free press who believed in free speech and had 8600 independent outlets to a a press that doesn't care for free speech at all and 6 news outlets all controlled by corporations.It has meant that good people no longer run for office and that will kill any system over time.

OCnStiggs Wed, 12/06/2017 - 08:58 Permalink

More disinformation by the Elites to confuse the ignorant..."While progressives fight government, the corporations and the super-rich..."Truth is, the Progressives ARE the government. Look at the DOJ and FBI screw ups under Mueller. The wealthiest people ARE Progressive Liberals. Look at where the money came from for Hillary.Either these authors are truly ignorant or they are part of the dizinformatsia that seeks to weave lies with a little bt of truth to hook the ignorant.Beware.

surf@jm Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:17 Permalink

I can`t stand watching local news channels.....Its nothing but government propaganda.......The only topics are:  what government did today for you, who`s handing out free stuff, and whos going to jail for disobeying the government.....Thown in are snippets, on how tax increases are a good thing, people upset about higher taxes are a bad thing......And then commercials to convince you to be ripped off by the advertiser.........

whatisthat Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:26 Permalink

I would observe there are many American taxpayers / individuals who will stand up against establishment corruption - at a point in time and worries!!

Drop-Hammer Wed, 12/06/2017 - 19:04 Permalink

Let it collapse.  Get the jews out of it.  Let it rise from the ashes as a jew/nigger/spic/libtard-free institution.  MIWA! (Make It White Again!).