Rixon Stewart – 2004
Media analysts have been slow to recognise it, but quietly and in increasing numbers, people are beginning to lose interest in television. The novelty has gone, replaced by a steady stream of tired reruns and contrived reality shows. Evidence for this emerged over Christmas when viewing figures in Britain, normally at an annual peak, were lower than they had been in years. Even the most popular programme on Christmas Day – BBC1’s Only Fools and Horses – attracted only 15.5 million, down nearly 5 million on its 2001 figure.
The decline has been further underlined by the reception given to BBC Three, the corporation’s latest channel launched for young adults early last year. Since then however it has barely got off the ground, with viewing figures of little more than 100,000 a day. In a country of nearly 60 million viewers those figures amount to nothing more than a media stillbirth.
The cause of this slide in ratings isn’t in TV schedules and programming, little has changed there. What has changed can be spelt out in a word that was barely heard ten years ago: the Internet.
In the space of a few short years, the Internet has been transformed. From being a gadget for geeks the Internet has now become a powerful force for changing people’s perception of the world. In the words of British historian David Irving, the Internet is “the new high ground.”
His comments echo the growing power of the medium, although you are unlikely to hear that from the mainstream media. In fact that is probably the last place you will hear it.
Over the past few decades, if you wanted to cultivate popular opinion you needed money, lots of it: to hire journalists and buy publishing houses, printing presses, advertising time, TV studios and the like. Which meant that the media was largely owned by moneyed oligarchs and used to further their particular interests.
Even those media outlets that loudly proclaimed their independence fell under the sway of the oligarchs. Simply put, moneyed elites used their influence to ensure that their own people, or at least those ambitious or venal enough to do their bidding, occupied key positions.
For example Greg Dyke, Director General of the BBC is said to be close in with Tony Blair and a frequent guest at dinner parties given by the Rothschild banking dynasty. This is the sort of man who runs Britain’s premier TV channel and it is reflected in the BBC’s ‘politically correct’ stance, its strict policy of racial quotas and its careful avoidance of anything that would expose the true nature of the usury based monetary system we live under.
The fact the BBC’s Director General is a frequent dinner guest with the Rothschild’s, the very people who control and profit from this monetary system, is studiously ignored by the organisation he heads.
So while the BBC may rattle on about its ‘journalistic integrity’, it is just so much talk. In reality it is little more than a propaganda arm for a moneyed elite and their emergent New World Order. And what applies to the BBC applies to the rest of the mainstream media. In the end analysis the media’s persuasiveness rests on the illusion of its journalistic integrity being accepted by an unsuspecting audience.
The Internet however is an entirely different ball game. For a start it does not need large amounts of money to start a website nor does it require any organisation for its upkeep. Instead all that is required is a desktop computer plus some basic writing skills; combined, crucially with a perspective that has not been totally skewed by the mainstream media.
Having circumvented the need for large amounts of money or organisational structure also means that anybody can publish whatever they like. And this poses a serious threat to the influence of the media owning oligarchs. For it means that individuals not necessarily beholden to the oligarchs can take on the media giants on equal terms.
Furthermore, alongside the alternative media burgeoning in cyberspace, there is also growing public cynicism toward the mainstream media itself. Which in turn makes people all the more receptive to what the emergent Internet media is saying.
This became particularly evident earlier last year, during demonstrations against the proposed invasion of Iraq. Despite years of being fed stories about Saddam’s supposed Weapon’s of Mass Destruction, millions instinctively rejected the media’s message and marched through London in protest against the looming war. A year later Saddam’s WMD’s have still not been found, while the mainstream media has quietly dropped what was once a standard storyline.
Since then, the Internet has seen the emergence of a host alternative websites, featuring news and opinions hardly ever seen in the mainstream media. At the same time writers whose work wouldn’t have been published before, because what they wrote was at odds with the established order, are finding new avenues of expression. While those writers and researchers whose work was once considered too ‘dangerous’ to publish are now finding an audience.
And that audience is waiting and receptive. According to an Associated Press report, January 12, 2004: “People are turning increasingly to alternatives like the Internet for news about the presidential campaign… Young adults were leading the shift, with one-fifth saying that they consider the Internet a top source of campaign news, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press…
“Nightly network news was cited as a regular source of campaign news by 35 percent, down from 45 percent four years ago, and newspapers by 31 percent, down from 40 percent.”
In effect the tide is turning. But observe how the Associated Press report fails to mention that not only has the medium changed but the message has too. As with all good disinformation it omits to mention crucial elements in a story. True, more and more people are turning to the Internet for news but note: there is not a word about what is actually being reported.
And that about sums up the dilemma facing the media owning oligarchs. Do they cover the emergent new media, but play it down so as to minimise its effect? Or do they ignore it completely and if so at what risk?
From here on it is anyone’s guess as to where this media revolution will lead. But one thing is certain: it will be a dam sight more interesting and revealing than a night spent watching television.