Building control of truth

The press isn’t free–but that’s okay. Republicans are ready to buy it. 

Screenshot of "Morning Joe" interview with Charles and David Koch,11/3/2015

If what’s in the press gets uncomfortable, there is an option. Buy the presses.

Meredith Corp., the Iowa-based media company, will purchase Time Inc. for $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion, according to a statement. Roughly one quarter of the deal value ($650 million) is being financed by Koch Equity Development (KED), the investment arm of Koch Industries, run by Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch.

Backing from the Koch brothers will likely prompt questions about the editorial independence of Time Inc.’s news properties, like Time Magazine and Fortune.

A conservative buyout of Time comes on top of attempts to force AT&T to divest itself of CNN.

The US Department of Justice has informed AT&T and Time Warner that they must sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, if they want approval for their $84.5 billion merger, according to a New York Times report citing people briefed on the matter.

A property for which there are ready buyers.

“There have been a lot of people” who have “expressed interest in CNN,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Thursday.

According to a new report, Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch was one of them.

As Donald Trump does his best to mock everything except his house organ, it’s clear that the value of the media is well within the reach of the 1 percent to simply buy out the First Amendment.

His Tweet:
“We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

 

Fox already acts to empower Trump, and in the process has become the only news acceptable to a third of America. CNN could become nothing more than an echo of the positions on Fox, both reinforcing Trump’s message and cutting off opposition. Timecould become a weekly print celebration of those ideas, providing a ready “authoritative source” whose name provides a cachet of journalism.

The remaining media companies aren’t immune to purchase—CBS has a total value just under $30 billion, and there are at least 15 Americans carrying around more personal wealth. Nothing protects those companies from simply being pocketed.

And, of course, they don’t have to be purchased at all. Their impact can be made minimal through continuous ridicule leveled by Trump, Fox, and whatever other assets the Trumpists decide to purchase. Plus, CBS, NBC, and ABC have little value if their local stations have already been turned into mouthpieces for Trump.

After a campaign season spent boosting Trump, Sinclair looks set to grow even bigger thanks to the president’s appointees at the Federal Communications Commission: In May, the company announced a $3.9 billion deal to acquire Tribune Media’s 42 TV stations, which would give Sinclair access to New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, the nation’s three largest media markets.

It’s not just possible, but increasingly likely that the major media sources will fall into the hands of Trump-supporting billionaires.

Add to that the FCC’s attempts to limit access to the Internet for the poor.

“Over 70 percent of wireless Lifeline consumers will be told they cannot use their preferred carrier and preferred plan,” Clyburn said. “On top of that, they may not have a carrier to turn to after that happens.”

And to make sure those who can access the Internet, see only what’s approved.

Pai is going to ignore what the American people want, and give the internet away to a few players like Comcast and Verizon. He’s doing it fraudulently, by ignoring cheating and lying. Because of course he is.

If you have a mimeograph machine from the 1960s, now might be the time to stock up on supplies.

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