Recently, Viacom announced a partnership with IMG Worlds to develop its first Nickelodeon Park in the Middle East. The new park, which will be a significant addition to Nickelodeon branded attractions globally, is a key step in the company’s international growth strategy. While theme park revenues do not form a [...]
On the occasion of International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, ILO Goodwill Ambassador, Wagner Moura, explains why we should all commit to help end modern slavery by joining the ILO’s 50 for Freedom campaign. This video has been realised by the ILO and Viacom International Media Networks, The Americas.
Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting? There are seven reasons that the mainstream media and many of the largest "alternative" media websites are all pro-war. 1. Self-Censorship by Journalists There is tremendous self-censorship by journalists. A survey by the Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review in 2000 found: Self-censorship is commonplace in the news media today …. About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices. Similarly, a 2003 survey reveals that 35% of reporters and news executives themselves admitted that journalists avoid newsworthy stories if “the story would be embarrassing or damaging to the financial interests of a news organization’s owners or parent company.” Several months after 9/11, Dan Rather told the BBC that American reporters were practicing “a form of self-censorship”: There was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions…. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism. What we are talking about here – whether one wants to recognise it or not, or call it by its proper name or not – is a form of self-censorship. Rather said in 2008: One of the most pernicious ways in which we do this is through self-censorship, which may be the worst censorship of all. We have seen too much self-censorship in the news in recent years, and as I say this please know that I do not except myself from this criticism. As Mark Twain once said, “We write frankly and freely but then we ‘modify’ before we print.” Why do we modify the free and frank expression of journalistic truth? We do it out of fear: Fear for our jobs. Fear that we’ll catch hell for it. Fear that someone will seek to hang a sign around our neck that says, in essence, “Unpatriotic.” We modify with euphemisms such as “collateral damage” or “less than truthful statements.” We modify with passive-voice constructions such as “mistakes were made.” We modify with false equivalencies that provide for bad behavior the ready-made excuse that “everybody’s doing it.” And sometimes we modify with an eraser—simply removing offending and inconvenient truths from our reporting.” Keith Olbermann agreed that there is self-censorship in the American media, and that: You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble …. You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our …. system. Former Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin wrote in 2006: Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do. . . . There’s the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. There’s the fear of being labeled partisan if one’s bullshit-calling isn’t meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum. If mainstream-media political journalists don’t start calling bullshit more often, then we do risk losing our primacy — if not to the comedians then to the bloggers. I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate bullshit-calling than a well-informed beat reporter – whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship – or whatever it is – out of the way. MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends wrote in 2013: Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world. Once upon a time you saw people like this in every newsroom in the country. They often had chaotic personal lives and they died early of cirrhosis or a heart attack. But they were tough, angry SOBs and they produced great stories. Do you want to know what kind of people get promoted and succeed in the modern news organization? Social climbers. Networkers. People who are gregarious, who “buy in” to the dominant consensus, who go along to get along and don’t ask too many really awkward questions. They are flexible, well-organized, and happy with life. And it shows. This is why, just in the patch of financial and economic journalism, so many reporters are happy to report that U.S. corporations are in great financial shape, even though they also have surging debts, or that a “diversified portfolio” of stocks and bonds will protect you in all circumstances, even though this is not the case, or that defense budgets are being slashed, when they aren’t, or that the U.S. economy has massively outperformed rivals such as Japan, when on key metrics it hasn’t, or that companies must pay CEOs gazillions of dollars to secure the top “talent,” when they don’t need to do any such thing, and such pay is just plunder. All of these things are “consensus” opinions, and conventional wisdom, which are repeated over and over again by various commentators and vested interests. Yet none of them are true. If you want to be a glad-handing politician, be a glad-handing politician. If you want to be a reporter, then be angry, ask awkward questions, and absolutely hate it when everyone agrees with you. The Jerusalem Post wrote last year: Any university journalism course will teach that there are two forms of media censorship in the media: censorship and self-censorship. As one online article explains: “Censorship occurs when a state, political, religious or private party prohibits information from reaching citizens. Self-censorship occurs when journalists themselves prevent the publication of information… because they are fearful of what could happen if they publish certain information – they are fearful of injury to themselves or their families, fearful of a lawsuit or other economic consequence.” *** A 2014 academic article was more alarmist in tone. M. Murat Yesil, assistant professor at Turkey’s Necmettin Erbakan University, wrote that “self-censoring practices of journalists put the future of journalism into danger… [such] practices may be threatening the future of journalism.” This past week, Spanish journalists are claiming a new law that protects police officers from having their photographs published will encourage self-censorship. Self-censorship obviously occurs on the web as well as in old media. As Wikipedia notes: Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one’s own work (blog, book(s), film(s), or other means of expression) … 2. Censorship by Higher-Ups Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com. If journalists do want to speak out about an issue, they also are subject to tremendous pressure by their editors or producers to kill the story. The 2000 Pew and Columbia Journalism Review survey notes: Fully half of [the investigative journalists surveyed] say newsworthy stories are often or sometimes ignored because they conflict with a news organization’s economic interests. More than six-in-ten (61%) believe that corporate owners exert at least a fair amount of influence on decisions about which stories to cover…. The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who uncovered the Iraq prison torture scandal and the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam, Seymour Hersh, said: “All of the institutions we thought would protect us — particularly the press, but also the military, the bureaucracy, the Congress — they have failed. The courts . . . the jury’s not in yet on the courts. So all the things that we expect would normally carry us through didn’t. The biggest failure, I would argue, is the press, because that’s the most glaring…. Q: What can be done to fix the (media) situation? [Long pause] You’d have to fire or execute ninety percent of the editors and executives. You’d actually have to start promoting people from the newsrooms to be editors who you didn’t think you could control. And they’re not going to do that.” In fact many journalists are warning that the true story is not being reported. A series of interviews with award-winning journalists also documents censorship of certain stories by media editors and owners (and see these samples). It’s not just the mainstream media. The large “alternative” media websites censor as well. For example: Every year Project Censored [which Walter Cronkite and other ] puts together a list of the top 25 stories censored and ignored by the mainstream media. How many of these stories were you aware of? Even regular consumers of alternative, independent media may be surprised to learn about some of these stories …. There are many reasons for censorship by media higher-ups. One is money. The media has a strong monetary interest to avoid controversial topics in general. It has always been true that advertisers discourage stories which challenge corporate power. In 1969, Federal Communications Commission commissioner Nicholas Johnson noted that tv networks go to great lengths to please their sponsors. Indeed, a 3-time Emmy Award winning CNN journalist says that CNN took money from the royalty in Bahrain to kill her hard-hitting expose, and instead run flattering propaganda for Bahrain. Some media companies make a lot of money from the government, and so don’t want to rock the boat. For example, Glenn Greenwald notes: Because these schools [owned by the Washington P0st’s parent company, whose profits subsidize the Post] target low-income students, the vast majority of their income is derived from federal loans. Because there have been so many deceptive practices and defaults, the Federal Government has become much more aggressive about regulating these schools and now play a vital role in determining which ones can thrive and which ones fail. Put another way, the company that owns The Washington Post is almost entirely at the mercy of the Federal Government and the Obama administration — the entities which its newspaper ostensibly checks and holds accountable. “By the end of 2010, more than 90 percent of revenue at Kaplan’s biggest division and nearly a third of The Post Co.’s revenue overall came from the U.S. government.” The Post Co.’s reliance on the Federal Government extends beyond the source of its revenue; because the industry is so heavily regulated, any animosity from the Government could single-handedly doom the Post Co.’s business — a reality of which they are well aware: The Post Co. realized there were risks attached to being dependent on federal dollars for revenue — and that it could lose access to that money if it exceeded federal regulatory limits. “It was understood that if you fell out of grace [with the Education Department], your business might go away,” said Tom Might, who as chief executive of Cable One, a cable service provider that is owned by The Post Co., sat in at company-wide board meetings. Beyond being reliant on federal money and not alienating federal regulators, the Post Co. desperately needs favorable treatment from members of Congress, and has been willing to use its newspaper to obtain it: Graham has taken part in a fierce lobbying campaign by the for-profit education industry. He has visited key members of Congress, written an op-ed article for the Wall Street Journal and hired for The Post Co. high-powered lobbying firms including Akin Gump and Elmendorf Ryan, at a cost of $810,000 in 2010. The Post has also published an editorial opposing the new federal rules, while disclosing the interests of its parent company. The Post is hardly alone among major media outlets in being owned by an entity which relies on the Federal Government for its continued profitability. NBC News and MSNBC were long owned by GE, and now by Comcast, both of which desperately need good relations with government officials for their profits. The same is true of CBS (owned by Viacom), ABC (owned by Disney), and CNN (owned by TimeWarner). For each of these large corporations, alienating federal government officials is about the worst possible move it could make — something of which all of its employees, including its media division employees, are well aware. But the Post Co.’s dependence is even more overwhelming than most. How can a company which is almost wholly dependent upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. Government possibly be expected to serve as a journalistic “watchdog” over that same Government? The very idea is absurd. In addition, the government has allowed tremendous consolidation in ownership of the airwaves during the past decade. Dan Rather has slammed media consolidation: Likening media consolidation to that of the banking industry, Rather claimed that “roughly 80 percent” of the media is controlled by no more than six, and possibly as few as four, corporations. This is documented by the following must-see charts prepared by: Media Channel The Nation Free Press And check out this list of interlocking directorates of big media companies from Fairness and Accuracy in Media, and this resource from the Columbia Journalism Review to research a particular company. This image gives a sense of the decline in diversity in media ownership over the last couple of decades: The large media players stand to gain billions of dollars in profits if the Obama administration continues to allow monopoly ownership of the airwaves by a handful of players. The media giants know who butters their bread. So there is a spoken or tacit agreement: if the media cover the administration in a favorable light, the MSM will continue to be the receiver of the government’s goodies. The large alternative media websites also censor news which are too passionately anti-war. Huffington Post – the largest liberal website – is owned by media giant AOL Time Warner, and censors any implication that a Democratic administration could be waging war for the wrong reasons. So HuffPost may criticize poor prosecution of the war, but would never say that the entire “War on Terror” as currently waged by the Obama administration is a stupid idea. The largest “alternative” websites may weakly criticize minor details of the overall war effort, but would never say that more or less worldwide war-fighting is counterproductive. They may whine about a specific aspect of the war-fighting … but never look at the larger geopolitical factors involved. They all seem to follow Keith Olbermann’s advice: You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble …. You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our …. system. 3. Digital Demonetization The biggest social media websites censor the hardest-hitting anti-war stories. And see this. We noted in 2013: Reddit, Facebook, Digg, Youtube and other social media sites have long censored content as well. For example, Facebook pays low-wage foreign workers to delete certain content based upon a censorship list. For example, Facebook deletes accounts created by any Palestinian resistance groups. [See this] Digg was caught censoring stories which were controversial or too critical of the government. See this and this. Many accuse Youtube of blatant censorship. Indeed, Youtube admits that it censors: Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown Moreover, all of the social media giants say they’re going to crack down on “fake news”. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social media are partnering with corporate media such as the ABC News, NBC News, Washington Post, New York Times, to filter out what they label as fake news. Why is this a problem? Because corporate media giants like the Washington Post are labeling virtually any website which questions U.S. foreign policy as “fake news” … and calling on them to be “investigated” by the FBI and Department of Justice for treason. So think about how this will play out 1. First, criticizing U.S. wars will get a website listed on a slapdash “fake news” list 2. Second, the blacklisting will lead to social media – and perhaps search engines – blocking links to the site 3. With links blocked, ad revenue for the site will plummet, which will destroy the main source of revenue for most websites, effectively shutting them down. Get it? If this trend continues, it will lead to tremendous pressure to stop criticizing U.S. military policy. 4. Drumming Up Support for War Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com In addition, the owners of American media companies have long actively played a part in drumming up support for war. It is painfully obvious that the large news outlets studiously avoided any real criticism of the government’s claims in the run up to the Iraq war. It is painfully obvious that the large American media companies acted as lapdogs and stenographers for the government’s war agenda. Veteran reporter Bill Moyers criticized the corporate media for parroting the obviously false link between 9/11 and Iraq (and the false claims that Iraq possessed WMDs) which the administration made in the run up to the Iraq war, and concluded that the false information was not challenged because: The [mainstream] media had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. As NBC News’ David Gregory (later promoted to host Meet the Press) said: I think there are a lot of critics who think that . . . . if we did not stand up [in the run-up to the war] and say ‘this is bogus, and you’re a liar, and why are you doing this,’ that we didn’t do our job. I respectfully disagree. It’s not our role. The same thing happened in the Libyan and Syrian wars. But this is nothing new. In fact, the large media companies have drummed up support for all previous wars. For example, Hearst helped drum up support for the Spanish-American War. So why has the American press has consistently served the elites in disseminating their false justifications for war? One of of the reasons is because the large media companies are owned by those who support the militarist agenda or even directly profit from war and terror (for example, NBC was owned by General Electric, one of the largest defense contractors in the world … which directly profits from war, terrorism and chaos. NBC was subsequently sold to Comcast). Another seems to be an unspoken rule that the media will not criticize the government’s imperial war agenda. And the media support isn’t just for war: it is also for various other shenanigans by the powerful. For example, a BBC documentary proves: There was “a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen . . . . The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.” Moreover, “the tycoons told the general who they asked to carry out the coup that the American people would accept the new government because they controlled all the newspapers.“ See also this book. Have you ever heard of this scheme before? It was certainly a very large one. And if the conspirators controlled the newspapers then, how much worse is it today with media consolidation? (Kevin Dutton – research psychologist at the University of Cambridge – whose research has been featured in Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, The Guardian, Psychology Today and USA Today – also notes that media personalities and journalists – especially when combined in the same persons – are likely to be psychopaths. Some 12 million Americans are psychopaths or sociopaths, and psychopaths tend to rub each others’ backs.) 5. Direct Government Funding and Support An official summary of America’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Iran in the 1950′s states, “In cooperation with the Department of State, CIA had several articles planted in major American newspapers and magazines which, when reproduced in Iran, had the desired psychological effect in Iran and contributed to the war of nerves against Mossadeq.” (page x) Indeed, it is well-documented that the CIA has long paid journalists to write propaganda. This includes foreign, as well as American reporters. And the military-media alliance has continued without a break (as a highly-respected journalist says, “viewers may be taken aback to see the grotesque extent to which US presidents and American news media have jointly shouldered key propaganda chores for war launches during the last five decades.”) As the mainstream British paper, the Independent, writes: There is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it. The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news. The article in the Independent discusses the use of “black propaganda” by the U.S. government, which is then parroted by the media without analysis; for example, the government forged a letter from al Zarqawi to the “inner circle” of al-Qa’ida’s leadership, urging them to accept that the best way to beat US forces in Iraq was effectively to start a civil war, which was then publicized without question by the media. Indeed, many branches of the U.S. government - and allied governments - fund propaganda. As one example, the New York Times reports: Richard Stengel, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy [i.e. minister of propaganda] ... has approved State Department programs that teach investigative reporting and empower truth-tellers .... In other words, the State Department is supporting reporters who spout its party line about U.S. foreign policy without question. And Robert Parry, the investigative reporter who many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s, points out: In May 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a fact sheet summarizing its work financing friendly journalists around the world, including “journalism education, media business development, capacity building for supportive institutions, and strengthening legal-regulatory environments for free media.” USAID estimated its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually, including aiding “independent media organizations and bloggers in over a dozen countries,” In Ukraine before the 2014 coup ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych and installing a fiercely anti-Russian and U.S.-backed regime, USAID offered training in “mobile phone and website security,” skills that would have been quite helpful to the coup plotters. USAID, working with currency speculator George Soros’s Open Society, also has funded the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins. Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what appeared to be the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014. Despite his dubious record of accuracy, Higgins has gained mainstream acclaim, in part, because his “findings” always match up with the propaganda theme that the U.S. government and its Western allies are peddling. Higgins is now associated with the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think tank which is partially funded by the U.S. State Department. Beyond funding from the State Department and USAID, tens of millions of dollars more are flowing through the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which was started in 1983 under the guiding hand of CIA Director William Casey. NED became a slush fund to help finance what became known, inside the Reagan administration, as “perception management,” the art of controlling the perceptions of domestic and foreign populations. 6. Access Dan Froomkin, Brett Arends and many other mainstream reporters have noted that “access” is the most prized thing for mainstream journalists … and that they will keep fawning over those in power so that they will keep their prized access. But there is another dynamic related to access at play: direct cash-for-access payments to the media. As previously mentioned, a 3-time Emmy Award winning CNN journalist says that CNN takes money from foreign dictators to run flattering propaganda. Politico reveals: For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post has offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to “those powerful few”: Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and — at first — even the paper’s own reporters and editors… The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — was a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival. That may be one reason that the mainstream news commentators hate bloggers so much. The more people who get their news from blogs instead of mainstream news sources, the smaller their audience, and the less the MSM can charge for the kind of “nonconfrontational access” which leads to puff pieces for the big boys. 7. Censorship by the Government Finally, as if the media’s own interest in promoting war is not strong enough, the government has exerted tremendous pressure on the media to report things a certain way. If reporters criticize those in power, they may be smeared by the government and targeted for arrest (and see this). Indeed, the government treats real reporters as terrorists. Because the core things which reporters do could be considered terrorism, in modern America, journalists are sometimes targeted under counter-terrorism laws. The government spies on reporters. Columbia Journalism Review notes: The Edward Snowden leaks made clear that the internet is a tool for peering into the lives of citizens, including journalists, for every government with the means to do so. Whether domestic spying in the United States or Great Britain qualifies as censorship is a matter of debate. But the Obama administration’s authorization of secret wiretaps of journalists and aggressive leak prosecutions has had a well-documented chilling effect on national-security reporting. At the very least, electronic snooping by the government means that no journalist reporting on secrets can promise in good conscience to guarantee a source anonymity. Not only has the government thrown media owners and reporters in jail if they’ve been too critical, it also claims the power to indefinitely detain journalists without trial or access to an attorney which chills chills free speech. After Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge. An al-Jazeera journalist – in no way connected to any terrorist group – was held at Guantánamo for six years … mainly to be interrogated about the Arabic news network. And see this. Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange could face the death penalty for his heinous crime of leaking whistleblower information which make those in power uncomfortable … i.e. being a reporter. As constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald notes: It seems clear that the US military now deems any leaks of classified information to constitute the capital offense of “aiding the enemy” or “communicating with the enemy” even if no information is passed directly to the “enemy” and there is no intent to aid or communicate with them. Merely informing the public about classified government activities now constitutes this capital crime because it “indirectly” informs the enemy. *** If someone can be charged with “aiding” or “communicating with the enemy” by virtue of leaking to WikiLeaks, then why wouldn’t that same crime be committed by someone leaking classified information to any outlet: the New York Times, the Guardian, ABC News or anyone else? *** International Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller made a similar point when the charges against Manning were first revealed: “[I]f Manning has aided the enemy, so has any media organization that published the information he allegedly stole. Nothing in Article 104 requires proof that the defendant illegally acquired the information that aided the enemy. As a result, if the mere act of ensuring that harmful information is published on the internet qualifies either as indirectly ‘giving intelligence to the enemy’ (if the military can prove an enemy actually accessed the information) or as indirectly ‘communicating with the enemy’ (because any reasonable person knows that enemies can access information on the internet), there is no relevant factual difference between [Bradley] Manning and a media organization that published the relevant information.” *** It is always worth underscoring that the New York Times has published far more government secrets than WikiLeaks ever has, and more importantly, has published far more sensitive secrets than WikiLeaks has (unlike WikiLeaks, which has never published anything that was designated “Top Secret”, the New York Times has repeatedly done so: the Pentagon Papers, the Bush NSA wiretapping program, the SWIFT banking surveillance system, and the cyberwarfare program aimed at Iran were all “Top Secret” when the newspaper revealed them, as was the network of CIA secret prisons exposed by the Washington Post). There is simply no way to convert basic leaks to WikiLeaks into capital offenses – as the Obama administration is plainly doing – without sweeping up all leaks into that attack. *** The same [Obama] administration that has prosecuted whistleblowers under espionage charges that threatened to send them to prison for life without any evidence of harm to national security, and has brought double the number of such prosecutions as all prior administrations combined. Converting all leaks into capital offenses would be perfectly consistent with the unprecedented secrecy fixation on the part of the Most Transparent Administration Ever™. The irony from these developments is glaring. The real “enemies” of American “society” are not those who seek to inform the American people about the bad acts engaged in by their government in secret. As Democrats once recognized prior to the age of Obama – in the age of Daniel Ellsberg – people who do that are more aptly referred to as “heroes”. The actual “enemies” are those who abuse secrecy powers to conceal government actions and to threaten with life imprisonment or even execution those who blow the whistle on high-level wrongdoing. Former attorney general Mukasey said the U.S. should prosecute Assange because it’s “easier” than prosecuting the New York Times. Congress is considering a bill which would make even mainstream reporters liable for publishing leaked information (part of an all-out war on whistleblowing). As such, the media companies have felt great pressure from the government to kill any real questioning of the endless wars. For example, Dan Rather said, regarding American media, “What you have is a miniature version of what you have in totalitarian states”. Tom Brokaw said “all wars are based on propaganda. And the head of CNN said: There was ‘almost a patriotism police’ after 9/11 and when the network showed [things critical of the administration’s policies] it would get phone calls from advertisers and the administration and “big people in corporations were calling up and saying, ‘You’re being anti-American here.’ Indeed, former military analyst and famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said that the government has ordered the media not to cover 9/11: Ellsberg seemed hardly surprised that today’s American mainstream broadcast media has so far failed to take [former FBI translator and 9/11 whistleblower Sibel] Edmonds up on her offer, despite the blockbuster nature of her allegations [which Ellsberg calls “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”]. As Edmonds has also alluded, Ellsberg pointed to the New York Times, who “sat on the NSA spying story for over a year” when they “could have put it out before the 2004 election, which might have changed the outcome.” “There will be phone calls going out to the media saying ‘don’t even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security,’” he told us. * * * “I am confident that there is conversation inside the Government as to ‘How do we deal with Sibel?’” contends Ellsberg. “The first line of defense is to ensure that she doesn’t get into the media. I think any outlet that thought of using her materials would go to to the government and they would be told ‘don’t touch this . . . .‘” Indeed, in the final analysis, the main reason today that the media giants will not cover the real stories or question the government’s actions or policies in any meaningful way is that the American government and mainstream media been somewhat blended together. Can We Win the Battle Against Censorship? We cannot just leave governance to our “leaders”, as “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” (Jefferson). Similarly, we cannot leave news to the corporate media. We need to “be the media” ourselves. “To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”– Abraham Lincoln “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Powerlessness and silence go together. We…should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world’s reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It should be cherished and used.”– Margaret Atwood “There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress.”– Howard Zinn (historian) “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”– Thomas Jefferson
Last month we noted that ESPN lost 621,000 subscribers in the month of the October (see "ESPN Loses A Record 621,000 Subscribers In One Month"). Unfortunately, the sports media powerhouse can't seem to make the bleeding stop as evidenced by another 555,000 subscriber losses this month as reported by Nielsen. For those keeping track, that's roughly 1.2mm in sub losses in just two months, which, at $7 of revenue per sub, represents about $100mm of lost annual revenue for ESPN's parent company, Disney. Obviously this is not welcome news for a company that is locked in to $7.3 billion in sports content deals or roughly 70% more than the second highest network, NBC. In 2017 ESPN to spend $7.3 billion on content more than any source; then Netflix ($6bn), NBC (4.3bn), CBS ($4bn) & Amazon ($3.2bn) #snlkagan — Brad Adgate (@badgate) October 18, 2016 According to Outkick The Coverage, that $7.3BN in content deals includes $1.9BN for Monday Night Football, $1.5BN for NBA content and a host of other MLB and college sports content. Presently ESPN is on the hook for the following yearly sports rights payments: $1.9 billion a year to the NFL for Monday Night Football, $1.47 billion to the NBA, a deal I told you flat out wasn't sustainable back in July because it meant every single cable and satellite subscriber in the country was paying an average of $30 a year for the NBA whether they watched or not, $700 million to Major League Baseball, $608 million for the College Football Playoff, $225 million to the ACC, $190 million to the Big Ten, $120 million to the Big 12, $125 million a year to the PAC 12, and hundreds of millions more to the SEC. Meanwhile, ESPN isn't the only cable network bleeding subs. As we pointed out last month, Pay TV subscribers have been shrinking for years as streaming alternatives have grown in popularity. Moreover, the pace of the decline seemingly accelerated in early 2015. Of course, cheap, streaming-only services like the one just launched by AT&T's DirecTV only serve to put even more pressure on content providers by offering more choices and smaller channel bundles to consumers. Meanwhile, as The Verge points out, this latest offering from AT&T just adds to the other streaming services already offered by Dish's Sling TV, Sony Playstation Vue and upcoming services from Hulu and YouTube. As we've said before, the beginning of the end for the TV bundle is upon us and ESPN, which has extracted excess value from cable distributors for decades at the expense of consumers who had no choice but to suck-up their exorbitant fees, will be among the biggest losers. * * * For those who missed it, here is some additional analysis on ESPN from our post last month. Last April, HBO effectively marked the death of the cable TV bundle when they decided to launch "HBO Now" and sell their content directly to consumers for $15 per month. While other "over-the-top" providers have existed for years, this decision was pivotal because it was the first time that any major content provider decided to break with the traditional cable delivery model and go direct to consumer. Within a year, HBO Now had amassed 1 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Pay TV households collapsed around the same time as "cord cutting" accelerated. Per the following data from Barclays' Media and Telecom analyst, Kannan Venkateshwar, the decline of Pay TV households really accelerated in 2Q 15 around the same time that HBO Now was launched. Meanwhile, the number of broadband-only households also surged. Now, the biggest beneficiary of the cable TV bundle, ESPN, which exploited it's "must have" content for decades to negotiate ever higher rates with cable TV providers while forcing those rates down the throats of consumers by insisting its content be included in all of the channel "bundles", finds itself in the unfamiliar territory of losing millions of subs per year amid surging contents costs. In fact, according to Outkick The Coverage, ESPN lost over 600,000 subscribers in October alone which is worth over $50mm in annual revenue. Yesterday Nielsen announced its subscriber numbers for November 2016 and those numbers were the worst in the history of ESPN's existence as a cable company -- the worldwide leader in sports lost 621,000 cable subscribers. That's the most subscribers ESPN has ever lost in a month according to Nielsen estimates and it represents a terrifying and troubling trend for the company, an acceleration of subscriber loss that represents a doubling of the average losses over the past couple of years, when ESPN has been losing in the neighborhood of 300,000 subscribers a month. These 621,000 lost subscribers in the past month alone lead to a drop in revenue of over $52 million and continue the alarming subscriber decline at ESPN. Couple these subscriber declines with a 24% drop in Monday Night Football ratings this fall, the crown jewel of ESPN programming, and it's fair to call October of 2016 the worst month in ESPN's history. But this isn't just a story about ESPN, the rapid decline in cable subscribers is hitting every channel, sports and otherwise. It just impacts ESPN the most because ESPN costs every cable and satellite subscriber roughly $7 a month, over triple the next most expensive cable channel. The historical cable TV game goes a little something like this...in any given market there is typically 3-4 subscription TV providers (2 satellite companies, 1 (or more) cable providers and a Telco). Those providers sign multi-year deals to buy content from media companies (e.g. ESPN, Discovery, Time Warner, Viacom, etc. etc) and then bundle them all together and pass the costs of those contracts along to consumers. Every 3-5 years those content contracts come up for renewal and the cable providers (i.e. consumers, since the costs just get passed along) are effectively forced to pay whatever increase ESPN (and others) asks for or risk losing millions of subscribers. Now, there are roughly 100mm pay TV households in the U.S. and, because of the channel "bundling" scam, approximately 90% of them are forced to "buy" ESPN whether they consume sports content or not. Moreover, because ESPN is considered "must have" content they're able to extract the most value from the cable providers getting roughly $7 per sub per month, or more than double the next highest content provider...tack on a little extra margin for the cable provider and the average consumer is paying $120 per year for ESPN even if they never watch a single minute of sports programming...seems fair, right? Fortunately for consumers, and not so much for ESPN, the power in the system, courtesy of "over-the-top" content providers like HBO and Netflix, is just starting to shift from the media companies to consumers...which will be disastrous for the historical beneficiaries of the cable bundle. Outkick The Coverage laid out the math on what pay TV sub losses means for ESPN: A loss of 3 million subscribers would leave ESPN with 86 million subscribers in 2017. That would be down roughly 15 million subscribers in the past five years alone. Given that ESPN makes right at $7 a month from every cable and satellite subscriber a year, that means ESPN's subscriber revenue would be $7.22 billion in 2017. Toss in an additional $1.8 billion or so in advertising revenue and ESPN's total revenue would be $9 billion. We don't know what the costs of running ESPN are -- employees, facilities, equipment, and the like have to cost a billion or more -- but it's fair to say that ESPN is probably still making money in 2017. Just nowhere near what they used to make. But those sports rights costs are going up and those subscriber revenue numbers are going down. So if we're very conservative and project that ESPN continues to lose 3 million subscribers a year -- well below the rate that they are currently losing subscribers -- then the household numbers would look like this over the next five years: 2017: 86 million subscribers 2018: 83 million subscribers 2019: 80 million subscribers 2020: 77 million subscribers 2021: 74 million subscribers At 74 million subscribers -- Outkick's projection for 2021 based on the past five years of subscriber losses -- ESPN would be bringing in just over $6.2 billion a year in yearly subscriber fees at $7 a month. At $8 a month, assuming the subscriber costs per month keeps climbing, that's $7.1 billion in subscriber revenue. Both of those numbers are less than the yearly rights fees cost. Uh oh. But that's just the short-term incremental impacts. The real question is how many consumers would actually purchase ESPN if the bundle truly disappeared and consumers were given the option to buy all content a la carte (which we suspect is the inevitable end game)? If we assume that 45mm households would be willing to purchase ESPN directly, at their current cost of $7 per month, then that would equate to roughly $3.8BN in revenue per year or about half of their $7.5BN in annual content costs...which we suspect is a slight problem for Disney. But, like it not, a la carte content purchases are the way of the future. While cable providers used to be incentivized to protect the "channel bundle" the advent of the internet and over-the-top content providers means that their true value offering to consumers is now in their broadband and not the content. Therefore, it's not terribly surprising that, as Bloomberg points out, new a la carte, streaming TV services are becoming very popular. AT&T Inc. set a price of $35 a month for a new online-streaming TV service with 100 channels or more, and the company may experiment with “a la carte” programming, giving customers choice on what channels they pay to watch. DirecTV Now will be priced to compete with two leading online TV providers -- Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV. PlayStation Vue starts at $39.99 for 60 channels and runs as high as $54.99 for more than 100 channels. Sling TV begins at $20 for 28 channels and goes as high as $40 for a 48-channel multi-screen package. The competition for cable-like online services is suddenly fierce. YouTube has been working for months on the paid live-TV streaming service, called Unplugged. Hulu LLC, which is co-owned by Fox, Disney, Comcast Corp. and Time Warner, will introduce its own service in the coming months, and Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. have explored the idea. Of course, ESPN isn't the only content company that has benefitted from the forced charity of the American consumer. We suspect the many other cable content providers are also about to face a very turblent transition as well.
* Viacom waiting for CBS to make offer; Viacom delivered presentation to CBS last Wednesday - CNBC, citing sources
(Reuters) - The top priorities of Viacom Inc's acting president and chief executive are improving key relations with affiliates as well as the struggling media company's internal culture, Bob Bakish told Reuters at the end of his first week on the job.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: McDonald's, Bank of New York Mellon, 3M, Constellation Brands and Viacom
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: McDonald’s, Bank of New York Mellon, 3M, Constellation Brands and Viacom
Viacom Inc.(VIAB) recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Telefonica S.A (TEF) to acquire Television Federal S.A. (Telefe).
Американская медиа-компания Viacom сообщила о подписании соглашения по приобретению аргентинского оператора телевизионных сетей Television Federal с целью расширения своего бизнеса в Аргентине и Латинской Америке. Заметим, что стоимость сделки составила $345 млн наличными.
Американская медиа-компания Viacom сообщила о подписании соглашения по приобретению аргентинского оператора телевизионных сетей Television Federal с целью расширения своего бизнеса в Аргентине и Латинской Америке. Заметим, что стоимость сделки составила $345 млн наличными.
Nov 15 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc, the owner of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, said on Tuesday it had bought Argentine broadcaster Television Federal SA (Telefe) from telecom carrier Telefonica SA for $345 million in cash.
(Reuters) - Possible sticking points have emerged ahead of negotiations between media companies CBS Corp and Viacom Inc about a potential merger, including who will be on the board of the combined company and what it would be called, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Nov 15 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc, the owner of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, said on Tuesday it would buy Argentine broadcaster Television Federal SA (Telefe) from telecom carrier Telefonica SA for $345 million in cash.
Nov 15 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc, the owner of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, said on Tuesday it bought Argentine broadcaster Television Federal SA (Telefe) for $345 million in cash.
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
Trump shapes White House, hires establishment figure, firebrand (Reuters) The Trump Effect: Rout in Global Bonds and Emerging Markets Intensifies (BBG); Government Bond Rout Deepens (WSJ); Dollar soars as U.S. yields spike; global shares divided (Reuters) Oil pinned near three-month lows as gloom grows over OPEC (Reuters) Thin Rank of Donors May Contend for Top Posts (WSJ) Trump’s Election Upends Agenda for Obama’s Last Foreign Trip (BBG) Britain building contacts with President-elect Trump: PM's spokeswoman (Reuters) How Trump’s Plans Could Be Stymied by Fiscal Hawks (BBG) China's Xi tells Trump cooperation is only choice (Reuters) China Pumps the Brakes on U.S. Dealmaking After Trump Win (BBG) China October crude oil output drops to lowest since May 2009 (Reuters) 'Utter devastation' after major quake, aftershocks hit New Zealand (Reuters) Double tectonic shifts may have teamed in New Zealand quake (Reuters) Election over, Congress pivots to lame-duck debate over spending (Reuters) Where Have All the Activists Gone? Down-Market (WSJ) UniCredit, SocGen decline to comment on merger rumor (Reuters) The end of the era of central bank independence (FT) American Apparel files for second bankruptcy in just over a year (Reuters) U.S. Two-Year Yield Tops 1%; Pimco Says Rates May Be Bottoming (BBG) Sterling slips back below $1.25 as dollar rallies (Reuters) Goldman Sees the Possibility of Stagflation Under Trump Presidency (BBG) Saudi central bank: hopes money rates to keep falling, not worried by U.S. (Reuters) It’s Not Just Deutsche Bank; German Banking Gloom in Charts (BBG) Global Warming Nears Tipping Point (BBG) Federal Reserve’s vice-chair readies markets for rate rise (FT) Samsung to buy car tech firm Harman for $8 billion, South Korea's biggest overseas deal (Reuters) Siemens to buy Mentor Graphics in $4.5 billion deal (Reuters) One Less Haven for Investors as Trump Damages Denmark’s Appeal (BBG) Trudeau Clears Path for Canada to Approve Kinder Morgan Pipeline (BBG) Overnight Media Digest WSJ - President-elect Donald Trump named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, a selection that suggests the Republican is interested in a more conventional approach to governing after his insurgent campaign. http://on.wsj.com/2f6vPnb - Central-bank moves are pulling down returns for government-run funds, making it difficult to meet mounting obligations to workers and retirees. Low rates are exacerbating existing cash problems. http://on.wsj.com/2eRYtHR - The presidency of Donald Trump is poised to usher in a new era for the U.S. economy that forecasters say could boost economic growth, bring higher interest rates and inflation, and a new set of potential risks including international trade wars. http://on.wsj.com/2ev9GCP - Iraqi troops pushed deeper into the country's second largest city on Sunday, securing densely populated areas as commanders said Islamic State resistance began to buckle. http://on.wsj.com/2foY7wa - As the battle for control of the $40 billion media empire spanning Viacom Inc and CBS Corp was escalating over the summer, the 30-year-old grandson of controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone secretly reached out to Viacom's embattled chief executive, Philippe Dauman, to begin settlement talks. http://on.wsj.com/2fNSXXq - Orange County, Southern California's cradle of conservatism, voted for Hillary Clinton, the first time the county supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1936 and signaling the state is now a political outlier. http://on.wsj.com/2fofE7R - The fund that manages Alaska's oil royalties made $300 million with a bet on rental homes, part of a drive to diversify investments that has helped offset the blow to revenue caused by the falling price of crude. http://on.wsj.com/2fQmbqk - Shareholders are set to vote Tuesday on a $1.2 billion deal for AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc to acquire Carmike Cinemas Inc. If that is cleared, and combined with AMC's $650 million purchase of Europe's Odeon & UCI Cinemas, AMC's theatrical footprint would expand to about 900 locations, from about 388. http://on.wsj.com/2fp2kjj - Volkswagen AG and its Audi AG luxury unit on Saturday confirmed that U.S. and European investigators are looking into fresh irregularities related to carbon dioxide emissions levels in certain Audi automatic-transmission vehicles. http://on.wsj.com/2fMpEVa FT Volkswagen AG confirmed over the weekend that US and European regulators have been investigating emissions irregularities in petrol-engine cars made by Audi, its luxury unit. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc profits would have been more than 700 million pounds lower last year if lucrative revenues from long-term service contracts had not been pulled forward, management is expected to tell shareholders this week. Lars Andersson, the dealmaker who helped Morgan Stanley earn up to $120 million for advising the U.S. agribusiness Monsanto Co on its $66 billion sale to Germany's Bayer AG in September, is leaving the U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley to launch a new boutique advisory firm. Tesco Bank ignored warning signs that its vulnerable software was being targeted by cyber criminals for months before thousands of its customers had money stolen a week ago, according to internet security experts NYT - President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday chose Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and a loyal campaign adviser, to be his White House chief of staff. nyti.ms/2fQMSeA - Trump appeared to soften some of his hardest-line campaign positions on immigration on Sunday, but he also restated his pledge to roll back abortion rights. nyti.ms/2fQQVaW - A powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 magnitude hit the east coast of New Zealand's South Island early Monday, causing tsunami waves and killing at least two people. nyti.ms/2fQRUrq - A penetrating silence enveloped Paris on Sunday morning as thousands of people across the city gathered for the anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attacks in France's postwar history. nyti.ms/2fQNEs - The town of Mountain View, Google Inc's home, is looking to increase its housing stock by as much as 50 percent - including as many as 10,000 units in the area around Google's main campus. (nyti.ms/2fQP7hV) - There is talk of Breitbart bureaus opening in Paris, Berlin and Cairo, spots where the populist right is on the rise, and a bigger newsroom is also expected in Washington. nyti.ms/2fQTuJX - Chelsea Manning has formally petitioned President Barack Obama to reduce the remainder of her 35-year sentence to the more than six years she has already served. nyti.ms/2fQTbPe Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL ** Rogers Communications Inc says it will cut down on the frustration of waiting for the cable guy by letting customers track their technician's location in real time as a service van makes its way to their home. The new service will be launched on Monday in Hamilton, Ontario. https://tgam.ca/2eSnOkR ** Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some of his senior cabinet ministers will spend Monday behind closed doors at Toronto's Shangri-La hotel, pitching investors on why they should park their billions in Canada. https://tgam.ca/2eSq8Z6 ** Canadian security experts are increasing their vigilance against activists' threats to the country's energy infrastructure, as civil-liberties advocates worry about the use of improper surveillance on peaceful opponents to major projects. https://tgam.ca/2eSqcIe NATIONAL POST ** Canadian doctors are increasingly medicating children with antidepressants and antipsychotics, suggests a new study. Experts worry this is the latest sign of using drugs to achieve "behavioural control". http://natpo.st/2eSkPcd ** Quebec's provincial Liberal Party has a reputation as a disciplined election-winning machine. But after holding power for 11 of the last 13 years, there are growing signs of decay in the party of Premier Philippe Couillard. http://natpo.st/2eSqUFr Britain The Times The former high court judge who will oversee RBS's compensation scheme for thousands of companies mistreated by its restructuring unit was misled by the bank in a court case over a business dispute. http://bit.ly/2fQ9ifQ The former finance director of Autonomy has been indicted in America over claims he worked with others to deceive Hewlett Packard and investors ahead of its $11 billion sale. http://bit.ly/2fQfeWl The Guardian GlaxoSmithKline has come top of a league table that monitors the availability of medicine in developing countries, with fellow UK drugmaker AstraZeneca making it into the top 10. http://bit.ly/2fQ9Kei The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland has warned that banks could pull operations out of Britain unless Theresa May draws up transitional arrangements for the country's exit from the EU. http://bit.ly/2fQ9Z9c The Telegraph Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, has been arrested for unpaid bills, it emerged, on the eve of a High Court deadline for him to provide evidence about why 6 million pounds is missing from BHS's balance sheet. http://bit.ly/2fQcCri Nissan Motor Co Ltd and other big Japanese manufacturers can only work in the UK if they are free to import parts from the EU, the country's ambassador said, warning the government not to slap taxes on the trade post-Brexit. http://bit.ly/2fQfTqR Sky News The former chairman of ARM Holdings, the British chip designer sold this year in a 24 billion pound deal, is making a rapid return to the technology sector with a new role at Ve Interactive, a fast-growing software company. http://bit.ly/2fQj8yv Energy firms have been accused of making "six times" the profit they admit to publicly , following an investigation into their finances. The claims are based on a report for Energy UK, which represents power firms, by respected accountancy firm PWC, according to the Sun newspaper. http://bit.ly/2fQfwMS The Independent The former bankrupt who bought BHS from Sir Philip Green for a pound has been reportedly arrested over unpaid tax. Dominic Chappell, 49, is alleged to have been arrested by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for failing to pay more than 500,000 pounds in tax on money from the doomed department store chain. http://ind.pn/2fQjx43
NEW YORK, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Shari Redstone, a controlling shareholder of Viacom Inc and CBS Corp, never wanted to separate the two media companies 10 years ago, she told attendees of The New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday.