Upper 1 Percent Plan Total Control of Internet News

internet-censorship

By Wayne Madsen

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

With the impending demise of World Wide Web “net neutrality,” which has afforded equal access for website operators to the Internet, the one percent of billionaire investors are busy positioning themselves to take over total control of news reporting on the Internet.

In the latest move by billionaires to monopolize the Internet, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and billionaire Nick Berggruen announced the creation of World Post, a news and views website that will be officially launched at the World Economic Forum conclave of one percenters in Davos, Switzerland.

Among the announced contributors to World Post are Microsoft owner Bill Gates, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The move by Huffington and Berggruen follows the creation of the “investigative” news website First Look, Inc. by PayPal’s billionaire founder Pierre Omidyar. First Look plans to distribute the remaining cache of National Security Agency (NSA) documents originally leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to journalist and lawyer Glenn Greenwald.

Another billionaire who has joined the rush to seize part of the Internet is hedge fund tycoon George Soros. Soros has backed two media operations, Pro Publica, which promised to disclose many Snowden documents but has not followed through, and Project Syndicate, which paves the Internet with editorials backing all of Soros’s global initiatives.

Greenwald and his associates have published only one percent of the estimated 50,000 documents downloaded by Snowden from classified NSA databases. In a recent interview by Israel’s Channel Ten, Greenwald made it very clear that he would release more documents concerning NSA surveillance of Israeli leaders based on what the Obama administration does with regard to convicted and jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. There are increasing calls for Pollard’s release from prison and permission for him to move to Israel.

Greenwald stated to Israeli television that the slow pace of document release would continue and that he agreed with Israel on the issue of Pollard: “I think you are absolutely right to contrast the Jonathan Pollard case with revelations of American spying on their closest allies within the Israeli government, because it does underlie, underscore exactly the hypocrisy that lies at the center of so much of what the U.S. government does.”

Pollard is serving a life sentence in the Butner, North Carolina, federal penitentiary for disclosing a cache of documents that resulted in a number of U.S. intelligence assets in the Middle East being compromised to Mossad. The Mossad approached the U.S. assets and offered them a deal: cooperate with Mossad or risk being outed to their governments as CIA assets. In either case, the assets faced a certain death sentence: disclosure of work for Israel or the United States would have been met with the same fate of execution as spies.

A number of American journalists are now coming out in support of clemency for Pollard to placate Israel over the NSA spying reports leaked by Greenwald. First Look’s initial operating budget is $250 million. Along with Greenwald, journalists such as The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill; Dan Froomkin, formerly with The Washington Post; and Entertainment Weekly.com’s Bill Gannon jumped ship to sign on to First Look. The hiring of an entertainment editor who once worked for Lucas Films, the producer of Star Wars movies, raised eyebrows among those who believed Greenwald and Omidyar intended First Look to be a no-nonsense news operation. It now seems certain that First Look will be no different than Disney Corporation’s running of ABC News.

There have been some outrageous examples of corporate parents spiking stories by their news divisions in order to avoid bad publicity. In 2006, ABC News was pressured by Disney and its then-CEO Michael Eisner to kill an investigation of pedophiles being employed by Disney World in Orlando. The end of net neutrality will stymie and possibly eliminate investigative reporting on the Internet as we now know it.

The formation of the two newest media companies follows Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ acquisition of The Washington Post. It is believed that Bezos will begin to streamline the newspaper with more focus on Internet distribution than the print run.

Under President Obama, the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission have done little to advance the cause of net neutrality. In fact, the regulatory agencies have gone the other way in order to facilitate the creation of a multi-tiered Internet that will permit high bandwidth access in a “pay to play” scheme. In other words, only billionaires like Omidyar, Berggruen, Bezos, and others will have access to the top tier of the Internet to distribute varnished “news” reports.

Those media organizations without deep pockets will be relegated to the slower tiers of the Internet, sharing limited bandwidth with pornography, quack medicine, and get-rich-quick scam operators.

Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting and Virgin Media, formerly owned by Sir Richard Branson, have been at the forefront of establishing a “two-speed Internet.”

It is painfully clear that the top one percent are feverishly engaged in an orgy of carving up the Internet after the collapse of net neutrality for the benefit of corporatism and oligarchic control over news dissemination.

It is noteworthy that Obama’ old friend from Columbia and Harvard and his first FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, has just joined a new firm after offering only lukewarm support for net neutrality. Genachowski now works for the eternally dubious Carlyle Group.

There is little wonder why one of World Post’s first contributors will be Google’s Schmidt, the frequent habitué of the Davos and Bilderberg secret conclaves of financial and political vipers who run the world. The journalists who have joined the frenzy to climb into the one percenters’ Internet top tier deserve nothing but condemnation from their peers.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report.

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4 Responses to Upper 1 Percent Plan Total Control of Internet News

  1. Nolan says:

    I somewhat have an issue with the term neoliberalism, just call it what it is, crony capitalism or corporatism. Using the term neoliberalism gives credibility to a corrupt behavior. It also confuses the discussion because there is no consensus on what it actually means,and since it’s often associated(wrongfully) with libertarianism or Austrian economics(both of which oppose crony capitalism and corporatism), and both of which I am a firm believer.

    Psychopaths do well in any political or economic system and in every industry everywhere in the world because they are willing to lie, cheat, steal, and kill to obtain their objectives, whereas honest people play by the rules. To my knowledge, no one has ever come up with a realistic or effective way way to deal with psychopaths in civilization.

    As for income inequality, neither capitalist nor communist systems have been able to deal with this effectively, though I do agree with you that income inequality fosters unethical behavior in some people. Capitalist countries have proven to raise standards of living for everyone while insufficiently addressing the human emotion of envy. Keep in mind that billionaires raise the standard of living of the society in which they live by taking risk, creating jobs, and investing in businesses that provide real goods and services that benefit everyone. The complaints about income inequality has everything to do with the emotion of envy and nothing to do with real standards of living. Communism(i.e. socialism, big government, etc.) just keeps everyone poor, look no further than the former USSR, Cuba, Mao’s China, N. Korea and Vietnam. If the bottom 99% in this country want to complain about the rich and their lot in life, they should first look at the lives of those in the aforementioned countries, then reconsider their complaints. Economies as a whole are not a zero sum game where there is only a limited amount of wealth, poor are not poor because the rich stole all the wealth.(Note: I’m pretty damn poor myself, but I don’t blame the rich)

    • I see your points, but though Neoliberalism may be an imperfect term it’s still the most comprehensive and accurate word that describes the agenda of the ruling elite. Though I have not researched the ways different societies have dealt with psychopaths in the past, it would make sense for societies in which governing authority was limited to smaller communities to have more safeguards against giving power to psychopaths (and to have a better understanding of which individuals were potentially psychopathic in the first place). My view towards income inequality is that it is okay within limits, but part of the problem is that we are far past the point of rational or reasonable inequality and that it’s not sustainable economically or ecologically. A few rare billionaires may create jobs and raise living standards to a certain point. Eventually the most “successful” reach a level in which the value of labor diminishes in relation to the fixed capital of automation and in order to retain their position they resort to “rent-seeking” to attain monopoly privileges, often hybridizing with government to avoid the need to compete.
      As for the majority of billionaires, in the words of George Monbiot:

      “Rich lists are stuffed with people who either inherited their money or who made it through rent-seeking activities: by means other than innovation and productive effort. They’re a catalogue of speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loan sharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate. Looters, in short. The richest mining barons are those to whom governments sold natural resources for a song. Russian, Mexican and British oligarchs acquired underpriced public assets through privatisation, and now run a toll-booth economy. Bankers use incomprehensible instruments to fleece their clients and the taxpayer. But as rentiers capture the economy, the opposite story must be told.

      …The financial sector has become a job-destroying, home-breaking, life-crushing machine, which impoverishes others to enrich itself. The tighter its grip on politics, the more its representatives must tell the opposite story: of life-affirming enterprise, innovation and investment, of brave entrepreneurs making their fortunes out of nothing but grit and wit.

      …In 2010, the richest 1% in the US captured an astonishing 93% of that year’s gain in incomes. In the same year, corporate chief executives made, on average, 243 times as much as the median worker (in 1965 the ratio was 10 times lower). Between 1970 and 2010, the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality, rose in the US from 0.35 to 0.44: an astounding leap.”

  2. Nolan says:

    Luckily, not all billionaires have identical values and belief systems. They are definitely not all on the same page on every issue. I’m sure there are a few billionaires that like to read alternative viewpoints on the internet, I take comfort in the fact that no singe person or group controls everything. Hopefully,the “good” billionaires can nudged into action on this issue.

    • True, not all billionaires are in agreement on all issues, but it would make sense for most of them to agree on policies which secure their positions as billionaires (ie. neoliberalism). The system which creates disparity between the top 1% and everyone else not only fosters sociopathic behavior among those most driven to succeed, but tends to elevate genuine psychopaths as well. This is evident in the behavior of companies like Monsanto and JP Morgan. However, there are rare rebels such as Kim.com who pose a threat to the system and are treated as such.

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