Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anybody can play

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear."

The classic opening from the Outer Limits comes to mind reading this Washington Post piece: Islamic Group Urges Muslims to Invest in Media.

Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help change anti-Muslim attitudes around the world, ministers from Islamic countries heard at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Information ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest Islamic body, said Islam faced vilification after the September 11 attacks, when 19 Arabs killed nearly 3,000 people in U.S. cities in 2001. ...

"Muslim investors must invest in the large media institutions of the world, which generally make considerable profits, so that they have the ability to affect their policies via their administrative boards," OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told the gathering in the Saudi city of Jeddah.


The Organization of the Islamic Conference may be the first international body to openly suggest that the key to influencing American policy is not to open larger embassies or hire more lobbyists, but to buy up the media. And make money into the bargain. But wait. What good would it do the OIC? If the media were the impartial reporters of the truth they declare themselves to be then OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu's suggestions would be an exercise in futility. Is there not a "firewall" between editorial and corporate?


Blogger Papa Bear said...

By all means, let them buy up the old media. Just when they are sinking into irrelevance and bankruptcy

9/13/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Muslims are seeking to emulate Jewish dominance of the American media markets in order to supplant them.

Similar to how CAIR and other groups have now started extensive lobbying on behalf of Muslims and ME foreign policy in DC, emulating the AIPAC model.

If they can link to the Petrodollars piling up in the ME, they have their own set of fatcat investors with tremendous clout.

If Muslim-Americans have the same right to make investments aimed at influencing Americans, reordering our foreign policy to serve their overseas causes as Jewish-Americans do, or Cuban is hard to single out Muslims for special objection.

But media sector dominance by one small group is bad for the majority of Americans. An ethnic cause group controlling the direction of our foreign policy in specific areas is also bad for mainstream Americans. We would do well to recognize that special interests in control of certain national institutions and policy that should serve the common good is bad no matter who the special interest group is. - the ethanol lobby, the Muslims, the Jews, the casino Indian lobby, the Cubans, or the IT H-1B visa Lobby.

9/13/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...


Muslims are seeking to emulate Jewish dominance of the American media markets in order to supplant them.

The content won't change a bit, but at least the new owners won't be accused of being self-hating Holocaust-forgetters.

9/13/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The problem Islam faces isn't a matter of media image. No matter what the camera angle is, al-Qaeda and Iran are effectively mutilating the face of Islam. If Muslims want Americans to be less suspicious, they could try telling their fellow coreligionists to stop declaring "DEATH TO AMERICA". Just a broad hint.

The fact is, there is greater Muslim outrage against America (which has fought on behalf of Muslims...) and Denmark (whose cartoons were very lame) than there is against India for the atrocities in Gujarat and Tamil Tigers for massacres against Muslims. The net effect is to convey to non-Muslim audiences that Muslims prefer us to be abusive, vicious torturers who might condescend into murder if we are feeling nice. When we are told that no matter how nice we are we are the enemy, and we see that Muslims don't terrorize people who use torture but do terrorize people who are nice to them, the net effect is to increase hostility against Islam.

Adults teach children how to behave through incentive, disincentive, and example. Rather than trying to imitate anti-Jewish fantasies of Jewish conspiracies, Muslims may wish to consider that they are training non-Muslims to be the most evil monsters they can imagine. It is as if the Islamists are trying to resurrect Vlad Tepes...

9/13/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Without arguing about who "owns" the media, the question is why such a thing should be on the auction block. And if the confluence between media and money is unavoidable, then news outlets should have a moral stature identical to any other company which can be bought or sold. No higher in moral worth than Taco Bell or Halliburton. That's not to say they are criminal any more than to claim Taco Bell is a conspiracy. But once we admit these transactions can take place and that the OIC or the Jewish lobby can participate in them, then the special and quasi-constitutional position of the modern press is placed in doubt.

9/13/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/13/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

It appears that those wielding weapons in Islamic circles don't give a hoot about winning hearts and minds. So it follows that this is clearly the mind of the "average Joe - moderate" Muslim apologist wanting the power of the press to run cover for their more extreme brethren.

Kind of like the MSM here running interference for the sodomists, abortionist, obstructionists, etc, etc.

Anyway, let them invest. I don't know how it could get any worse WRT truth and balance in reporting events.

It has always been obvious to me that the importance of an educated and INFORMED electorate was a prerequisite to maintaining a democratic government. Seems like as our electorate gets more educated, the other factor on the graph - possibly the multiplier - being informed, takes a nosedive.

How important is it in today’s world that we hear the right voice? I think it's possible that the best Rx for most of us would be to take control back from the media giants by getting up out of the recliner and unplugging the set.

No more Outer Limits for you!

9/13/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

alexis wrote:

When we are told that no matter how nice we are we are the enemy, and we see that Muslims don't terrorize people who use torture but do terrorize people who are nice to them, the net effect is to increase hostility against Islam.

But Muslims don't terrorize people who are nice to them. For instance, they let those nice FOX news reporters they detained for Q'u'r'a'n study go free after they converted to Islam. But crusader Bush is a committed Christian so he is the eternal enemy of the Prophet(pbuh).

It is as if the Islamists are trying to resurrect Vlad Tepes...

We saw in the Second Lebanese War that six years of (mostly) peace is anathema to Islamists, they need open warfare to justify their (hopefully short) existence.

9/13/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard, I get your point. We have a dilemma with respect to media companies. We have these sometimes hugely profitable entities, that see how various media "assets" of music, news, live entertainment, porn, advertising medium, canned movies/production shows, direct sales (Home shopping network, Food channel, real estate channel etc.) and political advocacy can be combined as broadband products..even a way for a much larger company with financial and technical core focus (like GE) can diversify into a new profitable market.

That is the private side. Media is hot. Immune to foreign competition, very profitable, new niches opening up all the time, fortunes can be made with the right product offered (American Idol), capable of mega growth and high ROE. So everyone on Wall Street is looking for the "right" media investment.

The other side of the media issue, as you stated obliquely - is it is a vast market that while being subject to some regulation on "public airwaves" - is free of them on cable, newsprint, satellite..and has a special privileged place in the Constitution that is denied to poor Taco Bell, which cannot say whatever it wants about its *shudder* gourmet food.

That gives media something that comes on top of normal companies enjoy from money and the clout of gives them societal power pure and straight without money's indirect role. But on top of that, it gives direct fundraising capability to the politically aware, and is now even more coveted because only the media is allowed to circumvent McCain-Feingold limits due again to that wonderful 1st Amendment sanctuary.

And it is that power being able to be purchased directly by those that want to pull the strings of manipulating, influencing, or educating society as a whole or specific groups. And their 1st Amendment absolute right to do things that directly affect the future prospects of other firms or politicans -untrammeled - that make some power seekers want to buy and trade media properties to enable those power and influence goals....

You probably heard that Leftist Air America, existing only as a political counter to conservative talk radio, declared bankruptcy. Actually, they have been bankrupt a while but have been kept afloat not by seekers of profitable, surviving business that makes capitalistic sense - but seekers of political advantage. Same as certain blogs deemed useful to invest in by Soros...not that he expects a traditional investment scenario based on financial return - he seeks clout.

And of course the New York Times just announced, as expected, it was defying business principles that apply to all other non-media companies and would be selling off the TV chains which give the NYTimes it's best return on equity, to shore up it's barely profitable print media ...because the Sulzberger Family is far more interested in clout and reshaping America to their preferences than in money making.

OK, that is the situation, but I don't know how America can fix it, given the market and the 1st Amendment being at odds through conflicting with one another. As well as figure out how the Anglosphere can achieve the overriding goal that communications in a society are so critical to the general interest they should not be in the hands of a few owners that buy and sell them as commodities in conflict with general marketplace principles. Which is where the Muslims seeking to get the media clout the Jews have comes in, just as the investors of Air America had policy influence paramount on their minds when they created Air America. Or on the flip side, we have that critical societal goal undermined by the bottom line of the media owner and key player faction that eschews clout for traditional money-making ambitions. Which has led to the typical American purient dumbed down trash that marketers determine best appeals to their target audience.

What we have now though, in a major ideological conflict with radical Islam, is a nation that is handcuffed by the private, fragmented nature of national media such that it cannot send a consistent communications message out to it's own citizens or the world - purely reliant on the whims of owners that may be indifferent to the need for the message, or seeking to undermine it or alter it to serve the interests of a small group of individuals.

9/13/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think an underbelly of this is that there is an ongoing drumbeat in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, where THEIR media is telling them how important OUR media is. To me, this is a subtle effort by Saudi media types to piggyback themselves up onto the shoulders of CNN et al in the eyes of the Saudi royals and citizens.

I, for one, keep telling them that our networks and newspapers are steadily steadily losing viewership, power and authority, but the message doesn't seem to be getting through. I think perhaps Arab journalists don't WANT to believe that American journalists are losing power, just when the Arabs feel like they are starting to GAIN power (i.e., al-Jazeera).

But I agree. Let them buy all our media they want to. They'll still be morally, ethically and financially bankrupt, no matter if it's an American oil tick or an Arab one that owns them. And no one will pay any attention to them in the future, no matter who owns them.

9/13/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger HK Vol said...

Let them buy up all the big newspapers - LA Times, Washington Post, NY Times, etc. For tremendously high prices I hope. When they then infiltrate the pages with reports and editorials of an obvious slant, readers and advertisers will migrate to new papers, etc. (who had heard of Fox News 15 years ago?). As long as the US allows competition, then all we've done is take a bunch of their money at hugely inflated prices relative to the value of a printing building and presses that aren't doing any printing....

9/14/2006 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

cedarford wrote:

You probably heard that Leftist Air America, existing only as a political counter to conservative talk radio, declared bankruptcy. Actually, they have been bankrupt a while but have been kept afloat not by seekers of profitable, surviving business that makes capitalistic sense - but seekers of political advantage.

Brian Maloney, an expert on Err America if there ever was one, says the bankruptcy announcement was a ploy to depress Air America's value so it will be cheaper for one party to buy all the pieces now and lock out any other bidders. But don't pin too much importance on this one "network", the Left now has a small foothold in the market with other, independent talent. But no matter what they do, they will always be also rans, there's no Left version of Rush out there to blaze new trails.

9/14/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

teresita -

Speaking of ploys, Lipscomb is saying that it almost seems like Pinch Sulzberger is using every business or news hiring and firing and editorial decision over the last 7 years to be driving NYTImes equity down in the dirt so he can buy out other members of his Sulzberger family with a hostile buyout maneuver.

Like with Brian Maloney's also somewhat tongue in cheek saying that is the reason Err America has been so mismanaged and berift of talent - is just such a hostile takeover there.

9/14/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

It is almost humorous. Imagine, if you will, the Arabs buying a major network and discovering how much they depend on sex to sell. Imagine what would happen if we started re-broadcasting the stuff to their home countries. See the riots.

He who lies down with dogs, shall arise with fleas.

9/14/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

A hilarious situation with no solution. The Russians had TASS and PRAVDA, which were laughing stocks evin in Russia during the cold war, it is plain that govt. control would be worse than the present situation. What would be the result if the first amendment were repealed? I have no notion, except the tort lawyers might cheer.

9/14/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger luagha said...

Hilariously enough, this is a Reuters story. And Reuters is Arab-owned. Notice how they disclose the arabic stake in Rupert Murdoch's news conglomeration, but don't mention their own in the slightest.

9/14/2006 10:23:00 PM  

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