8th August 2003

The FCC – Brought to you by Disney®

posted in `Roids |

by Daniel Berger and Lloyd Kaufman

For the last 30 years, I’ve been stressing in my movies that America, thinly veiled as Tromaville, has been taken over by the three elites- the bureaucratic elite (the government elite), the corporate elite, and the labor elite. What concerns me most right now is the alliance among the three elites to control the media, as illustrated by the recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling which deregulated local media outlets, allowing huge conglomerates like AOHell-Slime Warner and News Corp. to own even more TV stations and newspapers in all of the major U.S. cities and fucking over the independent media nationwide. The Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton Administrations all whittled down the FCC regulations, but this new ruling essentially does away with the last rules protecting the public against media monopolization. The ruling will further strengthen the already tight grip that the elites have not only on what we read, but what movies we see and what music we listen to. More specifically, it will allow television networks to own their own content, meaning fewer independent movies like Troma’s will appear on TV. And it means that conglomerates like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. can own multiple newspapers and television stations in the same market, creating a virtual monopoly on what a city sees and reads [1]. The end result is the furtherance of a cartel of media conglomerates all helping each other and owning each others’ parts.

Let’s take AOHell-Slime Warner as an example of the media’s national system of vertical integration. The company makes movies at their Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema studios (responsible for franchises such as Harry Potter, The Matrix, and The Lord of the Rings), then it promotes them with front-page stories in their rags “People” [2] and “Entertainment Weekly,” and even in their supposedly respectable Time Magazine, under the guise of being a “news story.” In fact, these are just glorified advertisements, and with the recent FCC ruling, this shameless promotion will expand further into the local media so that independent art will have no outlets, and all you’ll be able to read about is how Cameron Diaz likes “low-fat ice cream, cute guys, and kicking butt.” Even before the FCC ruling, the local media was not doing so well, with newspapers like The New York Post existing solely to promote its parent company News Corp.’s conservative political agenda and entertainment products. News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch is of course in favor of the ruling since it will allow him to make kabillions of dollars more, even though his own relatively new Fox News Network would never have existed if the anticompetitive FCC rulings were in place when he started out.

The media monopolies are not only pushing high-quality independent art out of the pages of America’s newspapers and magazines, they are also ignoring important world news. Millions of people are dying in civil warfare in Africa, but the mainstream media couldn’t care less, nor could the government elite. But when white people were dying in civil warfare in Bosnia, it was an important global issue for President Clinton and the media, even though the leaders of both sides were totalitarian, right-wing, anti-Semites [3]. Similarly, the mainstream media made Ralph Nader, who successfully fought major companies like General Motors as a consumer advocate, look like a buffoon during his 2000 Presidential campaign because he wouldn’t suck the media bigwigs’ collective dick like his opponents did. If Nader had won just 5% of the vote, the Green Party would have received federal funding and maybe it could make a dent in our joke of a two-party system. Interestingly, on my recent trip to the former USSR, I noticed that Russia was actually moving away from the elitism and state monopoly of the Communist regime, with several independent television stations and newspapers springing up all over the country. Meanwhile, America is starting to resemble the propaganda machine that we scoffed at during the Cold War, but instead of Communism, we’re promoting shit entertainment and elitist, backward-thinking political agendas.

Here’s another instance of the government helping the big conglomerates maintain control of the media. In order to obtain federal funding, libraries are required to use Internet filtering software. This software of course blocks sites such as Troma.com because of its supposedly “indecent” content, while allowing sites like NewLineCinema.com, which contains the same sex and violence as Troma’s website, because it’s part of AOHell-Slime Warner [4]. This practice is even more hypocritical when we consider that public libraries contain raunchy books like Portnoy’s Complaint – the government might as well go ahead and bring back book bans. The filtering software is already in use in government offices, and will soon undoubtedly spread to public universities, and then who knows where else. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has claimed that the internet will provide a huge variety of independent news content even if television and the print media become monopolized by the giants, yet according to a recent study in The Wall Street Journal, 95 percent of America’s internet news comes from the 5 major media companies’ websites, including cnn.com (AOLTW), cbs.com (Viacom), foxnews.com (News Corp.), and abc.com (Disney).

To return to the movie industry, it is already one big self-perpetuating media cartel, and you, the viewer, are the one being screwed. Not only is the conglomerate-controlled media force-feeding you “Top Ten” lists in magazines that confirm the arbitrary superiority of the mega-companies’ own movies (regardless of artistic merit [5]), but the movies themselves are all either sequels, remakes, or based on a bland literary source. You can’t have a new idea in Hollywood, because only variations on the pre-existing “accepted” ideas are allowed. And even the supposedly “original” idea usually wasn’t original, as with The Terminator. Artificially intelligent robots fighting with their human creators- gee, I wonder if James Cameron ever read any Philip K. Dick stories [6]? I know, you’re probably thinking, “I’m not Hollywood’s bitch, I watch independent films!” But that’s where you’re wrong. Most of the “independent” movies that make it into our cinemas are distributed by divisions of the major studios, who are in turn owned by bigger media conglomerates, so that the huge conglomerates, from Disney (Miramax) to News Corp. (Fox Searchlight) to AOHell-Slime Warner (Fine Line), are actually the gatekeepers of “independent” film. So the next time you want to rent Chocolat at Blockbuster (part of the Viacom/Paramount/CBS/ MTV conglomerate, which refuses to stock Troma films), think about the fact that the 5 bucks you’re paying for that faux-French piece of cinematic garbage is lining Mickey Mouse’s, and Viacom’s, coffers.

With the mainstream media cartel controlling so much of what we see, read and hear, we are getting to the point where we are only “free” to do what the powerful elites tell us to do, despite our supposed “Information Age.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. YOU can stop this trend and make independent art and media a part of America’s future instead of a bygone relic. So, Troma fans and young people around the world, here is Uncle Lloyd’s list of Do’s and Don’ts:

DON’T Go to shit Hollywood movies

DON’T Read shit newspapers, magazines and websites published by the media conglomerates

DON’T Buy shitty overpriced CD’s put out by the major labels

DO Read independently published newspapers, magazines and websites

DO Urge your Congressperson to vote against the FCC ruling

DO Support independent art

DO Everything possible to destroy the media conglomerates

If you follow this list, we can fight for “World Peace through Celluloid” together!

[1]… Wouldn’t that kick ass? Imagine turning on the local TV station to watch Bill O’Reilly and his No-Spin Zone (read: “I hate all minorities”) and then reading the neo-conservative (read: Neo-Nazi) columns of George F. Will in your local paper? Ah, a rich white man’s dream.

[2]… Studies are currently being conducted as to whether rhesus monkeys can read People magazine- clinical trials suggested yes, but we’re awaiting the full results.

… There are rumors that Slobadon Milosivec has signed a deal to host his own talk show on Fox News Network, but nothing’s been confirmed by the network brass.

[4]… Curiously, the filtering software also blocks cum_sluts_fucking_dead_animals.com. What gives

[5]… But that 50 Most Beautiful Men in People Magazine, now that’s a real list! Ashton Kutcher, what a dreamboat!

[6]… Cameron claims he has never read a Philip K. Dick story. But this is also a man who claims he knows how to write a screenplay. Have you seen Titanic?

There is currently one response to “The FCC – Brought to you by Disney®”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On January 31st, 2008, John Pannozzi said:

    Dude, Entertainment Weekly has given so many negative reviews to Time-Warner-related stuff, it’s not funny.

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