Tim Bryce – How politics feeds the beast
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower coined the expression “The Military Industrial Complex” during his farewell address to the nation. In essence, it was used to warn of the alliance between the military and the massive defense industry supporting it. It is a recognition that war makes for good business, and such a cozy relationship encourages unending military conflicts to support the American economy.
As big as the military industrial complex is, a Media Industrial Complex (MIC) has also emerged which has a powerful influence on the direction of this country.
Without American politics, the news media would be a mere shadow of itself. Yet, over in the United Kingdom, the Queen just replaced one Prime Minister (David Cameron) with another (Theresa May) at no commercial expense. Formal elections will be called following the dissolution of Parliament and will take less than a month and a half to perform. Canada’s campaign season lasts approximately ten weeks. Mexican campaigns run just 90 days, and Japan is less than two weeks.
American political campaigns can also be costly. For example, according to estimates, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign alone will likely cost a whopping $2 billion. In the United Kingdom, political parties can only spend $30 million in the year before an election, which is peanuts by comparison. Elsewhere there are limits on political ads.
So, the MIC is fueled by enormous campaign finances. Without it, they would evaporate and wouldn’t have the clout they currently enjoy.
Some people naively believe the press represents the voice of the people. Not true. Prior to and including America’s Revolutionary War, newspapers were always an organ of one political party or another. Like any corporation, news organizations are more in the business of making money as opposed to disseminating accurate and unbiased information.
They are an integral member of the “Washington Triad,” which includes politicians, lobbyists, and the media. All three scratch each other’s backs. It’s not about what is best for the country, but how each party can profit from the others. This is what caused radio commentator Laura Ingraham at the recent Republican convention to admonish the main street media, “America is on to you.”
In the media’s case, their responsibility is two-fold: control the public by spinning the news, thereby framing elections, and protect selective politicians from scandal and wrongdoing, particularly those who support the Triad. Outsiders who present a threat to the Triad, such as Donald Trump, are viciously attacked.
Although the presidential electoral cycle generates the most money during its two year cycle, even the off-years, involving congressional and local races, generate substantial money for the media. We are not just talking about millions of dollars, but literally billions of dollars.
According to the Pew Research Center on Journalism & Media, “Digital News Revenue: Fact Sheet” (June 15, 2016) –
“In 2015, $59.6 billion was spent on any digital advertising, including on search engines, social media, news or any other kind of website. This is up 20% from 2014, according to estimates by eMarketer. This growth rate is slightly higher than in the previous three years, when annual growth hovered around 15-17%.”
“Digital now accounts for one-third (33%) of all ad spending ($183 billion) on any platform. That represents a slightly greater share for digital than in 2014, when it accounted for 28% of the $175 billion in total ad spending.”
Remember, this does not include print, television, or any other forms of advertising. Although the military industrial complex leads in terms of spending, 2015 was $598.5 billion, the media industrial complex is quickly gaining ground, thanks in large part to political advertising.
So, why don’t we reduce the American electoral cycle? Simple, the Media Industrial Complex will not allow it to happen.
Keep the Faith!