“Whoever controls the media controls the mind,” said the poet Jim Morrison, lead singer for the Doors in the late 1960s.
“Who are the Brain Police?” asked Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention is his 1966 album Freak Out.
Those quotes and so many more like them were just part of that drug-addled mayhem of the Sixties and Seventies, right? All that stuff that rose up in rabid opposition to the Establishment and threatened the status quo? The delirium that seized our young people for a brief few years before all those wild creatures were brought back into the corral or put to sleep, subsumed by free enterprise, the clarion call of consumerism, and the harsh light of reality? Was that all it was?
Now, a half century later, we look around at the world we have created, that which we bequeath with a grimace, a shrug of the shoulders, and no small amount of shame to our children and grandchildren, and we wonder: why didn’t we pay attention to the truth when it was presented to us?
Ask yourself this: if you had been assured back then that today ninety percent of all the radio and television stations in the United States, more than nine out of every ten of them, would be owned by less than a dozen corporations, would you have been concerned? Would you have said, “No, that can’t be right. These are public airwaves. They belong to the people. They are there for the public benefit. It is critical information infrastructure. The essential stuff of a free and democratic society.” Would you have believed it?
If you were told that Gannett and Sinclair and a couple of other obscure corporate entities one day in the not too distant future would own virtually every remaining newspaper in the country, and that they would be shrinking them to pale copies of their once vigorous selves, would you have said to yourself, “This sounds like the ravings of the hippie leftists.”
Oh, but it’s true. A handful of companies now own the Fourth Estate. Lock, stock, and barrel. Every reporter, every talking head, every scribe, and especially all those radio talk show hosts, those ranting commentators posing as journalists on cable television, very nearly all of them are telling you what a very few, very powerful people want you to hear.
Are they the Brain Police? Maybe. Are they who controls the media? Certainly. They do.