Shadows of Liberty (2012) Movie Script

Temperatures are generally
in the upper 50's
to around the 60 degree mark
and they'll be rising.
Thanks, I'm Bill Griffith.
We have an update on that crash
that was causing tie ups on
Southbound 163 near the 15.
We spoke to the DEP's
Deputy Commissioner moments ago
and he says that this
main burst simply because it's old,
100 years old to be exact.
Also good to know,
I think I remember the Roeblings
built the Brooklyn Bridge
125 years ago.
In this country,
the most powerful country on earth,
is is so actually difficult
to get information,
especially outside our borders.
Not to mention what's going
on inside this country.
Four hours and 20 minutes ago
at 9:42 PM Eastern Time
that would have put it at five.
Public information,
the news we rely on to learn about
what's happening in the world,
to learn about one another,
is in the hands basically
of commercial enterprises.
And agreement
on health care is close,
- but support could still crumble.
- Giant media corporations like
Time Warner and News Corporation,
Disney, and so forth,
they get to decide what is news,
what is newsworthy,
and what is not newsworthy.
This is America,
how many of you people want to
pay for your neighbor's mortgage?
What the press is
pushing is distortions,
lies, lack of balance.
I have 900 channels on my TV
but 700 of them are selling the...
The American public
knows far more information about
sex scandal, celebrities, Hollywood,
than they know about
economics and the environment.
That's by design.
When was the last time, Governor,
that you were at a
Wendy's and had a Frosty?
Make no mistake about it,
it's to control people's ideas,
it's to control their imagination.
They wouldn't say it in that way
but they would edit my pieces,
they would push me in
different directions,
they would turn down stories
that were more critical.
We're in a profound
crisis of democracy.
You can't choke off discourse
and have a free society.
This is what you get
with drunkard kneeling,
it's... it's gonna happen.
These are stories
you will not be told
on radio, in newspapers,
or on television.
A clash between two worlds,
big media corporations
spinning public
perception for profit
versus the defenders of truth
who stand for liberty
and democracy.
And that's our news for tonight.
I'd often been asked if there
was any pressure on me
because of the kinds
of stories that I do.
I was always asked,
"Are there some stories
that you can't do?
Are there sometimes
that you're not allowed
to report on certain things
because of advertisers?"
And my answer is always,
"Absolutely not."
Two decades after
the end of the Vietnam War
the United States lifted the
trade embargo against Vietnam.
And CBS chief correspondent
Roberta Baskin
looked into one corporation's
search for cheaper labor markets.
The premise for the story
was the fact that Nike
were subcontracting
to these factories
on the other side of the planet,
but they weren't really
taking responsibility
for how the shoes were made.
And I asked to follow the trail.
In August of 1996
Baskin and a CBS News film crew
flew to Vietnam to investigate
the Nike factories.
We were able to kind of
peek through the keyhole but...
We were not allowed inside.
We were barred.
One of the things that really
shocked me was to discover that
the word Nike had become a verb.
The word Nike meant
to abuse your employees.
There were incidences
of physical abuse,
women who had their
mouths taped shut
for talking on the line.
15 women who were
systematically hit
with a top part of a Nike shoe
around the face and the neck.
It was this disparity
between seeing
the corporate image
that the company sells
and the reality in these factories.
"Just do it, or else."
Roberta Baskin's news report
about Nike abuses
was broadcast on CBS News
television across the United States.
CBS was very pleased,
submitting it for prestigious awards.
For me what was really...
exciting about it was that
the phones rang off the hook.
There was picketing of Nike towns
across the country.
There were boycotts that were being
organized by students on campuses.
We are not a Nike school.
We are not a Nike school.
I realized that it had
touched them kinda nerve.
Nike's labor abuses
reached the media
and the shoe giant came forward
to limit the damages.
We don't have abusive labor
conditions in our factories,
and really never have.
With Nike in denial,
CBS News commissioned Baskin
to do a follow up investigation
working with a
Vietnamese labor group.
Roberta's work was mainly about
the corporal punishment.
We helped add another dimension
to the problems,
the wages and the excessive
amount of overtime.
Nike's not the good guys.
Even though they've done a lot
of commercials saying they are,
but people at that moment realize
that they are not
part of a good team.
As Baskin was putting together
the updated news report
on Nike's labor practices
she received unexpected news
from inside CBS.
I got a call from
my executive producer
who said,
"The story is not gonna air,
it's been taken off schedule.
There's some sort of
deal being made
between Nike and CBS News
for the upcoming Winter Olympics."
The air went out of my soul.
CBS News was paying an enormous
amount of money for the rights.
And so by definition, they would be
seeking out commercial sponsors
who would pour
lots of money into it
so that they could recoup
the millions that they were paying
for the rights of the Olympics.
The 18th Olympic Winter Games
on CBS.
As CBS revealed
their Olympic coverage,
the deal between Nike and CBS
was plain to see.
The women's super-G...
after correspondent
are wearing these
Nike jackets on the air
with a little CBS
something or other,
you really couldn't read it,
in a big swoosh on the shoulder.
Is also scheduled on
the adjacent race course.
That was the deal.
Nike had convinced CBS News to turn
it's correspondents into billboards.
It was heartbreaking.
The CBS News correspondents
were furious.
They had to wear the Nike harkus
whenever they appeared on air.
It's just not done.
Baskin wrote a memo
requesting CBS management
to take the Nike logo
off the correspondents.
CBS had crossed
this incredible line.
How do you trust serious stories
when you're seeing the reporter
wearing a bunch of logos?
Immediately the President of
CBS News responded saying,
"This was a breach of
professional etiquette."
It meant that I should shut up.
How dare I raise a question
about the integrity of CBS News.
After questioning
the deal with Nike
Baskin was removed
from her position
as the chief correspondent
of CBS News.
It wasn't an ordinary transfer,
a change,
it was a demotion.
And it was a demotion
that was ...uh...
to send a message.
I ended up asking if I
could get out of my contract.
The president responded, "Great."
They were, you know,
happy to see me go.
Hi, Mr. Southron.
- I'm Roberta Baskin from CBS News.
- Yeah?
- Yeah?
- I wanted to talk to you about the problems...
To this day
CBS network has buried
both of Baskin's reports
on the Nike sweatshops.
These are the kind of
fundamental conflicts of interest
that result in censorship,
that result in a narrow debate,
and they come directly
from the fact
that we have made these
historical choices
to allow corporations to
own and control our media.
Media today is dominated
by a handful of corporations.
This is a far cry from the
original ideals of the country.
As Americans fought for
independence from imperial rule,
the revolution found
it's inspiration
in an unexpected place.
The United States was in many
senses founded by a journalist,
Tom Paine,
who called Americans to revolution
against a British Empire
that was thought to be
completely unbeatable.
This country was really founded
on the concept that
if you gave citizens
the information they needed
they could govern themselves.
The founders of the United States
gave citizens the fundamental
right to a free press.
A revolution
for freedom of information.
One of the primary reasons
for freedom of the press
was that it was the only way
that people outside of power
could keep the government
from becoming an empire.
Stop militarism,
stop the corruption,
the secrecy, and the cronyism.
That was the function
of freedom of the press.
There is a reason
why our profession,
is the only one explicitly
protected by the U.S. Constitution.
'Cause we're supposed to be holding
those in power accountable,
asking the critical questions.
One of the first steps
of the new government
was to encourage the distribution
of independent news
through subsidies.
Read all about it!
This was actually America's
revolutionary contribution.
The genius of the subsidies
is that
it did not discriminating,
it's the content of the newspapers.
The abolitionist movement
didn't start in Congress,
it started in those freely
distributed weekly newspapers.
And that was really
where we began to address
the most fundamental sins
of the American experiment.
It's simply information
that is power.
It's information that frees us,
because when people get information
they then can decide what to do.
Today the founding vision
of America's journalistic independence
has become deeply distorted.
Media is the conversation
we have as a society.
It's the way we learn
about the world,
it's the way we learn
about one another.
We see the range of public debate
constrained because there may be
many things that citizens of a
democratic society need to know about
that private corporations may not
be interested in telling them.
The International Silver Company.
Just as newspapers had been
the driving force behind democracy,
the great hope of the 20th century
was the birth of mass media.
We think Google and
Facebook is a big deal,
imagine what it must have been
like in rural Kansas
to suddenly be able to listen
to a broadcast
from New York City every night.
And now we move down
45th Street to the Music Box Theatre.
You people must have faith.
You must not be stampeded
by rumors or guesses.
Together we can not fail.
It was apparent to
people at that time that
the control over this medium
was going to be a form
of social control.
With advertising
money pouring in,
corporate networks
pressured Congress to uphold profit
as the basis for
American broadcasting.
Your cigarette taste.
This was publicly owned property,
and lots of American protested
the we would turn over
this scarce resource,
these extraordinary airways,
to a handful of private
commercial interests
to make money by selling
advertising to us.
From Hollywood,
the Rolly's cigarette program.
In 1934 Congress passed
the Communications Act,
sealing the future of
America's broadcasting
as a for-profit system.
these huge empires,
were built upon the gift for free
of monopoly rights to
government property.
It was an extraordinary
corporate welfare
that boggles the mind.
With broadcasting set up
as a commercial enterprise,
government regulations
were put into place
to prevent monopolies.
There was a cross party agreement
that commercial activity would
be regulated by the government.
No individual should have
such dominance of our media
that they could effectively
define the discourse.
The great transition came in
the election of Ronald Reagan
as President of the United States.
Government is not
the solution to our problem,
government is the problem.
Ronald Reagan believed
the answer to any concern,
any question as regards how
to create a good media system
was to get government
out of the way.
In order to
restructure media ownership
Reagan removed regulations.
Driving the bears back
into permanent hibernation,
we're going to turn the bull loose.
That whole model
was the idea that if you removed
all controls and regulations
and allowed the free market rip,
then everything would be fine,
everything would be wonderful.
In reality what it
does is it allows
a handful of giant
corporations to come in
and gobble up everything.
And these conglomerates don't see
journalism as actually
being central and essential
to the functioning of a democracy.
Their main interest
is making profit.
One merger symbolized
the takeover of mass media
by conglomerates seeking
ever higher profits.
For General Electric,
here is Ronald Reagan.
Good evening,
on this last Sunday before Christmas.
The Christmas season is
a time for the family.
People should remember
that Ronald Reagan
was funded by large corporations.
And so suddenly we saw
a radical transformation
of the media system
in the United States.
General Electric and RCA,
two of America's biggest
and best known companies,
in a dramatic move last night
the two announced plans to merge.
We'll now have the
strongest network,
we'll have a stronger
defense piece.
This is gonna be one
dynamite company.
The concentration
of mass media
in the hands of a very few,
very large international
who have a lot of
different businesses.
Defense business, theme parks.
And news became a
smaller and smaller part
of ever larger corporations.
The Reagan administration
approved General Electric's purchase
of major media holdings,
despite ongoing
violations of industry
laws and practices.
Meanwhile, from General Electric
and from my family and myself,
a merry, merry Christmas.
Eddy, don't you want
to say Merry Christmas?
The original sin was
going to Wall Street.
The demands of wall
street will require
empty desks in your newsroom.
So why don't you minimize
your actual product
and make more money?
Capitalism is not the best judge
of what's good for society.
When I knew it was time to go
the last speech I got from a CEO,
he had been selling cereal,
breakfast cereal,
before he was selling newspapers.
He came in at the bottom where
he gave a speech about the product.
He never once mentioned news.
He never once mentioned...
the role of a newspaper.
We're now at a stage where
every journalist who isn't asleep
understands that corporate
power has made it
impossible for them to do the job
as it needs to be done.
Police, freeze!
One of the biggest news stories
of the 1980s
was the explosion of crack
cocaine in the United States.
The crack epidemic
not only destroyed lives
in the sense that people were
addicted to this powerful drug,
but also it set off gang wars.
Certain communities like the
African American communities
were disproportionately hurt.
Gary Webb,
he began investigating that.
Gary Webb,
he thought being a reporter
was the best thing you could be.
The only independent
force in the society
to establish truth.
What first caught his eye,
he's got Nicaraguans
dirty in a drug deal
and they're not going down,
they're getting a walk.
Now if you're a reporter
you look into that.
As Webb looked at the suppliers
of the crack trade in Los Angeles,
the trail led back
to a U.S.-sponsored war
a decade earlier
in Central America.
The Reagan
administration wanted to be
proactive... uh... in...
uh... sticking it to the
communists around the world.
President Ronald Reagan
authorized the CIA
to spend hundreds of
millions of dollars
building, supporting,
directing the Contras
against the Sandinistas
in Nicaragua.
They are the moral equal
of our founding fathers,
we can not turn away from them.
Sponsoring violence in a
small Central American country
was far more important
Than stopping drugs from flowing in
to our cities and our communities.
After a year long investigation
Webb's report broke new ground
by becoming the first
major news investigation
published both in print
and on the Internet.
As a consequence,
even though the
San Jose Mercury News
is considered a regional newspaper,
it was able to get
national traction
and even international
traction on this story
because it was now on the web.
We've got all the
DEA undercover tapes,
we've got the FBI reports,
we've got the court records,
and they're all posted
for people to see.
By the way,
when you look at his research
and what he was doing,
and tracing it,
and he was hip enough to
check it and know it was true.
By November 1997
the website was getting over
a million hits a day.
Thank you.
What is the word on the street now?
Have you heard about the CIA?
Well you know what?
We have heard,
we have seen,
and now we are moved to action.
With the CIA on the defensive
and the public demanding answers,
the major national newspapers
waded into the controversy.
You have the fact that
the San Jose Mercury News
being in Silicone Valley
was sort of challenging
the gatekeeper function
that the New York Times,
the L.A. Times, the Washington Post,
and other big papers,
had assumed was theirs.
The Washington Post
weighs in and says,
"Gary Webb got it wrong,
but we can't tell you
exactly how he got it wrong
cause we haven't the
fainted god damn idea."
It was accompanied by
a piece that declared
that the African American community
was conspiracy prone.
So that sort of set the tone
that Webb's story
would be dismissed
and to agree, ridiculed.
You had major media outlets
going to the CIA and saying,
"Is this true?"
And the CIA would say,
"Oh no, this is not true."
And then the reportage was,
"Oh, well it's not true."
This is nonsense.
Come on, come on. I mean, come on.
Listen, listen,
there has never been a conspiracy
in this country.
The fact is that the shoddy
reporting on this story
was not from Gary Webb,
it was from his corporate
back detractors.
Now, I had a drink with a
major figure at the L.A. Times
and I asked him
about the crack back,
and he said,
"Look, there were meetings
in the building that
they weren't gonna let
a guy from San Jose, California
come into their turf and
win a Pulitzer Prize."
Expose CIA.
Expose CIA.
Expose CIA.
As the press attacked Gary Webb,
the public protested.
I got involved with the protests
because Gary Webb,
he had no hidden agenda,
he's not lying.
And we gonna put the CIA
and this country on notice.
With the national media
calling for a retraction,
the Mercury News took down
the Dark Alliance website
and reassigned Webb to a bureau
150 miles from his home.
- In the beginning, they were behind you.
- That's right.
And then they caught a wild world
of hell from the establishment media
and now they're not
behind me anymore.
And here is this guy
that had all these awards,
they scar that and broke a story
that everyone warned
him not to break.
All of a sudden a journalist
that should be hailed
is treated like a piece of crap.
A year later the CIA released
it's internal report into
the agency's involvement
with Contra drug traffickers.
There are instances where CIA
did not in an expeditious
or consistent fashion
cut off relationships
with individuals
supporting the Contra program
who were alleged to have engaged
in drug trafficking activity.
The contents of the report,
if you go into the actual
nitty-gritty of them,
what you find is that there
was a serious problem that
the U.S. government knew about it,
and that the Contras were far
more guilty of drug trafficking
and the CIA was more guilty
of looking the other way
than even Gary Webb had suggested.
With the CIA's report
about it's relationship with
Contra drug traffickers,
the media had a chance to
vindicate Webb's investigation.
The New York Times,
they do a story that is
half kind of mea culpa,
"we should have
done more with this,
it was worse than we thought."
And half,
"Gary Webb's still an idiot."
The Washington Post
waits several weeks
and does a rather
dismissive article.
And the L.A. Times never reports
on the CIA's findings.
So even though Webb
was proven correct
he's still considered a flake
who got a story wrong.
When he was interviewing
on another job,
they'd always say, "Aren't you
the guy who wrote Dark Alliance?"
And then they would
kill the interview.
He couldn't make a living
being a journalist anymore,
and that ripped his heart out.
He's despondent about
his inability to find work.
He got his father's pistol,
laid out a certificate
for his cremation,
and then he shot himself.
Frankly you know, if I have
to stand up and take a beating
for putting the issue
of government complicity
in drug trafficking on
the national agenda,
I'll take that beating
any day of the week.
I mean, I was glad
to do this story,
I'm proud of what we did,
and I'd do it again in a second.
We killed one of the few
decent working reporters
in the country.
By that we,
I mean the business I'm in,
With the new
technological revolution,
Congress began drafting
new media legislation.
The media conglomerates
created the fantasy
that if they were allowed to own
dramatically more media
they could make
dramatically better media.
Big is better,
Media corporations need
that favorable policy
that's gonna allow them to grow
and make more and more money,
and politicians need that media
to give them the air time that
they couldn't exist without.
Who's left out of that deal,
of course, is the public.
At that point behind closed doors
these media conglomerates
are asking for the rules
to be loosened even more.
Fantasy became reality
for the media conglomerates
when President Bill Clinton signed
the 1996 Telecom Act into law.
This law is truly
revolutionary legislation
that will bring the
future to our doorstep.
Telecom '96 really rang
the dinner bell
for media conglomerates to come
and eat up
every station that they wanted.
Following the Telecom Act
a wave of massive mergers swept
through the media industry.
A handful of entertainment stars
using mega mergers
are preparing to dominate TV
and movie screens worldwide.
The combination
of the two together
gives us the opportunity to become
the strongest creative
company in the world.
The superlatives were flying
as Viacom and CBS announced the
biggest media merger ever.
A new multi media giant
will soon control an enormous
amount of the entertainments.
Viacom is buying CBS,
parent of CBS News.
When you think
about the new Viacom,
you really only have to remember
a single number,
that's number one.
Capitalize on the convergence
of media, entertainment.
Almost as American as apple pie.
The world's largest
provider of Internet access
is merging with the world's largest
When media consolidation
began to happen
the local broadcasters
weren't able to compete.
Well guess who those local
radio station owners were?
They might have been
a person of color,
or it might have been a woman.
This really just knocked
people out of the game.
We've totally
destroyed the localism
of broadcasting purely to
serve corporate interests.
There's nothing in market
economics that justifies it,
it's pure crony capitalism
at it's worst.
In this high tech digital age
with high definition
television and digital radio,
all we ever get is static.
A veil of distortion and lies
and misrepresentations
and half truths
that obscure reality.
In times of war the press
loses all critical distance.
Journalists see themselves as
first and foremost, patriots.
The result is essentially
the dissemination of propaganda.
In the word's media capital,
on September 11th, 2001,
the unthinkable happened.
The people who knocked
these buildings down
will hear all of us soon.
The terrorist attack
of September 11th,
as tragic as it was,
was almost like a godsend
to the Bush administration
because it gave
them the raisondetre
that they were looking for
to invade Iraq.
To link Saddam Hussein to 9/11
the Bush administration turned
to the intelligence community.
You have to remember this
is not an inductive process,
it's inductive.
You decide to go to war
and then you go find
the justification.
And this is exactly what happened.
Look, I ran Iraqi operations.
We didn't have any information.
With no evidence of
Saddam Hussein's role in the attacks,
defectors starting
emerging from Iraq
with exclusives for
U.S. news outlets.
There was an Iraqi
by the name of
Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri.
He claimed to have
evidence of you know,
biological and nuclear,
and various kinds of
weapons of mass destruction.
He also talked about
various facilities being
under Saddam's main palace,
he talked about nuclear facilities
being disguised as water Wells.
I mean, he was their
best corroboration
that Saddam was stockpiling
weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam has resumed his efforts
to acquire nuclear weapons.
Among other sources
we've gotten this
from first hand
testimony from defectors.
We know where they are,
they're in the area
around Tigrett and Baghdad
and east, west, south,
and north somewhat.
The success
of their propaganda campaign
would depend on one news outlet.
I watched this from the inside.
They created a stage
and broad journalists
into the audience dutifully
took notes and reported it.
They believed all the
crap they were fed.
The New York Times
is the intellectual and
political opinion leader
in the United States.
Sucking up the government in
the most outrageous ways.
Constantly trying to placate
the Military Intelligence Complex.
There's a story in the
New York Times this morning.
Read in the New York Times today.
And I want to trip to the Times
and I want to talk about this week.
Closer to
acquiring nuclear weapons.
We don't want the smoking gun
to be a mushroom cloud.
The smoking gun...
That could come in the form
of a mushroom cloud.
With the mainstream media
convinced of the necessity for war,
the administration took their case
to the world stage.
The coup de gras
and the most brilliant
propaganda maneuver of all
was Colin Powell's
absolutely fraudulent
presentation in front of the
united nation's security council.
Let me share with
you what we know
from eye witness accounts.
We have first hand descriptions
of biological weapons
factories on wheels
and on rails.
And Saddam Hussein has not...
Much of the
fabricated information
that was passed on by the
quote on quote, "defectors"
form the basis for
Colin Powell's accusations.
He didn't have any hard
evidence, but...
You should have seen the
press fall all over themselves
as soon as he was done
saying that this had
been a definitive case for war.
This irrefutable, undeniable,
incontrovertible evidence today.
Colin Powell brilliantly
delivered that smoking gun today.
He just flooded
the terrain with data.
He has closed the deal.
the giant echo chamber that creates
public perception in the United States
were giving out the
administration lines.
Show down Iraq.
If America goes to war,
turn to MSNBC.
If you looked at
the television screens
with these graphics,
and drum-rolls,
and countdown to Baghdad,
and this kind of stuff,
it was a raw and open
celebration of American power.
This hour American
and coalition forces
are in the early stages
of military operations
to disarm Iraq,
to free it's people,
and to defend the world
from grave danger.
After the fall of Saddam,
Al Haideri,
the INC's defector,
finally had the chance
to show the world
the justification for war.
Mr. Haideri couldn't bring
these guys to a single place
that he claimed had housed the
weapons of mass destruction programs.
The media fell hook,
line, and sinker
for the administration's
case for war.
And in fact,
certain publications appear
to have been deliberately used
and openly receptive of
information that the
Bush administration
produced that was wrong
but that bolstered
it's case for war.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the President of the United States.
King, John king.
This is a scripted...
Thank you, Mr. President. How...
You can not go against
the White House and survive.
You're finished.
Did you have a question
or did I call upon you cold?
- I have a question.
- Okay.
I'm sure you do have a question.
The whole idea in Washington
is to marginalize people
who go against the consensus,
and they do it very well,
you don't get invited to the party.
For me to blame the reporters
is to miss the point,
you have to blame the owners.
These are the people
who are responsible
for the conduct of the
people who work for them.
I want everybody to
get back, in the back of it now.
It is my belief that wars really
are started by the mainstream media.
It is my belief that the press
getting too close to the government,
actually, we are talking about
a sort of interbreeding
or intermeshing between
the structures of
the mainstream media
and this structure of the
Military Intelligence Complex.
The impact is that
we've got all of these
innocent people in
Iraq that have died,
we've got thousands
of American soldiers
and British soldiers
that have died.
They died for a lie that
was so easily uncovered,
but it wasn't allowed in
the biggest news outlets.
These private corporations are
making profit off the killing.
They push for more war,
it builds their audiences.
They limit the discussion about
whether war should continue.
The bring you the general
versus the colonel,
or the pro-war Republican versus
the pro-war Democrat,
and they have these
extremely limited debates.
When most people are
outside of that spectrum,
most people are against war.
The rapid consolidation of media
across broadcast,
also into film, book publishing,
created a situation
where instead of having
the democratic media system
that the founders anticipated,
with thousands of different owners
of small weekly newspapers.
You no longer had Tom Paine,
you had Rupert Murdoch.
Rupert is any
agenda that you want to shape.
For example, take the war.
You're having a global
media enterprise,
and if you shape that agenda at all
in terms of how the war is viewed?
No, I didn't think so.
I mean, we've tried.
Tried in what way?
Well, we basically
supported our papers, and um...
I would say supported... uh...
The Bush policy.
News Corp and
others have eaten out
nearly every single
independently managed newspaper
with the United States.
That is something that
is quite dangerous,
in putting it's business interests
and it's political interests
over the top of all that.
In order to
prevent media monopolies
the Federal
Communications Commission
was charged with
regulating the media.
The most important
job the FCC has
is looking out for regular citizens
and making sure that whatever
media policy is made,
that it's the best for the public
and the best for democracy.
- I'm available for questions.
- So.
Colin Powell leads
the drum beat for war,
and his son Michael Powell
was attempting to lead
the war against diversity,
of voices at home.
Once in office Powell waged war
against the last remaining
rules on media ownership.
Here is this agency that
very few people knew about.
And they were trying to
push through regulations
that said, "In a town, the...
Newspaper, radio, and television
could be owned by one person."
By a media mogul,
someone like Rupert Murdoch.
This is what people
feared the most,
that all the content for TV,
radio, and the newspaper,
coming out of one shot.
A one size fits all,
one news room community.
There was
almost no public scrutiny
until Michael Powell called
network coverage of the Iraq war,
There were these
millions of people
and they hear the FCC guy
is calling the coverage "Thrilling"
while he's trying to obliterate
the last remaining rule.
And it just tapped into this anger
that people were
feeling about the war.
Despite millions of people
protesting against the FCC,
Michael Powell didn't
get the message.
Mass communication
Is the end of democracy
Even when people did say,
"Hey FCC, we're the public,
we don't want you to do this."
The FCC turned around
and did exactly
what those mega-corporations
wanted it to do in the first place.
With victory at hand,
the media giants publicly expressed
their gratitude.
And it was pretty stunning.
The head of Viacom,
the Sumner Redstone,
he repeatedly said,
"Having a Republican
in the White House
is better for my company.
And I vote Viacom
and for that reason
I endorse Bush's election."
These large
conglomerate companies,
they contribute to
political campaigns.
They expect to get
something for their money.
Deciding on their own and
for their own purposes
the news we see and hear.
Is an inescapable conclusion
that we must reach if we are to
have a better society.
The only reliable,
and perpetual guarantor
of independence
is profit.
Thank you.
Every aspect of our lives,
from what we buy,
what is sold to us,
who produces it,
all those things are connected.
It's not only a monopoly of wealth,
it's a monopoly of
information as well.
In 2007,
with the FCC reviewing
it's media ownership rules,
the public came forward.
Millions of people
wrote to Congress,
wrote to the FCC,
spoke out at forums.
You'd have a forum of 1,000 people,
this was unheard of,
saying, "No."
One media mogul can't own the radio,
television, and newspaper in a city.
Here was an example
where the public had intervened
and gummed something up.
Under new Chairman Kevin Martin,
the FCC announced public hearings
on media ownership in cities
across the U.S..
We have some of the most
entertaining people on the planet,
but we don't know a lot about
what's going on in the world
because the way our world is,
we have something.
Four companies controlling the
6% of four places of your markets.
That is not diverse,
it is not competitive.
Look where I am,
we are concerned citizens.
We're tying to believe
that we matter,
don't make fools of us.
And I beg the FCC to help us.
You can switch
from channel to channel
and see the same thing.
It's very clear that
this country has become
profits over people.
Despite overwhelming public
opinion against more consolidation,
Kevin Martin sided with
the media conglomerates
and removed the
cross ownership ban.
The two Democratic
commissioners have voted.
What Kevin Martin
did was demonstrate
his absolute
thoroughgoing contempt for
doing his job and representing
the public interest.
Embracing entirely the interest
of wealthy
corporate benefactors, period.
Pure and simple.
I think the people
that own the media
would be much happier
if we were a nation
of mindless consumers
rather than a nation of
informed, active citizens.
To seize this moment
we have to ensure
free and full exchange
of information.
That starts with an open Internet.
I will take a back seat to no one
in my commitment to
network neutrality.
Because once providers start...
It's simple, it's net neutrality,
it's non discrimination,
and it's a basic
principle that politicians
pay lip service to it.
That if the same players like AT&T,
Comcast, and Time Warner,
are able to take over the Internet
through lax public policy,
that we'll lose even the Internet.
Despite his election promises,
President Obama has brought in new
Internet pricing rules,
going against the principles
of a free and open Internet.
It is by making publishing
cheap, that permits
many more people to
become publishers
that permits many
more different voices.
That's where the Internet
has really excelled.
Blue Helix has published
a lot of information
about war,
about militaries, how they behave,
intelligence organizations.
And that information often comes
as a surprise to the public.
It's because the public
has been lied to.
Come on, fire.
We have moved the envelope for
what is acceptable
for people to publish.
The United States do something
to stop Mr.Assange.
We're looking a that right now.
Mr. Connels says he's
a high-tech terrorist,
others say this is akin to the
Pentagon Papers, what do you comment?
I would argue that it's closer
to being a high-tech terrorist
than the Pentagon Papers.
The greatest fight we have had
in bringing the first
amendment to the world
was in the bringing the first
amendment to the United States.
This guy's a traitor,
a treasonist, and... and...
and he has broken every
law of the United States.
Will the Internet remain free
or will a few companies be able
to control and monetize it?
That's the debate of the era.
We have to stop,
recognize that our
media is in crisis,
and ask ourselves,
what is the media that we want?
We want more information,
access to more information,
we have fewer people who
control the information.
Can't allow this country
to go down for the count
'cause some guys in Wall Street can't
make money producing garbage news.
The media is that kind of issue
where if we want it to be better
we have to fight for it.
These are the critical battles
we face right now
in the United States and frankly,
in the countries around the world.
How we respond to this moment
will be every bit as definitional
as how the founders
responded to their moment.
This is really about
having a conversation about
what kind of decisions
we want made in our name.
That's really what will save us,
is when we really
know what's going on.
Not filtered through the lens
or the microphone of corporation.