by Jon Hellevig
May 13, 2019
from JonHellevigBlog Website
Their control covers all the means for expression of speech and ideas: television, movies, radio, books, music, news feeds.
Those figures refer to everything except for print media, newspapers and magazines, which would add a couple of more oligarchs to the small group of media controlling owners.
Some of the Big Five
media corporations are in themselves also print media owners.
That article illustrates how the ownership of all America's major corporations has been concentrated in incredibly few hands.
To make matters worse, those business corporations (in themselves oligopolies) are as a rule owned by the same set of investors, which in turn are cross-owned by each other (oligopolistic investors).
There then is a situation where oligopolies own oligopolies. What was said above about the extreme concentration of ownership obviously also holds true for the media (including print).
I reported there that institutional investors like,
...now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies.
The Big Three investors,
...alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (1)
Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations.
These same institutional
investors largely control the media, television, film, publishing,
and Internet, as it will be shown
However, what I present here should be damning enough.
This report shows beyond any doubt that an incredibly small group of oligarchs have amassed all the most important media assets in the United States. Whether the ultimate owners are a yet smaller group than it would seem at this first glance does not alter the picture to any significant degree.
What is clear is that just a few oligarchs now have the means to exercise a totalitarian control over speech and ideas in the United States (and increasingly globally, too).
In this connection, I will not digress into a substantial discussion of how this totalitarian control manifests itself.
For now suffice to allude to the multitude of instances when the media has through systematic campaigns of propaganda for war coerced the political leaders to declare wars (or to wage undeclared wars):
Other examples of agendas that the media pursue by way of abusing their monopoly on expression include a one-sided fact-free propagation of climate change alarmism and gender identity politics to the extent of denying obvious biological facts.
These were but a few examples of the totally agenda-driven reporting by the concentrated oligarch media.
In an article where he maintains that "America is a dictatorship by its super-rich," American writer and investigative historian Eric Zuesse maintains that the U.S. regime has elevated propaganda lies to the role of primary means of coercion, obviously seconded by its ample use of violence both domestically and around the globe.
It is through this incredible concentration of media that the regime has achieved a virtual monopoly on lies, which it employs to justify and varnish that violence.
Comcast - a former General Electric subsidiary - owns among other assets NBC and the British based Sky TV.
It provides consumer cable television, telephone, internet, and wireless services under the brand name Xfinity. Comcast is America's largest provider of cable internet access servicing 40% of the market.
The film studio Universal Pictures (aka Universal Studios) is a NBC subsidiary.
The major shareholders of
Comcast are listed in below table. (The shareholder data in this and
other tables are sourced, when other source not mentioned, from
Over the years it has added on among others,
...and several other cable TVs.
Disney like all the other
media oligopolists are also involved in publishing and many other
fields of business.
...both controlled by the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
Fox Corporations owns the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, and Fox News.
The assets of News Corp include,
To some extent their
controlling shareholders are another set of oligarchs while they
also are cross-owned by the same oligarchs as above.
After everything we
already reported, the ownership structure of Meredith Corporation
should not surprise anybody, as per below chart.
The second largest American newspaper publisher is Gannett Co., Inc.
It's portfolio includes
USA Today and a number of regional newspapers. The company is
publicly traded and owned by the oligarchy's institutional
The other of America's major newspapers have been assigned to the care of individual members of the U.S. oligarchy.
In economy and business
news a substantial source is also Bloomberg L.P. owned by the
oligarch Michael Bloomberg.
In the old times, by having access to the reporting of a vast number of journalist representing competing media outlets and different ideologies, active readers could stay well-informed about global events.
But during the last two decades, most media outlets have dramatically cut down on their overseas staff.
This has been driven by cost-cutting efforts and has also come as an inherent consequence of the concentration, the oligarch owners have figured they do not need separate bureaus for the different media outlets they own.
I assume that the reasons are even more sinister than those and infer that the large scale reduction has happened in conspiracy between the media controlling oligarchs as a means to facilitate propaganda:
For this purpose it is
much better to have global reporting concentrated in the hands of
the three agencies and State Department officials. (The flip side of
this is however that there are less opportunities to post
intelligence agents abroad under the cover of journalists).
The same source told that
most of the remaining "bureaus" in fact only consisted of a single
journalist posted abroad. (Even more likely that nobody was "posted
abroad" and that the newspaper only relied on locally based
Only those who are willing to invest their time in finding out the real state of affairs through alternative Internet based information resources can possible stay neutrally informed.
This is precisely why those in power have moved so forcefully against dissident sources on the Internet.
They are adamant to patch up that crack in the propaganda wall.
And they are all also owned by the oligarchy. Although they - in their roles as Internet providers - do not produce content, they carry content and communication. (We must also keep in mind that these corporations are largely cross-owned by the same set of oligarchs.)
The problem is that in this capacity they tend to interfere with that and discriminate against content and communication they do not like, by blocking, or by charging more, or by slowing down the traffic they do not like.
Some providers have openly stated that as their policy, some are doing it without acknowledging it, many have been caught, and then denied.
The fact is that they do interfere and the worst is that this tight knit-class of oligarchs have a means to interfere on this severely concentrated market at their will when the urge emerges.
In addition to interference on political grounds, these internet providers also give preferences to some business clients and penalize others in service packages that distort competition.
All the internet service
providers are also known to willingly share all client data and
communication with the U.S. spy agencies, most notably the
National Security Agency (NSA)
CIA without even a simulacrum of
legality and due process.
Below the Verizon
ownership table. AT&T was already presented above. T-Mobile is owned
by the German Deutsche Telekom and Sprint by Japanese SoftBank.
Most of these oligarch structures are already known to us from above.
Below we give the charts
for the two not presented above, Charter Communications and
After its 2016 acquisition of Time Warner's cable divisions, Charter Communications and Comcast have gained a virtual duopoly of the broadband market of 25Mbps and more, the two Internet service providers could control about 70 percent of the nation's 25Mbps-and-up broadband subscriptions.
These are in particular the Big Four:
They have each established uncontested monopolies in their respective sectors, with the exception of Apple who controls the mobile phone market in a duopoly with Google's Android based platforms.
Through their monopolistic dominance over their respective markets they abuse both political and economic freedoms.
They accomplish that by
restricting the free flow of opinions and business information both
on the level of the individual - by directly interfering in a
person's choices and abilities to express opinions - as well as on a
system level by deciding what visibility, if any - based on the tech
giants' preferences - media content producers, business enterprises,
and political groups are allowed to have.
That is an enormous topic in itself, which would require its own specialized literature. My aim is here only to outline the general contours of that plague in order to alert the readers to the dark side of the hipster technology, which the non-reflecting public may take to be brought to us by cool young tech entrepreneurs laden with all kinds of benign capitalist values.
For a substantial introduction to that topic, I recommend Jonathan Tepper's seminal The Myth of Capitalism - Monopolies and the Death of Competition.
(My report was prompted by the ideas derived from Tepper's book. The book was first published in November 2018 and the facts are largely up to date by that year.
Many of the references in the present report come from sources, which I have discovered through Tepper and following the sources he provided. Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise, 2018. Wiley).
Apple and Google share a global duopoly in phone operating systems with a 99% market share, as globally all major phone manufacturers, apart from Apple, use Google's Android operating system.
By abusing these two monopolies Google has also been able to capture a 66% market share for its Google Chrome browser.
This monopolistic exploitation has culminated in Google grabbing 76% of the online search advertising market, while Facebook controls 80% of social media advertising. (Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise, 2018.)
The combined share of Google and Facebook amounted to 60% of the $129 billion digital ad market (2018). A third monopolist, Amazon has been able to bite into the revenues of the duopoly, by capturing 6.8% of that revenue.
In reality, however, Amazon has just crafted a new monopoly segment for itself as it is charging companies for promoting their products on Amazon's own marketplaces, which have reached hegemonistic dominance in e-commerce, where Amazon has a 43% market share, whereas its monopoly in book sales has reached 75% (as of 2018; see Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise, 2018).
Digital ad spending
already makes up about
half of all U.S. advertisement spending, with
a rising trend.
The significance of
Google's app store is that no phone that is powered by the Android
operating system can download and run any application - for example
a taxi service, a messaging service, a cloud storing service, games,
a language course - if it hasn't previously been allowed to be
listed in Google Play.
This has put these two oligarch corporations in the position of gatekeepers to what news people are allowed to see. By abusing their monopoly powers they and their owners have become fabulously rich as they cannibalize on all the traditional media corporations and other online platforms in all forms of media content: news, political analysis, comedy, music, etc.
All the costs, the entire financial burden weighs on those content producers, while the tech giants rob the profits. Not only do they steal the content from the lawful producers, but they also regulate what can be seen by whom.
Having trapped the
publishers and creators to share their content on Facebook, the
monopolist is now even forcing them to pay for simply appearing on
Facebook, an option few can decline considering its dominance.
Tepper reports that when competitors asked Google to stop taking their content, it threatened to make them disappear completely - a classic offer you cannot refuse (Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise, page 95).
Google does not even have any qualms about extracting revenue from pirated content willingly allowing such to appear on its YouTube video-sharing web platform. Amazon's business model is similarly built on pimping for pirated goods. (Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise).
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes recently argued that,
As the case is with their political censorship and propaganda (more on this below), the tech giants use the same range of pernicious practices - blocking, making disappear, demoting, and propagating - in their commercial endeavors.
Originally Google was a search platform, but it has since become an investor in totally different kinds of businesses and started selling products of its own.
To secure its investments and to promote its own products Google abuses its monopoly by directing these monopoly tools to destroy its competitors and partners commercially in favor of its own products and services and in favor of its privileged advertisement customers.
One of the tricks Google uses is to have its Chrome browser block certain types of online advertisements, particularly of those of its competitors.
Federal investigators have discovered and documented that Google used a special search algorithm to manipulate its search results in order to boost the placement of its own products.
The investigators' report
also confirmed the widely known fact that Google habitually engaged
in the practice of scraping and copying content from competitors'
Foundem.com was a website dedicated to find the best prices online.
As soon as the founders had their service up and running users were rushing to their site, but after the second day they discovered to their amazement that the flow of visitors stopped completely as if a gate had been closed. And that is precisely what had happened.
Google had shut the gate on the users trying to enter Foundem.com by making the site disappear from search results.
The site was removed from Google's organic search results but on top of that Google also blocked the owners from purchasing ad placements via Google AdWords.
The reason was clear,
Tepper stresses that
Google was regularly engaged in this kind of predatory abuse of its
On the strength of its book dominance, Amazon expanded to other product categories, now having a decisive 43% market share of e-commerce.
Amazon functions as both a direct seller of products but also as a platform for other online sellers. With its overwhelming dominance, showing up as the top site in most of e-commerce searches other sellers cannot avoid joining the platform. And that's where the abuse starts.
Amazon allows - in what is called "modern-day piracy" - counterfeit products to be sold on its platform with ruinous consequences for the original brand owners.
Further Amazon - the giant pirate as it is - tracks third-party sales on its site and uses that data to sell the most popular items in direct competition. (Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise, 2018, page 104).
This has resulted in Google censoring ideas and opinions across the spectrum of public discourse:
There are several layers of bias and manipulation in Google's search results. It starts with an inherent American cultural bias.
On top of this comes an ideological bias based on American liberal (so-called) values and the globalist agenda.
The corporation also customizes (filtering and censoring) the search results and newsfeeds to bias them according to the user's personal profile that Google surmises from all the personal preferences of the user drawn by illegally recording users' Google activities.
Multiple studies have found that Google provides unique, different, search results for identical queries depending on the user's browsing history or the particular device used.
In a traditional
encyclopedia any user would have found the precisely same
information on the same page, but Google has destroyed the
objectivity and feeds a different reality to everybody, the more it
is a reality that Google has manufactured and prescribed for the
This censoring happens by way of demoting or de-ranking those individuals and organizations so that the search algorithms do not show sources pertaining to them in search results.
Political opposition and dissent are increasingly openly being blocked from Google in what amounts to modern day book burnings, for example political commentators being wholesale banned from its YouTube video service.
In a similar vein Facebook's totally opaque algorithms determine what posts are viewed and which not. Facebook - just like Google - make people and groups disappear - rather the same way the Bolsheviks used to retouch old photos to blot out the existence of people who had fallen foul of the party leadership.
Another analogy which cannot be missed in this connection is that of the concept memory hole popularized by George Orwell in his Nineteen Eighty-Four.
In that novel the Party's Ministry of Truth systematically and continuously re-created historical documents in order to adjust the past to their present political exigencies. With Google and Facebook the fearful and dehumanized world of Orwell's novel can no longer be regarded as a dystopia but a life foretold.
Add the insight from Ray Bradbury's book from 1953 Fahrenheit 451 and you'll have a pretty good description of present-day life under the U.S. media conglomerates and their globalist agenda. Following these dystopian antecedents, the present day surreality is nicely illustrated by Facebook covering up its massive online repression with references to its homely sounding "Community Standards."
No community of Facebook users have ever had a say in setting up such supposed standards.
They are nothing but
vague formulations of a set of supposed values designed to serve as
references to the entirely vague formulations by which the
corporation motivates its systematic arbitrary censorship activities
and online purge of dissent.
The user sees himself and his posts, but others will not, or only a very limited number of followers would.
Therefore it must not come as any surprise that these tech corporations have admitted that they engage in mass censorship by demoting in this way content from media that challenge the globalist hegemony, most notably,
Their censoring is much
more sinister than they want to admit, whereas the admissions must
be seen as mere public acknowledgements that the tech giants toe the
This is achieved by doing the opposite to the censoring, promoting people, groups and sources which propagate the agenda.
They harvest untold amounts of personal information on their users:
This data they use for their commercial purposes and to advance the globalist political agendas, as well as giving full access to all that to the intelligence agencies.
Tepper gives a lucid exposition of the genesis and nature of these predatory monopolies in the already cited book ((Tepper, Jonathan, Hearn, Denise, 2018).
In there we can read about the ideological origins of monopolization of the U.S. economy propagated by failed neoliberal economists and embraced by political actors since the fatal presidency of Ronald Reagan.
The U.S. establishment has been on it ever since the 1980s.
It seems to me that this has been part of a deliberate long-term scheme to concentrate the economy under the core nucleus of the oligarchy. (This is a hypothesis, which I will return to in a later report).
reveals how the process of monopolization has been greatly abetted
by corruption of government officials in response to satisfaction of
the ordinary sort of pecuniary greed as well as the particular
American plague of corrupting the political system with campaign
donations in favor of candidates - of both establishment parties -
who represent the oligarchy.
Clinton signed into law the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act was the first to recognize the Internet as forming part of media broadcasting. This law represented a major neoliberal act of deregulation with the explicit intent to allow concentration of ownership of media and telecommunications.
In particular, the act
removed the barriers to cross ownership and allowed
giant corporations to buy up thousands of media outlets across the
country. It seems to me that this was made for the explicit purpose
of concentrating the media in the hands of the oligarchy in order
for them to be unchallenged in propagating the ideology that has
cemented their power and the wealth derived from it.
According to formal U.S. laws such corporations must be deemed illegal trusts in breach of civil and criminal law. They would need to be punitively fined, their owners and officers convicted, and the corporations broken up.
But the formal political government of the United States does nothing about them.
Perhaps the reason for
the inaction is that the monopoly of the tech giants - together with
that of the traditional media - very well suits the interests
the shadow government of the elite:
the Deep State.
For example, Chris
Hughes who was a co-founder of Facebook has in
a May 2019 op-ed
in the New York Times called for the break-up of that social
This would include releasing Facebook Inc.' two other communication platforms,
...into separate companies.
The U.S. Justice
Department had in apparent breach of the anti-trust laws allowed
Facebook to acquire those two platforms in 2012 (Instagram) and 2014