I’ve always wanted to be a dictator. Unfortunately, that never went over well when elementary school teachers asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Eventually, I decided to go for the next best thing: journalism.
My logic behind this was that every great dictator must have control over the media. Becoming a prominent journalist was just the start.
I took other factors into consideration, such as becoming a student at Azusa Pacific University. Who doesn’t trust a well-versed Christian girl? I joined the Student Government Association and spent two years observing the ways in which power distribution occurs, practicing my skills in manipulation and trying to unknowingly get the administration to back my movement.
I have made one fatal assumption in my pursuit of total world domination: the news is easy to lie about.
As it turns out, stories have to go through multiple phases of approval before they are published. Not only do editors fact check the numbers, data and assertions made in an article, but they also get in contact with everyone quoted in a story to make sure they actually said what was written in the article. Tricky.
I didn’t let this stop me at first. I thought about the infamous Stephen Glass, a journalist for The New Republic in the late ’90s who published 41 articles for the magazine with half of them falsified. His story inspired me. He let down his entire team of writers and editors, just to create a catchy story.
But he was fired and shamed across the United States, as New York and California refused to even let him practice as a lawyer. It seemed this route only provides short-lived glory instead of full control over the media.
According to a Pew Research study, the press, though widely criticized, is trusted more than other sources of information. People generally believe their local and national news organizations as opposed to information that comes from big business, politicians or the state and national government.
This trust isn’t blindly made. It is because news, in less politically polarized stations like FOX or CNN, is focused on providing unbiased and well-balanced coverage of facts.
This makes it extremely difficult to accomplish my original goals when first choosing to become a journalist. But there is another option I missed out on: film and television production. The real goal should have been to join one of the few corporations that entirely control the media and brainwash the public.
It seems clear that the way in which people get attached to television, sports, films and comics should have been my original goal. Brainwashing seems to be a tactic boasting both positive and plentiful results worldwide.
A prime example of this is “The Bachelor.” Just about everyone on campus is talking about this show, and Chris Soules’ pursuit to find love. Well, not everyone, mostly females, which at APU is over half of the population. This show (as well as “The Bachelorette”) has managed to convince people and students at APU that a man or woman dating 30 people at one time is totally acceptable.
These viewers are accepting of the fact that the final three contestants are given keys to the fantasy suite, essentially so that the bachelor or bachelorette can decide whom he or she sexually prefers.
Cinematic Arts Professor John Hamilton explains how our people watch reality shows such as “The Bachelor” because people are comforted to see that there are individuals out there who are more idiotic than we are.
“The word ‘reality’ is misused here,” said Hamilton. “A show like ‘The Bachelor’ is contrived and staged not raw reality. True reality would be a direct cinema documentary… and even here it is never neutral or unbiased, because of selectivity and editing. One analyst noted that whenever the camera cuts, you have introduced falsehood.”
To each their own with regard to television consumption. I admit, my guilty pleasure is “Game of Thrones,” which is probably worse. The point is, these shows have managed to completely skew reality and manipulate viewers into agreeing with something they normally would fundamentally dislike.
Why couldn’t I do that with my dictator regime? Convincing viewers they want to be controlled by me? It was a rookie mistake to pursue a journalism over a career with much more brainwashing opportunities.
According to research in 2012 by Business Insider, only six corporations own 90 percent of the media. Those companies are Comcast, News Corp, Viacom, Disney, Time Warner and CBS. In 1983, 50 companies shared ownership of the media.
This means that controlling one of these companies means millions of people globally are at your fingertips. It also suggests that there isn’t as much diversity in the marketplace as we like to think.
It’s not worth being super-paranoid about the news or starting cults to take down the Illuminati. However, at the end of the day, you should always be wary of what you choose to trust, and, if you can, do your own research and fact-checking. If you don’t, you might end up letting people like me take control and, trust me, that isn’t a great idea because I can’t even figure out how to overcome Mondays.