Never in our nation's history has there been as much of a need for independent sources of news as there is today. All of the traditional news sources from newspapers to radio to television have been bought out and taken over by wealthy multinational corporations. Our freedom of thought, our sources of news, our ability to communicate and even our democracy are all under attack by a small group of billionaires. In this article, we will look at how the ever increasing control over public communications has led to an ever increasing concentration of wealth and power by a handful of billionaires. We will then review how you can help change the course of history by starting your own independent news website.
Create Your Own News Website offers the rest of us a chance to change this billionaire domination of online news. We will show you how to combine a Joomla website with a series of free tools designed to transform your Joomla website into a News website. These revolutionary tools put the power of the Internet in the hands of the people!
Throughout history, a free and independent press has been the key to overthrowing corrupt rulers. Our first national revolution began was the courage of newspaper writers such as Ben Franklin who understood the power of the press to persuade people to rise up against an unjust King. The printing press had just come into existence – much like websites have just come into existence today.
Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the First Amendment to the US Constitution, also maintained that a free and independent press is the cornerstone of our Democracy.
In India, Mahatma Gandhi started his own independent newspaper to organize and rally his people into resisting and overthrowing the British empire.
On June 6 1903, Mahatma Gandhi started a small independent newspaper called the Indian Opinion which organized and rallied his people into eventually overthrowing the British Empire. His newspaper had a small team of writers nearly all of whom spent time in jail for their articles advocating defiance against unjust laws. The Indian Opinion was a very small newspaper which was often only published once per month. They frequently ran out of the letter A in their typesetter. The paper lost a great deal of money and was often supported by Gandhi directly -who wrote nearly all of the articles for the paper. At the end of 1903, there were 887 subscribers and a staff of 13 people making the equivalent of a dollar a day which was a common wage at the time. The original printer wanted to make a profit but could not. So Gandhi bought the paper in 1904 and managed it himself. His first act was to move the paper to a 100 acre farm and cut the wages of the workers in half - but giving them room and board while requiring them to grow their own food. The typesetting of the paper was done by hand and the press was often run by manual labor with Gandhi himself often putting “his shoulder to the wheel” cranking the handle of the press to turn out the paper.
At times, Gandhi devoted half of his wages to keeping the journal afloat – including all of his savings of 5,000 pounds – which today would be more than $150,000. The problem of breaking even was compounded by Gandhi's conviction that the newspaper should not sell advertisements – which Gandhi viewed as often promoting commercialism and lies. He wanted the paper to be educational and informative rather then merely commercial and entertainment. By 2014, when Gandhi left for India, the number of subscribers had grown to 3500 with 500 more free subscriptions. The charge for the paper was one penny per paper.
“In the very first month of Indian Opinion, I realized that the sole aim of journalism should be service... One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects… I believe that a struggle which chiefly relies upon internal strength cannot be wholly carried on without a newspaper it is also my experience that we could not perhaps have educated the local Indian community, nor kept Indians all over the world in touch with the course of events in South Africa in any other way, with the same ease and success as through the Indian Opinion, which therefore was certainly a most useful and potent weapon in our struggle." Gandhi , Hind Swaraj (his first book) 1909 http://gandhimuseum.org/MGM/INDIAN%20OPINION.htm
Throughout history, concentration of wealth has been the enemy of democracy. A free press has been the key to getting it back.
Today, we face the tyranny of a billionaire financed corporate empire that threatens to enslave us all. Yet many people remain blissfully unaware of the billionaire takeover of our media and our democracy. They fail to understand that nearly everything they see on TV News and nearly everything they read in corporate newspapers are carefully crafted lies. We are like fish swimming in increasingly polluted waters. The pollution, the ocean of lies spun by the corporate media, affects not only our health but our very ability to think clearly, to make good decisions and to act for a better future for our children and grandchildren.
It is time for a new kind of independent media – one run not for pursuit of profit but for the pursuit of truth and the sharing of wisdom.
The Rise of Lies
It is no coincidence that the billionaire plan to take over our government and our economy began with the consolidation of the media and the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in the 1980s. The Fairness Doctrine required major media sources to provide both sides of the debate on important public issues as a condition of getting their license to use the public airwaves. With the loss of the Fairness Doctrine, the American people were no longer allowed to hear or read debate from both sides on major issues. Instead, we are only allowed to hear one side, the billionaire side of the debate, filled with lies exactly as predicted by George Orwell in the book 1984.
Today, we are witnessing the results of decades of media domination by the billionaires. Currently wealth transfer is occurring at a record pace – with the greed of few billionaires robbing from the needs of poor and middle class working families. This robbery takes many hidden forms. Our money supply is controlled by a corrupt private Wall Street banking system that takes billions and even trillions of dollars from the tax payers using terms like Quantitative easing to continue gambling trillions of dollars in the rigged derivatives casino. Our elections have turned into a corrupt bribery and kickback scheme with fake billionaire sponsored politicians who claim to be on the side of the people but then write new laws to allow billionaires to take over everything from our public airwaves to our public schools. We are forced to pay for an out of control war machine that costs ten times more than the military spending by all the other nations of the world combined. This is trillions of dollars that could have and should have been invested in our young adults to provide them with the education they need to compete in the global marketplace of ideas. Instead, our young adults who have the audacity to want to attend college are left with tens of thousands of dollars in debt – and almost no chance to pay off that debt by getting a good paying job when they get out of college because very few of them are able to find a good paying full time job.
Here is a quote from the PBS report: “High-tech industries are now using guest workers to fill two-thirds of new IT jobs. At the same time, U.S. colleges are graduating more than twice as many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates than the number of STEM openings generated by our economy each year... Only half of engineering graduates find engineering jobs.”
Tech industry insiders have admitted at conferences that most of the high tech jobs listed are fake jobs that do not even exist. The only purpose in listing these fake jobs is to fool the US Congress into increasing the number of foreign workers allowed into the US. A survey of college graduates by the National Center for Educational Statistics confirmed that only two-thirds of computer science graduates went into IT jobs in 2009. One third reported there were no IT jobs available.
Currently, U.S. colleges graduate far more scientists and engineers than find employment in those fields every year — about 200,000 more STEM graduates than STEM jobs per year. These are all people with a high school diploma and a college diploma and excellent math skills that cannot find a job. If these highly qualified college graduates cannot find jobs, how is pushing a high school drop out into learning advanced algebra going to help them find a job?
Corporate Outsourcing of Jobs and Wealth
Corporate propaganda has falsely claimed that we do not have enough skilled workers in America and we therefore have to import H1B visa workers from overseas. But the truth is that there is no shortage of skilled American workers. Often dozens of qualified Americans apply for every job. In fact, the workers imported to replace American Hi Tech workers often had LESS training than the workers they were replacing. So the truth is that wealthy corporations are simply bringing in foreign workers to drive down wages and train workers to outsource jobs overseas. “These foreign workers are paid only one third of what the laid off American workers had earned… American workers were even required to train the Indian workers who replaced them.” Dan Stein, Executive Director, Federation for American Immigration Reform http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=leg_legislationb1f2
Despite the availability of American workers, the amount of foreign workers has been allowed to increase by over 400% in the past 10 years. The result of this corporate corruption is that hundreds of thousands of US workers have been displaced by cheaper foreign workers who are themselves abused in order to drive down wages in the US computer industry. Many H1B workers are being paid only $10 an hour. In some cases H1B workers were paid only $18,000 for a year of work. Eventually, these same jobs are outsourced overseas as these guest workers, trained by US computer programmers, take themselves and the jobs back to their home country.
But what about all of the ads in the paper for good paying computer jobs?Nearly all of these ads are for fake jobs that do not actually exist. The purpose of the ads is simply to create the illusion of demand as an excuse to bring in even more low paid and low skilled H1B workers. In the youtube video below immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explain how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants; and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1B workers. Watch in the video what corporations and Congress really mean by a "shortage of skilled U.S. workers". Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and thousands of other companies are running fake ads for fake workers for fake jobs in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.
Half of all Americans earn less than $30,000 a year, half of all students are eligible for free and reduced lunches, and a record 50 million Americans are on food stamps – all while billionaires are making record profits. The reason there are so few good paying jobs in America anymore is because our crooked politicians pass trade agreements that allow billionaires to keep their ill-gotten gains in offshore tax havens as they transfer our jobs to unregulated sweat shops in China and India.
At the bottom of this entire corrupt rigged system is the billionaire controlled media – which has managed to keep the people of the world in the dark by diverting their attention away from this robbery and onto fake meaningless topics like the million dollar divorces of Hollywood movie stars. Never in our history has their been such a concentration of the media in the hands of a few corporations controlled by a few billionaires. Today, the majority of the public media is controlled by just 3 corporations: Comcast (NBC & CNN), Disney (ABC & ESPN) and News Corp (FOX NEWS). Together these three mega corporations account for $150 billion in annual revenue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_of_media_ownership
Here is a graph of America's most popular news sources:
It looks like there are a lot of choices. But what they all have in common is that they are owned by, funded by and or controlled by a few billionaires. Media researcher Ben Bagdikian, has written several editions of a book called The Media Monopoly about the danger of the media monopoly for the past three decades. Below is a graph of his analysis of the consolidation of the number of corporations controlling the majority of the media in the US.
Instead of having lots of choices, what people really wind up watching and reading are the same phony marketing slogans repeated over and over again.
Consolidation of the media in the hands of a few billionaires makes it impossible for the public to learn the truth about the corruption that destroys our economy and our political system.
Not only has the quantity of sources plunged, but the accuracy of reporting also dropped as experienced reporters were fired and replaced by “talking heads” that do little more than repeat the press releases issued by their corporate masters.
The same powerful people who sit in the boards of the corporations of the military/industrial complex, the large banks, drug companies and oil companies also sit in the boards of the large media corporations. They have the power to hire editors and reporters who mislead the public and fire editors and reporters who tell the truth. Over time, this has led to the current culture of lies in the corporate news media. It has also led to a huge rise in corporate profits.
Meanwhile, as corporate profits are skyrocketing, full time jobs are disappearing and real wages are at their lowest level in 50 years.
This concentration of of the news media is so complete than people who get their information from the billionaire controlled media become brainwashed into believing that the unemployment rate is only 5% and economic recovery is just around the corner – when in fact, the debt level in the world is at the highest level in history. It is not possible to have an economy in which so many are unemployed and the wealth is so concentrated in the hands of the few. When the fake economy crashes, what will really be around the corner is the Second Great Depression.
How Control of the Corporate Media Leads to Control of our Elections
In addition to having a toxic effect on our economy, corporate control of our media has had a toxic effect on our elections. The media no longer has to provide news coverage for the public to make a huge profit. Instead, they now make money by firing reporters and hiring marketing consultants.
A Recent Example of Corporate Media Manipulation of the Voters
If this all sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory, consider a recent Presidential Debate tightly controlled by the corporate media. A CNN poll taken shortly after the debate found that 85% of respondents thought Bernie Sanders won the debate.
Within an hour, CNN deleted this poll and produced a series of talking heads all of whom announced that Hillary Clinton won the debate! The reason the poll of deleted was that CNN's parent corporation, Time Warner, is a huge donor to Hillary Clinton.
This manipulation of information is a common occurrence in the corporate media. Yet many people continue to listen to corporate news as if it were a bad drug habit.
Control of Information Leads to Control of the People
We become what we watch, read and listen to. Social scientists have found that the strongest predictor of a voter’s decisions is no longer their economic status but what television stations a person watched and for how long.
There are several good films worth watching that describe in vivid terms how the concentration of the media is able to brainwash people. One of the first was called Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky. You can download or watch this video for free at the following link: https://archive.org/details/dom-25409-manufacturingconsentnoamchomsk
There is also a 3 hour documentary made in 2003 called Orwell Rolls in his Grave which you can watch at the following link:
You can also watch a short 24 minute 2012 video called Who Owns the Media at the following link:
In 2012, a 1 hour documentary called Shadows of Liberty was released. Here is a 2 minute summary of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SAUborWbPw
Thanks to these videos, the word is getting out that the corporate media cannot be trusted.
A Ray of Hope… The American People are Starting to Wake Up!
Thankfully, the American people are starting to catch on to this scam. Gallup Polls used to show that two out of three people trusted the corporate media to tell the truth. Now, after decades of lying to the public, the majority of the American people no longer trust the corporate media. http://www.gallup.com/poll/185927/americans-trust-media-remains-historical-low.aspx
Ironically, even though the corporate media tends to use conservative corporate sources over progressive sources by a margin of more than two to one, Republicans are much more likely to distrust the media. While only one in four Republicans trust corporate news, half of all Democrats still trust the corporate media! What is most encouraging is that only one in three younger Americans between the ages of 18 to 49 trust the corporate media. This means two out of three younger Americans are seeking alternative sources of information. These sources of information and new media are increasingly from independent online news websites. While the majority of Americans still get their news from television, in the past 10 years, Internet news websites have passed news papers as the Number Two source of news and information.
How We the People Can Reclaim the Media
It used to be that to create a fully functioning online news website (as opposed to posting a simple blog) required a team of computer programmers to hand code the website on a daily basis. This is actually how nearly all corporate news websites are still built and maintained. However, thanks to recent improvements in a web building content management system called Joomla, it is now possible for each of us to create and maintain our own online news website without any knowledge of computer programming – at a cost of only a few dollars per month! Each of us can offer the public an alternative to corporate controlled news. There are already hundreds of news websites run by individuals and small groups of people. However, many of these websites are using outdated tools that eventually turn the website into a mess. If you are going to take the time and effort to build your own news website, you should first take the time and effort to learn how to do it right. In this course, we will show you how to create your own regional, national or international alternative news website the right way – using the Joomla content management system.
This is the fourth course in our series of courses on using free open source tools to share knowledge and information. Open source means the source code, or software, is free and can be shared by anyone with anyone for any purpose. Open source is like a library...free and open knowledge shared with the community for the common good. No patents, no hassles, no barriers, no limits! For information on our other courses, visit: http://collegeintheclouds.org/
While it is not necessary that you have read our previous books, courses and websites in order to build your own alternative website, if you have the time, it would be useful to start at the beginning and complete our previous three courses before creating your own news website. With our books and courses, we we should you how to have full control over the appearance, content and function of your website – without computer programming – simply by clicking on a series of buttons! With our courses, you will be able to create your own interactive website to bring in new customers now and expand to accommodate growth in the future.
In this course, we begin with a brief summary of how to create your own Joomla foundational website. These steps are covered in greater detail in our second course, Create Your Own Interactive Website which is at the following link: http://createyourowninteractivewebsite.com/
Creating a Joomla Foundational Website is the first step in all of our courses. Once you have a Joomla foundational website an entire “virtual world” of possibilities opens up for you. Joomla has thousands of free tools called “extensions” which can be added to a Joomla foundational website to provide additional functionality.
In our next article, we will review a few news websites to see how they are made and explain how you can conduct your own research on how current news websites are formated. We will then describe the process for setting up a basic Joomla news website and finally describe how to add a tool called K2 to Joomla to expand the display options of images and articles and thereby create a news website that looks as official as any corporate news website ever made. Creating your own news website requires a commitment of time and effort – not only to research the content for your news website but also to learn how to transfer that content to the Internet and display it in an organized manner. If you are willing to put in this time and effort, we will show you how it is done. Let's get started!