Wednesday, May 11, 2005

GE: Generally Everything (and NBC)

Those of you who watched the Boston bust that went up on today read a few specific products that GE provides beyond their media empire, which includes engines for the military's top aircrafts, and nearly anything else useful that you can think of. Their impressive media empire controls 11 different US television networks (most notably NBC), nine cable networks to 27 countries, all things Universal and many other significant enterprises. Oddly, the entire media division comprised less than 8.5% of the company’s 2004 revenue.

How does that affect your news coverage? Well, in the first Gulf War, it had us marvelling at the technology the military employed. Supreme gadetry trumped humanity as reporters eagerly awaited shock and... naw, I'm thinking of a different war. Sorry for that.

Ever seen a feature on airport security? Have you generally been under the impression that it would be wiser to upgrade screening technology, or to refine the system? Yeah technology, like that Entry Scan³ (a.k.a. "Puffer Machine") thing that is used at many security entry points. It blows air on you to detect chemicals before you pass through a metal detector. Maybe you'd seen these on TV already? Ironically, they've been a rather nice windfall of income for GE in our troubled, post September 11, 2001 world.

I wanted to show in this post the dozens and dozens of relevant GE products that outperform the corporation's media interests, but I'm quite confident that it will bore the crap out of you. Let me instead encourage you to go direct to the source and see what else the media conglomerate sells. It shouldn't take long to identify some juicy conflicts of interest in their coverage, which coincidentally is created with the potential and intent to influence your beliefs, compassion, and even your values.

The point here is that GE, NBC's parent company, profits from the War on Terror. In fact, they profit from wars all over the world. You see where that gets sticky. Now Viacom is reportedly in search of a new home for CBS. Totally hypothetical situation here, but if Big Tobacco seizes control of that network, might you care? Could it affect content of their health-related stories?

Would America stand for it?


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