The Information Super-Sewer: The Internet Is Hijacked By Corporate Interests

World Wide WebInteresting article from Chris Hedges on Global Research earlier this year. Author Jaron Lanier is quoted in this article as saying, “Funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one’s anus to one’s mouth.” Chris Hedges writes:

The Internet has become one more tool hijacked by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline. The great promise of the Internet, to open up dialogue, break down cultural barriers, promote democracy and unleash innovation and creativity, has been exposed as a scam. The Internet is dividing us into antagonistic clans, in which we chant the same slogans and hate the same enemies, while our creative work is handed for free to Web providers who use it as bait for advertising.

Ask journalists, photographers, musicians, cartoonists or artists what they think of the Web. Ask movie and film producers. Ask architects or engineers. The Web efficiently disseminates content, but it does not protect intellectual property rights. Writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living. And technical professions are under heavy assault. Anything that can be digitized can and is being outsourced to countries such as India and China where wages are miserable and benefits nonexistent. Welcome to the new global serfdom where the only professions that pay a living wage are propaganda and corporate management.

The Web, at the same time it is destroying creative work, is forming anonymous crowds that vent collective rage, intolerance and bigotry. These virtual slums do not expand communication or dialogue. They do not enrich our culture. They create a herd mentality in which those who express empathy for “the enemy” — and the liberal class is as guilty of this as the right wing — are denounced by their fellow travelers for their impurity. Racism toward Muslims may be as evil as anti-Semitism, but try to express this simple truth on a partisan Palestinian or Israeli website.

Read More from Chris Hedges on Global Research

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  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    all true…and yet…a faceless band in a back corner of the universe can bag a contract based on a performance that goes viral based on its quality and people’s love for it…not because it was backed by Viacom/Disney/NBC/Geffen etc etc at a cost of half a million bucks and advertised half a year in advance with red carpets and freebies for program managers at every radio station in America.

    there is a freedom here…what is horribly corrupted is the way in which use that freedom…or are even conscious of it. you have to know you have it…and know to keep it…and know to employ it…for it to matter…and most people fail that test both in virtual and regular life…so this virtual realm is only a reflection of a human failing that is everpresent everywhere else.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    all true…and yet…a faceless band in a back corner of the universe can bag a contract based on a performance that goes viral based on its quality and people’s love for it…not because it was backed by Viacom/Disney/NBC/Geffen etc etc at a cost of half a million bucks and advertised half a year in advance with red carpets and freebies for program managers at every radio station in America.

    there is a freedom here…what is horribly corrupted is the way in which use that freedom…or are even conscious of it. you have to know you have it…and know to keep it…and know to employ it…for it to matter…and most people fail that test both in virtual and regular life…so this virtual realm is only a reflection of a human failing that is everpresent everywhere else.

    • Ironaddict06

      Yep very true. All the internet is a tool, just like most things, it’s how it’s used that determines if it’s good or bad.

  • http://spiritnewsdaily.com/ Donovan Moore

    The Internet is in fact The Genie. And now the Genie is out of the bottle. Welcome to the one world economy. Americans always said they valued freedom. Well, you got freedom, so did every other country in the world. The only problem is that with freedom, comes competition. I am now free to outsource to the lowest bidder any place in the world. Wages will go down in the US and rise over seas. Isn’t that fair? Isn’t that what everyone said they valued? Peace on earth and good will towards man?

  • http://dmipr.com/ Donovan Moore

    The Internet is in fact The Genie. And now the Genie is out of the bottle. Welcome to the one world economy. Americans always said they valued freedom. Well, you got freedom, so did every other country in the world. The only problem is that with freedom, comes competition. I am now free to outsource to the lowest bidder any place in the world. Wages will go down in the US and rise over seas. Isn’t that fair? Isn’t that what everyone said they valued? Peace on earth and good will towards man?

  • Haystack

    Many people would argue that creativity thrives in an environment of free sharing. Jonathan Coulton is one. It’s true that the net invites piracy, but at the same time, I can spend $10 on some web space and have my work seen by thousands or even millions of people if it’s good enough. You can write a novel and publish it PoD on Amazon.com for the price of dinner at a chain restaurant. Creative people have never had so much opportunity to have their work compete in a true marketplace of ideas–until recently, they were at the mercy of recording/publishing companies and other gatekeepers.

    Sure, people have a tendency to seek out information that confirms what they already believe, they inevitably encounter other stuff. Who had heard of tentacle rape in 1992? *g* When I grew up my worldview was pretty much constrained by broadcast TV and a set of encyclopedias.

    This article makes valid criticisms, but lacks perspective. Sure, the net is a mixed bag, but do you really think it was easier to be creative and exchange ideas during the 80’s?

  • Haystack

    Many people would argue that creativity thrives in an environment of free sharing. Jonathan Coulton is one. It’s true that the net invites piracy, but at the same time, I can spend $10 on some web space and have my work seen by thousands or even millions of people if it’s good enough. You can write a novel and publish it PoD on Amazon.com for the price of dinner at a chain restaurant. Creative people have never had so much opportunity to have their work compete in a true marketplace of ideas–until recently, they were at the mercy of recording/publishing companies and other gatekeepers.

    Sure, people have a tendency to seek out information that confirms what they already believe, they inevitably encounter other stuff. Who had heard of tentacle rape in 1992? *g* When I grew up my worldview was pretty much constrained by broadcast TV and a set of encyclopedias.

    This article makes valid criticisms, but lacks perspective. Sure, the net is a mixed bag, but do you really think it was easier to be creative and exchange ideas during the 80’s?

  • Cerebralcaustic

    The idea that the internet was ever designed or intended to “open up dialogue, break down cultural barriers, promote democracy and unleash innovation and creativit” is the pipe dream of dopesmoking hippies who doesn’t understand how the real world functions.

    The internet is largely owned and operated by “corporate interests.” That is to say, the internet is largely private property.

    Those who own private property get to decide how and when said stuff is used by others.

    If others don’t like the rules, they don’t have to use the stuff and can devote their time and resources to other options.

  • Ironaddict06

    Yep very true. All the internet is a tool, just like most things, it’s how it’s used that determines if it’s good or bad.

  • Haystack

    “Those who own private property get to decide how and when said stuff is used by others. If others don’t like the rules, they don’t have to use the stuff and can devote their time and resources to other options. ”

    And how many times have you had your Disinfo account shut down? *g*

  • Andrew

    A corporations is not an individual, so its property isn’t private.

  • rtb61

    Honestly I have never found it easier to ignore advertising than on the internet. Those sites that use full paged adds and force a streamed commercial, are cookie and script blocked and banned forever. The rest of the adds are tolerable and ignorable much the same as mass media.
    There the comparison to mass media ends whilst the adds are much the same, anti add material that is dominant on the internet was largely absent on mass media. Anti add material being;

    Real peoples reviews of shitty products
    The truth about distorted or even censored stories
    More accurate political coverage
    Better awareness of what is going on in the world
    Global access to (apart from the language barrier) all manner of people and their opinions
    Access to the real opinion of the majority rather than the mass media B$ version
    News stories that don’t die after a day to be buried and forgotten by mass media
    Mass media advertising as news exposed for what it is
    False mass media stories exposed as lies
    The creative commons http://creativecommons.org/
    Wikipedia (special mention)
    Countless forums
    The peoples art through nearly random effort brings up more creative diamonds in a year than all grogan (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=grogan) art darlings of the rich and greedy has ever created.

    Sure there is a lot of crap out there mass media sites, astroturf, bad political web sites, PR=B$ web sites but in the end it is outnumbered by thousands to one by creative, educational, truthful, informative sites and of course outnumbered by millions to one by real peoples opinions not Orwellian lies of mass media double speak.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly I have never found it easier to ignore advertising than on the internet. Those sites that use full paged adds and force a streamed commercial, are cookie and script blocked and banned forever. The rest of the adds are tolerable and ignorable much the same as mass media.
    There the comparison to mass media ends whilst the adds are much the same, anti add material that is dominant on the internet was largely absent on mass media. Anti add material being;

    Real peoples reviews of shitty products
    The truth about distorted or even censored stories
    More accurate political coverage
    Better awareness of what is going on in the world
    Global access to (apart from the language barrier) all manner of people and their opinions
    Access to the real opinion of the majority rather than the mass media B$ version
    News stories that don’t die after a day to be buried and forgotten by mass media
    Mass media advertising as news exposed for what it is
    False mass media stories exposed as lies
    The creative commons http://creativecommons.org/
    Wikipedia (special mention)
    Countless forums
    The peoples art through nearly random effort brings up more creative diamonds in a year than all grogan (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=grogan) art darlings of the rich and greedy has ever created.

    Sure there is a lot of crap out there mass media sites, astroturf, bad political web sites, PR=B$ web sites but in the end it is outnumbered by thousands to one by creative, educational, truthful, informative sites and of course outnumbered by millions to one by real peoples opinions not Orwellian lies of mass media double speak.

  • Haystack

    “Those who own private property get to decide how and when said stuff is used by others. If others don’t like the rules, they don’t have to use the stuff and can devote their time and resources to other options. ”

    And how many times have you had your Disinfo account shut down? *g*

  • Andrew

    A corporations is not an individual, so its property isn’t private.

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