The National Security Act (NSA) created the CIA and other covert agencies in the executive branch. It was passed in 1947 and signed by Harry Truman. Allegedly the act was a post World War Two measure to counter the expansion of the Soviet Union. That was the government’s official public announcement about the reasons for the Act and the media was in lock step in its reporting of this reason. However, Gore Vidal and many other astute writers and historians know that the official reason for the Act had nothing to do with its genesis. Let me explain.
Many historians know that the United States was unmatched in military and economic power in 1947. The Soviet Union had been virtually destroyed in the War and that country had lost approximately 25 million of its people. The Yalta Conference was supposed to settle the issue of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe. Russia had been attacked 3 times in the 20th century through what is called the Polish Corridor and wanted security from further attack. So the military victories by the Soviet Union at the end of the War created the political reality of Eastern Europe. The United States only had a problem with oppressive Soviet style dictatorships, but did not have a problem with fascist regimes all over the world before and after the War. The NSA was the linchpin upon which the government operations went underground and was the birth pang to the military industrial complex that Eisenhower spoke about. What most people are not aware is that all of this was about corporate dominance and big business.
The Cold War was a result of a myth that was created by many economists because they firmly believed at the time that the War got us out of the depression of the 1930s and peace would bring us right back into one. In many respects the War did end the Depression, but what those economists failed to understand was that a lot of wealth was created during the War and because of rationing and military priorities, there was no place to spend the wealth. The pent up consumer demand and the production of consumer products kept us from experiencing a new depression even though 10 million male Americans were transitioning from the military to the private sector. The combination of economic predictions and corporate influence required that we be constantly at war and the Soviet Union had to be the target.
58 years later, the National Security State has metastasized into a horror for the United States and the world. The inevitable fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s was known by the CIA at the same time that Reagan was calling for massive armaments buildups to fight the “evil empire” The sad part of all this is that the United States since the War has maintained an open and covert policy of regime change and terrorism that has killed tens of millions of people throughout the world. And the reasons are not always sinister or based upon bad faith. Most of it has to do with the influence of corporations and their economists on the operations of government. The policy has also been a bipartisan one in which both Parties have “drunk the Kool-Aid.”
Businesses and rich people fund elections and they want their representatives to do their bidding. This is an institutional problem. Those in power have a tendency to lean toward self-interest as opposed to the public interest. It is basic human nature. The wealthier and more powerful the nation, the more it imposes the will of the wealthy elite upon its own citizens as well as other countries. What can we do about this?
As the co-founder of Air America Radio and a CPA venture capitalist, I believe I can speak with authority about what drives corporate interests and the media. The answer is quite simple. It is all about money. The major media are powerful companies some of which are conglomerates that have an interest in a wartime economy. General Electric Corporation owns NBC. GE is a major provider for the Pentagon and accordingly NBC has a major incentive to slant the news in favor of military expenditures. But, CBS and ABC have similar conflicts and they are equally as guilty. . How can concerned citizens cause these companies to respond and report the truth?
Air America Radio network was built on the premise that the radio industry had many underperforming stations owned by big media companies. These companies are Clear Channel, Infinity (CBS), and Disney (ABC). All of these companies are publicly traded and the management is accountable to its shareholders to maximize profits no matter what their political beliefs. Air America is now in 67 markets and reaching 60% of the radio audience primarily because the major radio corporations are giving Air America Radio some of their underperforming stations as affiliates. And the public is demanding liberal radio stations as evidenced by a Baton Rouge petition to Clear Channel recently. 1500 signatures on a petition by concerned citizens caused Clear Channel to convert an underperforming Baton Rouge AM station into all liberal Air America Radio.
John Conyers was not allowed a hearing room in the Capital to conduct his recent Downing Street Memo hearings. C-SPAN was unwilling to broadcast the Conyers hearing outside the Capital Building. The hosts on Air America Radio told their listeners to electronically sign a petition to C-SPAN demanding that they cover the event and within 24 hours 600,000 people signed the petition and Conyers got his hearing room and C-SPAN covered it. That is the power and influence that broadcast media has upon others and it is the formula for which all concerned citizens can influence the major broadcast media.
The best way to motivate executives of the corporate media such as CBS, NBC, and ABC is to threaten their pocket books. These media giants are completely dependent upon ratings to increase their advertising revenue. If their ad revenue goes down, their profits go down. If the profits go down, the stock value goes down. If the stock value goes down, the executive stock options are less valuable. It really is a house of cards that can fall if all of you are willing to participate. Here is what is necessary and I am not calling for a boycott. Just emails are necessary.
The most recent underreporting of the news by ABC, CBS, and NBC has to do with the Karl Rove matter. In addition, these networks have not reported responsibly about the Downing Street Memo and the 911 Commission deficiencies. If all concerned citizens would pick a position to complain about to the network news divisions and email them about this, you can count on the fear and greed factor of the corporate executives to respond. I am recommending to all the Internet blogs and people who have group mailings to send emails demanding that the network news divisions respond to their listeners. If everyone faithfully passes on the chain email, the networks will be barraged with millions of complaints. The fact is that the right wing has been organizing and implementing this approach for many years and it works.
So let’s all get busy writing to all our contacts to complain to the networks about the unreported events that have been hurting our country for almost 60 years. In the movie Wall Street, directed by Oliver Stone, the main character Gordon Gekko talks about the fact that “greed is good.” I may not agree with Gekko’s premise but I will say that greed will be effective to change the policy of the network executives. It is concerned people who have to motivate them.
Sheldon Drobny is Co-founder of Air America Radio.