CBS All Access is an on-demand subscription streaming service. It’s a lot like Netflix, but CBS also serves as a news provider for many people. News and entertainment both constitute forms of media, so this makes some sense. However, CBS All Access is now available via Amazon Prime. This poses a problem because it means that there is little separation between the media, which is already a business operation in the United States, and other sectors of the business world.
In authoritarian countries like China, people who work in the media find themselves in the public sector. The problem in this case is that the government can manipulate the media. As a result, the media cannot effectively criticize the government. Without criticism from the media, regimes like that of China are left unchecked. The ruling class in China has control of the media there, so the regime is able to maintain popular support. Due to its power over the media, the voice that reaches the population is the Chinese government. This hinders access to any ideas that diverge from those put forth in the news with the government’s approval.
In the United States a similar problem exists, but it is more nuanced, where the ruling class is slightly removed from the government. Rather than occupying important elected offices themselves, the ruling class typically influences elections by financially supporting candidates that are willing to protect and expand their powers.
The government does not necessarily control the media in the United States, but the same people that the government works for control the media. If there is any significant difference between a country’s government controlling its media and the wealthy people in a country controlling both its government and its media, it is that the latter is more difficult to see. This is because the latter adds another layer that is less apparent. The interests of the affluent people and others who aren’t as fortunate oppose each other. The people who aren’t as lucky are employed by the rich, and they want higher salaries to support themselves and their families. In contrast, prosperous people would prefer to pay their employees less in order to maximize profits for their companies.
One would think that underpaid workers would be unable to purchase any of the products they made, leaving the companies with no customers. However, two key support systems contribute to the solution of this problem for the executives; their workers either go into debt and purchase the products anyway or they seek food stamps from the United States Government paid for by the American people. When the executives control the media, it in turn speaks their views. The media works in favor of the powerful who can oppose the best interests of other people.
The executive officers of corporations like CBS see themselves in solidarity with other members of the ruling class. They share a common goal of keeping people apathetic enough to be oblivious to the heist causing their daily struggle to make a living. The media has always worked to meet the needs of the wealthy people that fund it.
By joining forces with CBS, Amazon has demonstrated how corporations and their executives can work together to consolidate their power and influence over the American people. The masters of the United States unite in order to ensure that their workers do not.