LOS ANGELES — AT&T, one of the biggest corporate sponsors of “American Idol,” might have influenced the outcome of this year’s competition by providing phones for free text-messaging services and lessons in casting blocks of votes at parties organized by fans of Kris Allen, the Arkansas singer who was the winner of the show last week.
AT&T spammed a "'significant number' of its 75 million customers" yesterday with text messages advertising the premiere of American Idol. AT&T also pissed off a significant number of its 75 million customers in the process, and the company's justification for the blitz isn't exactly making AT&T sound smart when it comes to understanding what qualifies as spam.
Unfortunately, there has been scant coverage by MSM of the AT&T/NSA spying program and the pending court cases against it, despite the imminent threat this program and its legalization poses to communication privacy in America, and indeed to democracy itself. So why haven't the MSM given due attention to this serious threat to national security?
The answer probably lies in the ever-increasing trend toward corporate media consolidation in America. First, the MSM corporations including News Corp (FOX), General Electric (NBC), Time Warner (CNN), Viacom (CBS), and Disney (ABC) have all enjoyed joint ventures with AT&T. Since these few giant media corporations that control network news in America are driven largely by their bottom lines, they are not likely to persist in exposing a serious business partner to bad press. Consequently, such stories are played down or not covered at all.
Second, the behemoth media and telecom companies have strong monetary incentives to cooperate with the government -- such as the receipt of lucrative military defense contracts, tax breaks, and relaxed ownership and antitrust rules. For example, the recent merger of Bell South with AT&T was possible only because the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), presently chaired by Kevin Martin, a Bush appointee with close ties to the White House, approved the merger.