use, referring to individuals who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium.” 13
In conjunction with the marginalization tactic in establishing what is fringe and what is not, mass media content managers – such as broadcast, newspaper and magazine editors, TV and radio station managers, and the like – make decisions on what will reach the general public. As of today, the vast majority of such managers and editors are under the thumbs of six mega-corporations. Their careers and livelihood are at stake if they make any programming decision that would anger their corporate overseers. This goes for both “liberal” as well as “conservative” news outlets – content managers, news anchors and celebrity hosts are not free to discuss whatever topic they feel like, nor in the manner they wish to. Many of them are extended multi-million dollar contracts not merely for their talent, but to buy their adherence to the demands and expectations of the media owners. If they do not perform their gatekeeper role – of controlling what gets covered and discussed on the airwaves and in print – to the satisfaction of their bosses, they will lose their lucrative contracts.
For example only five weeks after beginning a three-year contract with MSNBC, former Navy SEAL and Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura’s news- talk show was canceled and he was threatened with contract annulment. In his book Don’t Start The Revolution Without Me! – which he sent to 22 different publishers before finding one who would publish it, despite his going-record of three previous best selling books – he recalls his dealings with the MSNBC management.
From his book (emphasis added):
“Very early on, I had to tell MSNBC that they didn’t hire me to be a teleprompter reader. Unfortunately, that is basically what all these news- talk hosts are. All the stories come down from upstairs, even though the hosts pretend that it’s them. People need to understand that Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Keith Olbermann, and the rest are not these individual rogues setting their own agendas. Those guys will deny it and say they have artistic freedom. And they may put their little spin on whatever the subject is, but did you ever notice it’s pretty much the same stories talked about on every show? You’re just getting four different “opinions” on the same topic that day.
“I know this from personal experience. MSNBC tried to pablum-feed me the subjects they wanted talked about, and I began to fight them on a daily basis. Erik Sorenson might have been the channel’s president, but he was beholden to a leadership cadre that included the president of NBC News – and the man above them both, who used to run the Plastics Division for the network’s owner, the General Electric Corporation [GE].