November 8, 2017
You just don’t fuck with Mickey M if you know what’s good for you.
After the Daily Stormer got shoah’d from the internet by various online infrastructure companies, a barrage of shills made the argument that “it’s fine, because free speech doesn’t apply to private businesses.”
This ridiculous notion means that as megacorporations continue to increase their power over every aspect of our lives, the government will have absolutely no way to preserve our basic freedoms.
Now we have another little preview of what we can expect in the dystopian cyberpunk future the “conservatives” seem to be hoping for.
On Sept. 24, The Los Angeles Times published an investigation by Daniel Miller concerning Walt Disney’s financial relationship with the city of Anaheim, and the subsidies and tax breaks its theme parks there have received. There were two other articles that followed on Sept. 26, one which detailed how citizens and politicians are starting to take issue with what they say is a one-sided relationship between the Disneyland parks and the city in which they are located. The articles are thorough, detailed, and paint a picture of Walt Disney as not that different (from this non-expert’s perspective) from the various NFL team owners that often get cities to subsidize new stadiums in exchange for not leaving town and then keep most of the riches.
Whether or not these pieces are 100% fair or accurate, I will admit that I never would have read them had the Mouse House not retaliated against The LA Times as a result of their publication.
In America, the bigger private corporations already have a better ability to attack their enemies than the government does.
Who’d want to have Google as an enemy?
Enemies of the megacorp must be annihilated.
On this past Friday, The LA Times reported in its holiday movie preview articles that its writers and critics were refused admittance to press screenings of Thor: Ragnarok as punishment for those two above-noted articles from the previous month. This news swept through the media circles like wildfire and now various publications (and individual critics) are boycotting advance screenings and/or overall coverage of Walt Disney films and television shows until the ban is lifted against the LA paper. Four of the more prominent critics groups are now removing Disney’s 2017 slate from awards consideration until the ban is lifted. Heck, director Ava DuVernay is joining in support, which will make things tricky if the ban isn’t lifted by the time her own A Wrinkle in Time debuts in March of next year.
This isn’t the part where I rant about the evils of the Mouse House and/or how it’s pretty damn dangerous to attempt to silence and intimidate journalists in this current environment, except to note that it’s a pretty terrible look for Bob Iger if he does indeed choose to run for president in 2020. I won’t pretend that Walt Disney is a 100% morally virtuous company that (for example) pays every employee at every park an abundantly large wage with copious benefits and all that jazz. And, playing devil’s advocate for a moment, it’s entirely possible that Miller’s reporting was inaccurate and one-sided enough to merit genuine outrage from its target.
I’m sure (((Bob Iger))) would make a great president. But he’d make an even better concentration camp inmate.
But, putting morality aside for a moment, this was a case where the practical response to the blacklist/ban was to turn a local business article into a national news story. Miller’s first big piece on the parks was the most-read article on the LA Times online sites last Friday, and it was entirely due to news spreading about the Thor Ragnarok ban. To quote a prescient line from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again, freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, especially when no one is listening.
The Forbes journalist here seems to be mostly complaining that Disney handled this in a clumsy way, rather than pondering on the concept that powerful companies will someday be able to simply silence all their critics purely by threatening to withhold their products and services.
The fact is that we’re in a situation where a bunch of companies are basically competing for total world domination. Amazon, Google, Facebook and others are reinvesting most if not all their profits into research and development, aggressive pricing schemes and the purchase of other companies in order to take over other industries.
If this is allowed to continue, it’ll quickly come to a point where even major media conglomerates won’t be able to criticize these organizations freely without destroying their own businesses. Could the New York Times continue to operate very long if Google de-listed them from their search engine and news aggregator? Probably not.
All of these companies need to be regulated as public utilities or broken up under anti-trust laws.