The Essay..
March 15, 2010
Mrs. Smith

Effects of Government Control - Concerning media

           We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York TimesTime Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years – David Rockefeller” (Jeanne). The issue that surrounds American citizens today is now revealing itself to the public. The discretion of the newspaper publications is the foremost reason as to why the average American is, and will remain ignorant. 1984, by George Orwell is a novel that illustrates the importance of self thought and opinion. In the novel a man named Winston is controlled along with the rest of the country of Oceania by the Party or government.  Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow depicts modern day society during a terrorist attack directed at the United States. Marcus, the protagonist in the story, uses technology to fight back against government prosecution. Due to several disturbing scenes from both texts, the reader can infer the idea that the government is secretive and tricky. In addition to this, by creating a society where certain things are monopolized, it creates a distortion on the average citizen leaving them uninformed and unaware. This usually leaves the government with the upper hand when it comes to what people can and cannot know.  In comparing the two novels, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and 1984 by George Orwell, the reader finds news media and political authority becoming excessively autocratic, therefore determining the intelligence of its followers. In the near future, by regarding these texts, it seems as though the erroneous actions of both totalitarian systems will be suppressed from the people, in order to keep society amiable. 

         Currently, United States media is controlled by ten major corporations (Big Ten). It has come to the point where individuals no longer feel as though information is a hundred percent correct. This feeling of unreliability upon possible counter factual information, as seen in the two novels fosters an intense curiosity or rather longing for the truth. In Little Brother the youth generation, mostly commanded by Marcus, created an alternate more definite source of information, the Xnet. The system is completely anonymous, “You could wiretap it all you wanted, but you'd never figure out who was talking, what they were talking about, or who they were talking to,” (Doctorow, 51) making its users feel safer about their conversations. Another effect of media monopoly is that information tends to spread a considerable amount faster. Barbara Stratford published an article pertaining to Marcus’s dilemma in the Bay Guardian where his photo was shown on the cover, “stacked in a high pile next to a homeless black guy,” (Doctorow, 211) open to the public. By the end of the week most people could say that they had seen this photo, “Just turn to page 5, OK? They did. They looked at the headline. The photo. Me,” (Doctorow, 211). This availability is what most news corporations are striving for. With only one company publishing information, it is spread faster and more efficiently. The factuality may be irrelevant, however, the speed, as seen in 1984 is an advantage. Tele-screens, radios, and the newspapers were all directly linked to the Party. Every morning, “Winston sprang to attention in front of the telescreen, upon which the image of a youngish woman, scrawny but muscular, dressed in tunic and gym-shoes, had,” (Orwell, 13) appeared. The party had control of people through every source that today we think to be regular television or the everyday newspaper. The Party made certain that objection with clear evidence is impossible. Every article was amended, ensuring, “every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct,” (Orwell, 16). With that, the Party remains inerrant, the people, still followers. Today, there are an abundance of topics that citizens are kept in the dark about. For instance, there has been a major decrease in the amount of major corporations that control United States media. This gives one person the responsibility for an entire population. The decision of one man  could change the minds of the approximate 308,824,912 people that currently live in the United States (United). The entire situation can be put into a potato analogy. The Irish people’s main diet relied upon potatoes; the government’s main export was potatoes. Potatoes were attacked and unable to be grown due to an airborne fungus in 1845, approximately 750,000 people died (The Irish). Due to Ireland relying so heavily on potatoes and not having a diverse agricultural diet and export, they were doomed. Monopolized media control seems inevitable, and judging by history, the results do not seem to lie in the best interest for the American people. 
(Media Ownership)
In 1993 there were fifty corporations that controlled the majority of United States media. The decrease in corporations, over time, is evident in the photo above. Fifty – five corporations have either merged or been bought by others. Each lost corporation means the less people that are monitoring the information being sent to the public. Fewer corporations means fewer views on subjects, meaning less reliability.

           The government, in all senses, is the organization that governs political authority. These two novels reveal the fact that not only does the government control law making and enforcement, it has always been controlling what its followers can and cannot know. In order to accomplish this, governments go behind the average citizen using delusive and sly methods. In 1984, the Party used vast amounts of propaganda or psychological manipulation primarily directed to ensure that individualistic thought is beyond the boundary of possibility. Every citizen is under constant surveillance, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU,” (Orwell, 1). Though Big Brother is non-existent, he was the autocrat in this situation. Telescreens were other methods to ensure that citizens were following the order of the Party. The function of the telescreen was like that of a camera, it “received and transmitted simultaneously,” (Orwell, 1) providing a constant, but random video feed to the Thought Police. By smothering people and not allowing them to disobey the law, no one went out of their way to gain information for this purpose. The Party also makes certain, that every generation is completely compliant with the laws. To do this they urge children to become spies. The Party used “careful early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that was dinned into them at school and in the Spies and the Youth League, by lectures, parades, songs, slogans, and martial music, the natural feeling had been driven out of them,” (Orwell, 27) enabling them to be perfect soldiers. Apathetic children become vile “ungovernable little savages,” (Orwell, 10) eventually turning over their own parents to the Thought Police for thought-crime. This benefited the Party in the sense that, each generation was completely loyal, and “produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party,” (Orwell, 10) or seek out information in order to do so. Little Brother, more of a modern day, futuristic novel, highlighted the back roads used by the government and its branches to achieve conformity. Although a controversial subject on whether or not the U.S. government was the cause of the bombing of the Bay Bridge, terrorism proved to be a quick scapegoat for the detainment of Marcus Yallow and his acquaintances. During their time in custody, torture and rewards were used to get prisoners to reveal secrets. Threats such as, “we'll be watching you everywhere you go and everything you do,” (Doctorow, 28) instill fear in a fifteen year old boy. By doing so, some are made to feel intimidated and no longer wish to defy ruling, with factual information. The entire situation of innocent imprisoned people can be related to historic experiences. For instance, the Germans managed to execute over six million Jewish persons before any other country was aware (“The Holocaust”). The United States convinced the entire population that Fat Man and Little Boy were going to be dropped on military zones only. Instead they were used as tests on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively (“The Manhattan). However, before the world knew about the two atomic bombs, they were top secret material, also known as the Manhattan Project (“The Manhattan”). Taking into consideration the examples stated, it is clear that government control is not always a favorable decision.  

           In the future a government as controlling as the Party in 1984, a completely functional type of society is what seems to be developing today. The media will have a more profound effect on the people, in the sense that information will always be correct. NBCBBCCNBCFOX news, will all merge into one, giving society only one source of information. People, as seen in 1984 will perceive the information to be genuine. A government will form that is keen on having an inerrant policy similar to that of the Party. In doing this, it also means that media falls into the hands of the government. Brainwashed from monopolized media, citizens will be left in the dark and countries will form extreme isolated policies, to remain a war free world. As said in Little Brother, “The government. They monitor it all now,” (Doctorow 52) is what will happen in the distant future. Concepts will become too much of a hassle to object against and the government will control what is thought, let alone known.

This video shows how accurate the two novels were when describing how their governments manipulated the people. It highlights techniques that might have been used in Russia or the United States by the KGB, a Russian Committee for State Security. 
           From the two novels, it seems some, have come to realize, the effects that media has upon citizens. 1984 was a dystopian society, which if this country does not deter from, might become a reality. People must become more aware of how the government operates, and instead of voting for television shows, must learn more about who is being allowed to run the country. 1984 and Little Brother, though fiction, express how the government uses its resources to manipulate and control the minds of its followers, using the media as its most definite way to spread knowledge. In comparing the two novels the reader finds news media and political authority are becoming excessively autocratic, therefore determining the intelligence of their followers. In the near future it seems as though the erroneous actions of both totalitarian systems will be suppressed from the people in order to keep society amiable.