As my loyal readers know, Network is one of the all time favorites of yours truly, a film worthy, IMHO, of belonging in the same league as Strangelove, Godfather I and Citizen Kane as great cinema forcing one to think differently about reality after seeing the work in question. Well, it seems Chayefsky wanted to have an ending even more prescient then the one in the film as his take on the news was prescient to a fault.
Chayefsky - "We are shooting for a third act in which the NETWORK becomes so powerful it is an international power of itself and even declares war on some country."
For Chayefsky it wasn't just about the TV network; he was obsessed with the idea of a multination corporation buying all of America's networks, making them the propaganda arms of these independent powers. This sort of corporate dystopia is very familiar to modern scifi and cyberpunk readers, but was less common in the 70s - especially on the scale that Chayefsky was making Network. While the final film is not exactly science fiction, Chayefsky was heading in that direction, including sketching out his vision of what calamties might befall America in the second half of the 70s:
- racial hysteria + jingoism
- police violence in the ghettos + barrios
- a consolidation of a United Front joining together all sections of the
- revolutionary, radical + democratic movements
- the sheer numbers of the prisoner class and their terms of existence make them a mighty reservoir of revolutionary substructures and infrastructures
Of course like all the best futurists Chayefsky was simply using the past as a guide; you can see the outlines of William Randolph Hearst's yellow journalism, which pushed America into war with Spain, in Chayefsky's original ending concept. He just took that idea - a media entity so powerful it can cause war - and extrapolated one step further - a media entity so powerful it can go to war.
When you think about it, 6 mega corporations run news in this country with the obstensive purpose to sell ads. The best way to do it is be sensationalist, sleazy, patriotic and fear mongering, characteristics The Donald leveraged to the max when beginning his successful run to get the GOP nomination. Also consider the fact the big 6 are connected directly or indirectly with the Military/Industrial/Congressional Complex, the money and power engine that keeps on giving thus helping the big 6 in transforming news into NOOZE, the "reality" show that misinforms 24/7 to keep us rubes quiet and in the dark along the lines of They Live sans the B&W sunglasses.
This infographic created by Jason at Frugal Dad shows that almost all media comes
from the same six sources.
That's consolidated from 50 companies back in 1983.
NOTE: This infographic is from last year and is missing some key transactions. GE does not own NBC (or Comcast or any media) anymore. So that 6th company is now Comcast. And Time Warner doesn't own AOL, so Huffington Post isn't affiliated with them.
But the fact that a few companies own everything demonstrates "the illusion of choice," Frugal Dad says. While some big sites, like Digg and Reddit aren't owned by any of the corporations, Time Warner owns news sites read by millions of Americans every year.