Having advertisers pay so that we have free access to media is not a new idea. This is how we initially had free radio and free television. However, we are now willing to pay for satellite radio and for cable television because we found there was a catch. Advertisers could influence the programming which interrupted their ads. Since they wanted many eyeballs, the programming had to cater to the lowest common denominator. Thus, it had to focus on entertainment that the mass audience preferred over enlightenment. Could you imagine a programme called Enlightenment Tonight every night in prime time and a rival network coming up with Inside Harvard to compete? Two billion people watch the Oscars - how many people would watch the Nobels? To compete in this market, news and documentary programmes, which should be based on enlightenment, turn to entertainment. They have to be "interesting" and, alas, what most of us are interested in is drama, especially drama in which other people are suffering. If it bleeds, it leads.

      The internet need not pander to the ghoulish taste of the mass market. The advertisers clearly separated by a line on the right of the screen have no influence on the information on the left of the screen. YOU control what appears on your screen. YOU are the active agent with this media - nothing appears on your screen unless you chose something from the huge smorgasbord of information that the internet lays out for you. Just as radio and television is requiring you to pay for whatever you select from a set menu, you can choose to dine at your leisure with no expense at this rich smorgasbord. Without media distracting you with manufactured problems for which they happen to have the solution, you can focus on real problems and the information which helps you solve them. You can focus, for example, on the very real problem of global governance.

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