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War is good for the broadcast media business

by Critical Commons Manager

A megalomaniacal international media mogul (Jonathan Pryce), perhaps loosely modeled on Rupert Murdoch, does not merely report the news, his media corporation creates it by fomenting worldwide terror, murder and war, then reporting on it using all available (non-digital) media forms. In this unlikely and anachronistic post-cold war narrative, agents of the British and Chinese governments work together to defeat a media baron intent upon provoking war between the two countries in order to secure 100 years of exclusive broadcast rights in mainland China. Although the film was released in December 1997, it fails to anticipate or even mention the rise of digital networks as a rival to the existing model of broadcast journalism and global satellite communications. Even the film's one stereotypical computer hacker, a former "student radical at Berkeley in the 60s" turned amoral technoterrorist (played by the great Ricky Jay) is concerned only with hacking into satellite communication and GPS navigation systems to exacerbate a military standoff between China and the UK, which had, in the real world, recently completed Hong Kong's handover/reunification on July 1, 1997.

A media mogul seeks absolute power in Tomorrow Never Dies

A broadcast media mogul echoes Citizen Kane echoing William Randolph Hearst when issuing a declaration of principles to report the news without fear or favor

from Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Creator: Roger Spottiswoode
Distributor: MGM
Posted by Critical Commons Manager
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