Odd correlation

The US Commerce department wrote this book in 1929. It’s an impartial description of radio systems and radio advertising in every country of the world, for the guidance of American advertisers who want to reach foreign markets.

There’s a STRONG and backward-seeming correlation between advertising and government style in Europe. The countries that we called “democracies” had total government control of broadcasting, with no advertising. The countries that we called “fascist” allowed advertising and paid local talent. In Denmark, usually considered the loosest and most “democratic” of all, the only radio station was operated by the Army!

In the western hemisphere the only variable was economic development. The richer countries (ABC, Uruguay, Cuba, Mexico) operated like US, with private stations focusing on entertainment, using and paying local talent, and buying ads. Other countries simply had no radio at all.

The same economic variable controlled Africa and Asia. Algeria and Egypt and Japan had private broadcasting; others had nothing at all.

The richer countries in the Commonwealth were a special case. Canada and Australia followed the British model of total government control, but South Africa was US style.

= = = = =

The ‘backward’ correlation may run in the same groove as the Fairness Doctrine. In simple terms, MEDIA CREATES WAR AND TYRANNY. When media runs unchained, the result is imperialism and torture. When media is harshly constrained, free thought has a better chance of survival.

Obviously there are other variables, especially innate ethnic and cultural tendencies. But this correlation works neatly for media’s part of the overall mix.

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