The Press: A Business or a Power that Moves the People?

Samvel Martirosyan

Media researcher

Is media a business or not? This is a question. Is this a rhetorical question or not? This is the second question.

These are among those questions, forever debated, which even you find hard to answer for yourself, since every argument is immediately met with a dozen counter arguments and like this forever, continuously.

But talks about all of this are becoming increasingly absurd, since the brutal, capitalist, and I would say an “alligator-favoring” reality is strengthening its format without listening to us. And not only in Armenia — nearly everywhere.

This issue with respect to television has always been debatable, since from the beginning, it has been either a strictly business sector or the opposite. But in this case, television programs were dedicated to state propaganda, which has a basic explanation: a large audience and large expenditures. You either have to earn money the hard way or praise Brezhnev and Kim Il-sung, if there isn’t a special tendency to consciously create a format that will differ from these two trivial types.

You can continue to ponder like this. But let’s look at the issue from the other side. What happens when the media is viewed solely as a business? Here one can notice a few basic outcomes.

Modern capitalism, one of the worst and inhuman versions of which Armenia follows, places profit at the basis of economic relations. Even better is super-profit. All other circumstances are considered secondary. One of the other features of such “alligator-favoring” capitalism is that it strives to turn nearly all human relations into the economic.

Naturally, if media begins to be perceived as just another business, profit becomes its essence. And here one doesn’t need to think very long and hard: even the brainwashing elders in Ancient Rome knew very

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:92:]] well, if you perceive people as a crowd, they most and most enjoyably give in to their instincts. Then begins the long and desolate road to degradation. But of course such a mass is an army of the best consumers, who insatiably devour cheap products.

In such developments it’s obvious that we already have to forget that we could’ve debated such issues backstage.
·        Shouldn’t the press develop taste?
·        Shouldn’t the press itself continually develop?
·        Shouldn’t the press be a little bit ahead of its audience and guide it toward the good, the beautiful and the intelligent?

Of course it should, but not today and not in this society, since this is not only a question of the press. We have a social system the name of which we don’t even clearly know and we don’t realize on what foundation it rests — in Armenia, is it capitalism, anarcho-socialism, or something else? When Lenin was still alive and nearly healthy, it was acceptable to debate the good and the bad in different social systems. Today in Armenia, political parties themselves don’t even imagine what orientation they have. And when there aren’t conscious approaches to such issues, the press travels the path that is the most business-like and takes the least amount of energy.

Stay with us.

Samvel Martirosyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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