Murdoch and Berlusconi: the fall of two media empires and the network multitudes

The simultaneous fall of the Murdoch and Berlusconi media empires – symbolic of an epoch – is not a coincidence but part of a deep global change in which the exponential growth of horizontal communication networks plays a central role. In this global epoch, despite the thin line between new democratic opportunities and the old threats of control, unforeseen democratic movements are demanding a new kind of democracy.

The fall of the two most symbolic and influential media barons of the last thirty years might strike one as at most an important and pleasant coincidence. Here, I will reflect on the causes and implications of this double event and on how it could be a decisive model for a certain manner of exodus from the previous era. My argument is that what happened was no casual coincidence but rather determined by a movement of multitudes that, using networks of horizontal autonomous communication, has drained power from the vertical media empires. I address certain links between the two people in question in order to shed light both on their behaviour and the ideology that animates them. 

One thing is certain: nothing will ever be able to restore the terrible power that they have exercised throughout all these years.  Their extensive and infernal multimedia machines will continue to disseminate what is left of their disastrous influence, but progressively deprived of their essential energies (like the savoir-faire of how to create majoritarian political consensus), they will inevitably burn out or fade away. 

These highly personal projects of dynastic continuity, coupled with the shame they profited from for what they imagined would be in perpetuity, suddenly appears illusory and out of step with current times. The circumstantial causes behind these two illustrious disappearances at first sight appear dissimilar:

- Berlusconi inextricably intertwined three types of power: media domination, financial rule and political supremacy, all regionally localized, making their joint operation impregnable. 

- By contrast, Murdoch’s strategy was elaborated on the basis of a progressive expansion of his influence through an immense media network, acting in osmosis with other political and financial nerve centres of global governance. As we will see, the fall of his pre-eminence originates in the media and only appears fortuitous. 

 

Multimedia corporations and financialized global governance

The rise and consolidation of global media corporations is one of the keystones of the transition from industrial capitalism to cognitive capitalism. The processes of privatization open up spaces previously reserved for the traditional media of nation-states and naturally favour conglomerates and hybrids. The big network moguls found themselves in an ideal position to assume this new role; our two ‘heroes’ are their own illustrious self-promoters, integrating their capitalist and financial projects into this new strategy of biopower

Corporations in the media sector became cognitive factories where the complex and articulated machines of mass immaterial production operated. In addition, big conglomerates like Time Warner, Viacom/CBS, Mediaset or Canal+ are connected through a dense network of collaborative participation and constitute, de facto, an oligopoly; a privileged environment in which to create a meta-language obeisant to biopower and spreading standardized content. 

Television had already undermined the Gutenburg Galaxy,[i] replacing the typographical symbol with images, as the first great media visionary, Marshall McLuhan, hypothesized, and had already become the dominant mass media in the ‘60s and ‘70s without this preventing, however, the social upheavals of that time from emerging and even involuntarily contributing to their propagation. 

In the meantime, privatization generated an enormous proliferation of television channels whose abundant production found a socially fertile terrain in the political flux of the ‘80s, which saw the rapid growth of single-parent families and young singles themselves (the latter accounting for around 25% of the US population in the 1990s).[ii] In this context, the daily number of hours spent watching television rapidly increased (4.5 hours in the US as against 2.5 hours in France at the end of the 1980s) on top of the time dedicated to other unidirectional media like the radio, the press, etc.  

 

Subjection and fear: dominant elements in biopower’s media framing[iii]

The idea of mass manipulation is certainly not new. As Hermann Göring stated in an interview with G.M. Gilbert on April 18, 1946 during the Nuremberg Trials: 

The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. […] This is easy. […] All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country. [iv] 

What is interesting are the techniques that were used by postindustrial media empires during this epoch. 

Information and entertainment, from which we get the famous neologism infotainment, are the legs of this mass-media cyborg. Biopower concentrated a particular effort in these two fields in order to create and enable the techniques of manipulation. In sophisticated ways, ‘framing’ was deployed – understood as the ability to create frames of interpretation and opportune associations and meanings in the minds of the viewers. 

Let’s take for example ‘reality shows’, an entertainment created with these goals in mind. One of its main supporters, the Dutch producer Endemol, invented ‘Big Brother’. Today, he is one of the owners of a consortium led, tellingly, by Mediaset and Goldman-Sachs. In this sense, Maurizio Lazzarato wrote in 1992 of the, “staging of information and public opinion that the [first] Gulf War unashamedly revealed in a series of  ‘fabrication processes’ that rapidly shifted to the staging of ‘real life’”.[v] 

In reality, today we are beginning to realize that it wasn’t only real life that was being staged, but the spectacle of psychological and social isolation experiments; a form of calculated torture that is, quite possibly, a plausible matrix for the interpretation of Abu Ghraib.[vi] What we are looking at, as Jean Baudrillard rightly evokes, is the attempt to strengthen the fusion of the ‘enslavement show’ with the spectator – a technique developed to solicit collective animal automatisms.[vii]

This media action led to paroxysms on Fox News in the period after the failed global coup d’état of the US administration,[viii] culminating in the campaigns to re-elect Bush and for the second Gulf War. In the first case, after the tenacious staging of a false neutrality continually highlighted by their ‘fair & balanced’ pop-ups, we saw Fox News’ masterful media coup announcing the victory of its candidate on the closing night of the polls. It dragged all the other networks into imitating it, thus taking out a decisive psychological mortgage on the controversy that would follow the Florida vote. 

In the second case, we witnessed the unlimited exploitation of the images of the World Trade Center in flames, with various media pundits hauntingly repeating keywords in a mantra, the systematic use of polls, music and graphics created ad hoc, and talk shows with the fire-breathing fascist Bill O’Reilly and his aggressive “Shut up!” against anyone who tried to contradict him, as revealed in the 2004 documentary Outfoxed, Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism.[ix] 

Manuel Castells wrote, “violence, broadcast over the communication networks, becomes the medium for the culture of fear communication power”.[x] In fact, the ‘production’, the commercialization and the daily and widespread dissemination of narratives and images of war, terror, violence and death are the leitmotif of nightly news and the other various transmissions from the media factory. The use of this media device has increased until it became a truly obsessive, continuous hammering after September 11. Messages were spread thanks to a meta-language created ad hoc to generate primary emotions and feelings; fear of the other, disgust and suspicion, all evocative frameworks used in classic ideological totalitarianism: the love of country, religious fundamentalism and the xenophobia so dear to many of our current ‘democratic’ leaders in Europe. 

As Castells states, “mirror neurons, by activating certain neural patterns, appear to play an important role in emotional communication”.[xi] Today, we have a build-up of neuroscientific evidence on how and how much the mass media can shape our mental processes, starting with A. Damasio’s findings on the influence that emotions and feelings have over reason and social behaviour.[xii] It is precisely on the basis of these thoughts and feelings that the process of political decision is formed. Added to this, we can include the discoveries made around the biological trait of mirror neurons,[xiii] the innate mechanism of automatic neural activation generated by the actions of those who surround us or by communication and which makes it possible to identify ourselves with the behaviour and intentions of others. The complex mechanisms triggered by mirror neurons are at the base of empathy and the evolution of language but, at the same time, make us vulnerable to political narration through media like the television: “mirror neurons produce the tendency to imitate in our brains and we are often unaware of it. They limit our autonomy with powerful conditioning that plays out on a social level”.[xiv] 

Over the course of this research, scientific evidence of the levels of conditioning have emerged and a new light has been shed on the efficiency of framing and other media conditioning techniques in a posthumous validation of the prophetic intuitions of Baudrillard and Debord in this field.[xv] Not to mention the validity of Michael Moore’s hypothesis when, in Bowling for Columbine, he highlighted the link between the use of violence in American media and the terrible massacre – the same could be said of what recently happened in Oslo. 

Not by chance, governance politicians hire communication specialists from multinationals, paid for with public money: “spin doctors” and “story spinners” that produce the ad hoc narratives broadcast by the media as illustrated by C. Salmon in his Storytelling. Bewitching the Modern Mind.[xvi] 

The rise to power: two parallel stories 

Returning to the parallel emergence of the two media empires in question and their respective creators, we need to go back to the ‘80s when a stream of privatizations and the attack on wages, employment and welfare began. It is during this time that the two began to gain visibility, when Reagan – who understood media, claptrap and cutting public expenditures quite well – sounded the first great charge of neoliberalism. Then Thatcher, whose neurons had already began to stiffen from epic antiunion and postcolonial battles, answered his call from London.

It is precisely in this period that the Australian Rupert Murdoch, who had earned the nickname ‘Dirty Digger’, started the transformation of the tabloids Sun and News of the World into official news outlets, extracting huge profits in the process. These are some of the ‘talents’ that Murdoch already had in common with Silvio Berlusconi, the other rising media star of his generation, as well as traits such as the lack of any scruples in liquidating adversaries and business partners and the populist perspective that in due course made them the natural allies of the Iron Lady. 

Murdoch will repeat the process in the mid-‘80s when he lands in Los Angeles, the Mecca of global media power, buys a major network, Fox, and creates Fox News that from then on will be put to the service of Bush and the Republican party. As far as Berlusconi is concerned, without going over his complex life story here, what remains most vivid about his ascent are the images from an old documentary on the cultural channel ‘Arte’ that showed him entering the ’94 political race with his media and managers and hoards of call centres transformed into a political weapon for the lightning victory of his new Forza Italia party. This is the perfect example of the use of massive marketing and mass vertical communication as a way to mould minds into accommodating a political and personal model. He successfully fused neoliberalism, populism, corruption and illegal business practices in a single crucible. 

His character perfectly incarnated the model: he flaunted his hardnosed business practices, vulgarity and aggressiveness like a street hawker under the guise of common sense. Not to mention the particular aura created by his innumerable trials and summons in various tribunals. 

Despite all this, we cannot deny the favourable conjunctures he has been smart enough to exploit, nor the risks he has taken, something he loves to show off in the euphoric wake of opportune situations like the famous 1977 photo that shows him with a .357 magnum revolver negligently resting on his desk. This photo was taken and was understood in the context of his friendship with Bettino Craxi, at the beginning of his rise in the media. 

The Dirty Digger and the Caiman – a figure immortalized in Nanni Moretti’s film by the same name – had the same intuition: the media power of television at its historical height was crucial to their political projects. In fact, when the two appropriated the medium of TV, the conditions for creating and exploiting ‘available brain time’ were more than favourable. Patrick Le Lay, cynical ex-director of the French channel TF1, claimed with some pride that it was this ‘brain time’ that was the product being sold to Coca Cola in the form of commercials. Both were the first to use this principle of persuasion, subliminal, compulsive and heavily tilted towards the dominant ideology, on behalf of the political establishment. 

If this operation became the insignia of that global era, this was due above all to its perfect fit with the socio-political developments of the ‘80s. Television was dumbed down with very little by way of resistance to the lack of social, political and cultural stimuli after a hard day of underpaid, precarious work, not to mention the marketing segmentation that generated the famous over-50 housewife, the privileged target of commercial and political ads. 

Though they shared the same intuition, their rise and later fall were inevitably shaped by their surrounding contexts of class relations and geopolitical situations: Berlusconi, driven by the need to avoid bankruptcy and prison time, took advantage of Italy’s political contingency in the 1990’s, together with his regional media reach, to access his country’s executive power. Instead, Murdoch applied a different strategy of associating his networks with the political class and global finance in a rise to a personal power that may be less blatant but even more consistent. The name of his group reveals the ambition: News International Corporation.

Manuel Castells maintains that network commutation, or ‘switching power’, resides at the heart of Murdoch’s authority: “the ability to connect different networks to ensure their cooperation by sharing common goals and increasing their resources”.[xvii] 

His 2007 buyout of the Wall Street Journal, one of the most influential voices in the financial world, seemed to confirm this hypothesis; while his attempt to buy into the world of social networks with his 2005 purchase of Myspace for $580 million (recently resold for $35 million), profoundly questioned it.  I’d like to suggest that the strategies that once worked in the era of vertical media are no longer effective in the era of the networked multitudes. 

The fall from grace 

In many respects, Murdoch seemed far ahead in the media hierarchy; he was the third man behind Bush and Blair in the war against Iraq. We could call him Rupert XIII, as this was his ranking in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’. Although Berlusconi has never been classified in this list, it would seem that he is poised to win 2011’s top prize for ‘Political Sex Scandals’ due to his noted sexual escapades with underage prostitutes. 

Berlusconi, even adding up all his media and political power, has never enjoyed this level of global influence; if anything his role in Italy, Europe and on the global chessboard has become ever more marginal. On a personal level, he has often made a fool of himself, calling a Social-democratic Member of the European Parliament a Kapo in full session and clowning around at various G8 and G20 Summits – a cruel and perverse clown, certainly, as emerged from the tragic demonstrations against the Group of Eight in Genoa in 2001, where Carlo Giuliani was murdered. 

However, we can begin to see certain common features in the falls from grace of Murdoch and Berlusconi.  Each of the three heads of Berlusconi’s hydra has been severed in a striking coincidence of events. His political power suffered two electoral major defeats in quick succession this summer: the local elections, where he is was humiliated in his own town, Milan, and the national popular referendums abrogating his government legislation.  The march of over 1 million women who took to the streets out of pure indignation was also telling. But despite these recent events, he is still the Prime Minister of a discredited government facing comatose institutional opposition, as in so many other European countries. A coma reflecting a model of representative politics whose media havoc seems to have to put itself out of its own misery.

Regarding his financial power, the humiliating blow of having to pay €530 million euro to De Benedetti, Berlusconi’s longterm media adversary, for the Mondadori fraud is also quite significant.  However, the fact remains that the most symbolic, most decisive and most irreversible loss of power has been through communication. It is irreversible, because his vertical media network, although reinforced through his preponderant control of state-run channels, is no longer the decisive factor in winning electoral campaigns. For the first time, it is precisely the strength of the multitude’s independent network communication that is substituting for the influence of nightly news and biased programming. This, I believe, is an irreversible historical development. 

For Murdoch’s part, it is ironically a leak published by a traditional media source, The Guardian, that will be fatal for him and that opened the first peephole into the backroom deals of his empire. A backroom based on a corruption of historical proportions involving Her Majesty’s decrepit governments, Scotland Yard, Secret Services, etc., in facilitating the intrusion and manipulation of personal databases from celebrities to anonymous victims of crime. In reality, these practices were doubtless already the common currency in the Murdoch archipelago and it is probable that we will see further revelations of the same sort in the future. 

Today, there is the impression that anything could happen, as expressed by Anthony Barnett in his article ‘After Murdoch’ when he says that populism has become a double-edged sword.[xviii] The Guardian’s uncovering of News of the World’s prying into the voicemail of a 12-year-old girl who had gone missing gave her parents a vain hope she still might be alive when, in fact, she had already been killed. This was taken as the double death of an innocent girl with Murdoch’s organization pulling the trigger. This child was a symbolic victim, recalling the symbolic act that took place in Tunisia, in Sidi Bouzid. 

Less surprising is the fact that Cameron chose one of Murdoch’s key men as his media consultant who, not by chance, is responsible for the corruption. We have already seen how Murdoch has had free access to the backdoors of 10 Downing Street: after Thatcher, he had a long relationship with Blair and finally a (fortunately) brief relationship with Cameron. He has always practiced lavish distribution on a wide political scale, having financed Hillary Clinton’s run for Senate and other Democratic candidates while simultaneously supporting Bush’s campaign for the war on/of terror. His own New York Post even supported Obama.[xix] This is just more evidence of the crisis of representative politics and of a political class that has gone awry. 

So, Murdoch and Berlusconi’s use of power for generalized corruption is a common trait: politicians, magistrates, public offices, lawyers… anyone who can be corrupted, while their media networks are the spokespersons of a securitarian discourse based on order and legality, up to the point of passing laws, or getting laws passed, for their own personal advantage. At this point, how can we be surprised by the fact that both share a strong sense of impunity? 

It is likely that they too were astonished by the sudden change of events. One could certainly object that they have a morbid sense of greed and probably weren’t aware of anything: Silvio occupied in his sessions of ‘bunga-bunga’ and Rupert spread thin between a young and adventurous wife, dynastic problems and the fragile acquisition of BskyB.  Dominique Strauss Khan was also used to impunity, and has recently been made a fresh political cadaver. Are we facing an epidemic ?  

ICT[xx] networks as a tool for the production of the commons 

I fully concur with the recent analysis of Judith Revel and Toni Negri, in which they highlight the common denominators of the social movements that have emerged from Tunisia to Spain, passing through England, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Syria and a growing number of important countries, including Israel: 

These are revolts born, in Egypt, Spain, or England, out of the simultaneous refusal of the subjection, exploitation and plunder this economy has prepared for the lives of entire populations of the world, and the political forms within which the crisis of this biopolitical appropriation has been managed. And this is also true for all the so-called “democratic” regimes. Such a form of government appears only preferable for the seeming “civility” with which it masks the attack on the dignity and humanity of the existences it crushes, but the vanishing of political representation is now at the point of collapse.[xxi]

Still, I’d like to add that the main and indispensable tool of these developing movements is precisely the autonomous, horizontal communication network of the multitude. The use of internet and its progressive integration with mobile networks, are breathing life into a new paradigm, as we shall see. This is the crux of the matter for democratic communication and also the main cause of the fall of media empires. 

The exponential growth of user-generated media such as social networks, blogs and the joining of mobile internet with the body (bio-hypermedia) are visibly generating an effect of critical threshold in which a new creation of the commons in all its forms – including revolt – are developing not only more and more rapidly and in vaster and vaster spaces, but are overwhelming the old world in ways and in locations that are quite unpredictable: first in Tunisia and now in Brasilia, Santiago del Chile and Tel Aviv. 

The fall of Murdoch and Berlusconi and their sinking ships fit perfectly into such a framework and complete it. It is evident that the influence, the pervasiveness and the mental formatting exercised until today by their mass media is in irreversible decline. 

The free multitude, through reticular infrastructures that it has learned to manage and control, has become an autonomous force of information, creation, cooperation, exchange and the generation of new meanings, i.e. the production of value that breaks the barrier of imperial governance’s vertical and hierarchical communication. With this understanding, the causes behind these two men’s fall are the same: the production of the commons renders their enclosing communication machines ineffective and throws their illegal operating means into relief. 

After “Murdosconi”: capitalism 2.0 and a new paradigm of bio-hypermedia 

Even though it is clear that it will be less and less possible to shape opinion with twentieth century communication technologies, we cannot say the same about the use of new technologies in twenty-first century governance. The example of Myspace, mentioned earlier, shows how the Murdosconi generation is shut out of the reappropriation of new media such as social networks. But the same cannot be said for the leaders of capitalism 2.0 that, in the end, are their heirs. 

Take for example:

– the tyrannical and paranoid celebrity, Steve Jobs, the ex-CEO (for health reasons) and cofounder of Apple, today the most valuable company in the world thanks to the iPhone, the iPad and its Appstore that are on an equal footing with Exxon. What better way to symbolize the fact that the new global fuel, cognitive fuel, is just as important as the old one.

– Marc Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, with more than 750 million of active users, who was received with honors by the Head of State in Paris in the spring of 2011. His business methods, every bit equal to Murdoch’s in cynicism, were recently illustrated in the film ‘The Social Network’.

– Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google, who, in their totalitarian anxiety to hoard all cognitive terrain, have declared that they activate more than half a million Android smartphones every day.[xxii] 

 

There is no doubt that we are up against a new generation that holds a part of the powerful tools of communication and that is the very essence of digital capitalism. The ambiguities of this position are hinted at in the title of my article, ‘Digital Capitalism and Cognitive Bioproduction: The Thin Line between Control, Capture and Opportunity’. [xxiii]

On the one hand, interactive media are fully conditioned by the political instances and media of cognitive capitalism: the tactics of viral marketing, the commercial and political use of social networks, multichannel communication and mobile applications are essential elements in their strategies. On the other hand, Zuckerberg and others like him know that their power is fragile and their kites are kept afloat exclusively thanks to the multitudinary wind from which they capture value through crowdsourcing.[xxiv] However, as noted, this wind cannot be managed as one pleases. In turbulent phases, these instruments become uncontrollable or easily replaced by new tools created by the commons of the internet. 

Introducing bio-hypermedia 

We need to remember that there are more than 5.5 billion active cellphones on a planet with a population of 7 billion inhabitants. Even if the spread of the iPhone remains relatively small in relation to these figures, other smartphones with internet connection are rapidly replacing older phones, as Google’s claims regarding Android show. We are facing the fastest, most capillary technological revolution in human history.

Bio-hypermedia is the birth of a new paradigm of internet-meets-body, prefigured by ‘always connected’ devices like smartphones, tablets and others,  invented in qualitatively and ontologically different ways to be infinitely more powerful than landline internet and the PC. This is the first media that interacts with our lives, freeing the exchange of information from the fixed time and place to which television and the PC are limited. Production, interaction and autonomous exchange are set free from the cocoon that was so popular in the thirty years of political and social change that we have just endured, a context that reduced and flattened perception and possibility. The ability to interact in the socially ubiquitous metropolis and in an environment of collective intelligence is already implicit in new technologies, including near field communication (NFC), object-oriented internet and augmented reality. 

It seems evident that our minds function differently ‘on the road’ and that it therefore interacts differently with networks. This is an important area for further research, already spearheaded by Antonio Damasio, who affirms that “the current digital revolution, the globalization of information and the arrival of the era of empathy represent the pressing examples that can lead to structural changes of the mind and the Self, attacking the cerebral processes that shape the mind and the Self”.[xxv] 

Certainly, governance will try and has already tried to use these technologies to its advantage, as we can see in the individual ‘profiling’ nowadays used for commercial scoping – a profiling that, without a doubt, will be used tomorrow in directly political ways. 

Nevertheless, this project seems difficult to get off the ground: revolts and multiple and varied signals of a diffused and intergenerational awareness, quite foreign to the previous generation of social struggles, are the expression of a generalized refusal to pay for a crisis managed with the sole intention of extracting value, expropriating common production and increasing rent. 

Political hacks are starting to threaten restricted network access. But it will not be difficult for them to obtain the support of ICT corporations. What will be difficult to handle is the implicit and paralyzing contradictions that these threats inspire. This is highlighted by the title the Economist chose for coverage of the London riots – the “Blackberry Riots”; an irresistible irony if one considers that this smartphone was the exclusive symbol of successful business executives until just a few years ago. 

Among other things, this means that bio-hypermedia is in the hands of a biopolitical movement that is difficult to stop. And that governance is facing the same scenario that has confronted Berlusconi and Murdoch: cognitive capitalism’s classic capacity to recover is, perhaps as never before, in trouble. 

It is precisely the awareness of this weakness of cognitive capital that is the harbinger of threats: a traditional identitarian implosion that is crystalized in a post-fascist, populist and ‘anti-systemic’ political expression that is emerging in nearly all of Europe and elsewhere. In addition, there is the second, possibly more dangerous symptom of the lashing tail of financial power that knows the danger it is facing, threatened with losing a control that it is not willing to give up. Once again, we experience fear mongering politics. Now that the imperial wars have lost control and that its designated and useful external enemy, Islamic fundamentalism, has been politically defeated by the Arab world itself, only the option of market terror remains. “Without us there is only chaos” is the threat voiced by these “institutional investors”. 

This is where the vital importance of the networked multitude will use its constituent power to stop this nefarious design, where it will be able to build new forms of democracy. We are facing an unprecedented change that will collectively involve not only our minds and our lives but also the very biosphere in which we live. 

 

This article was translated by Jason Francis Mc Gimsey.

 

Notes 


[i] Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy, University Toronto Press, Toronto, 1962.

[ii] Manuel Castells, Rise of the network society, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford, 2000, vol. I, p.356.

[iii] “A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation – that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes – that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events. In simpler terms, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences. They use these filters to make sense of the world. The choices they then make are influenced by their creation of a frame. Framing is also a key component of sociology, the study of social interaction among humans”, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_(social_sciences).

[iv] Gustave Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary. Farrar, Straus, 1947.

[v] Maurizio Lazzarato, “Reality shows: le sujet et l’expérience. Variations sur quelques thèmes benjaminiens” in Multitudes, 1992. Available online at: http://multitudes.samizdat.net/Reality-shows-le-sujet-et-l.

[vi] See “Bagdhad Central Prison” on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prison.

[vii] Jean Baudrillard, Telemorphose, Sens&Tonka Editeurs, Paris,  2001.

[viii] Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt, Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2000.

[ix] Robert Greenwald, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, MoveOn.org, 2004.

[x] Manuel Castells, Communication Power, Oxford University Press, USA, 2009, p. 417.

[xi] Ibidem, p. 145.

[xii] See, for example, Antonio Damasio, Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, Penguin, New York, 2005; The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Mariner Books, Boston, 2000; Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, Mariner Books, Boston, 2003; available only in French, L'autre moi-même - Les nouvelles cartes du cerveau, de la conscience et des émotions, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2010.

[xiii] Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia, “The Mirror Neuron System”, in Annual Reviews, Vol. 27: 169-192, July 2004.

[xiv] Marco Iacoboni, I neuroni a specchio. Come capiamo ciò che fanno gli altri, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino  2008, p. 180 [our translation].

[xv] “A recent longitudinal study of American children (2005) […] produced one of the most impressive empirical results supporting the hypothesis that media violence induces imitative violence […]. In statistical terms, the “wideness of the effect” relative to media violence and aggressiveness by far surpasses that observed in the relationship between smoke and lung tumors […] or exposure to asbestos and tumors”. Marco Iacoboni, op. cit., p. 180 [our translation].

[xvi] Christian Salmon, Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind, Verso, London, 2010.

[xvii] Amelia Arsenault, Manuel Castells, Switching Power: Rupert Murdoch and the Global Business of Media Politics A Sociological Analysis, Sage Publications, 2008, p. 489.

[xviii] Anthony Barnett, “After Murdoch, in OpenDemocracy, 2011. Available online at:
http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/anthony-barnett/after-murdoch.

[xix] Manuel Castels, op. cit. 2000, p546.

[xx] ICT: Information and Communication Technologies.

[xxi] Judith Revel and Antonio Negri, “The Common in Revolt” in Uninomade, 2011. Available online at: http://uninomade.org/commoninrevolt/.

[xxii] Except then shooting himself in the foot with the purchase of Motorola Mobility thus making Google his competition of his smartphone and tablet producers.

[xxiii] Giorgio Griziotti, “Capitalismo digitale e bioproduzione cognitiva: l’esile linea fra controllo, captazione ed opportunita’ d’autonomia, in Uninomade, 2011. Available online at:
http://uninomade.org/capitalismo-digitale-e-bioproduzione-cognitiva-lesile-linea-fra-controllo-captazione-ed-oppotunita-dautonomia/.

[xxiv] “The term "crowdsourcing" is a portmanteau of "crowd" and "outsourcing," first coined by Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired magazine article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing". Howe explains that because technological advances have allowed for cheap consumer electronics, the gap between professionals and amateurs has been diminished. Companies are then able to take advantage of the talent of the public, and Howe states that "It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing." A less commercial approach was introduced by Henk van Ess in September 2010: “Crowdsourcing is channelling [sic] the experts' desire to solve a problem and then freely sharing the answer with everyone”, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing.

[xxv] A. Damasio, op. cit., (2010), p. 224 [our translation].

About the author

Giorgio Griziotti, is an independent researcher on the political, cultural and social implications of technology. He is co-organizer of the seminar "Du public au commun" hosted in Paris by Le Collège International de Philosophie and a member of the Effimera collective.