Are You Living Under the Hypnotic Spell of Big Media?

As a society, we’ve made a Faustian deal with big media, and it’s becoming critical that we understand it or end it.

Big Media is enjoying unprecedented profits because, like all prosperous enterprises, they create, manufacture, and deliver their product with unfailing regularity, and here’s the thing: Big Media’s customer is the advertiser … their product is YOU.

So, What Exactly is Big Media Selling?

Essentially, they auction off (to the highest bidder) what you’re giving them for “free”… your time and attention. Apparently, it’s pretty valuable. Year after year, Big Media rakes in billions of dollars for their efforts.

If you’re okay with this great, but understand the finer points of this deal because most of us have unwittingly made a Faustian deal with Big Media and we’re going to live to regret it … if we aren’t already.

Faustian Deal You make a deal which is immediately beneficial to you, but with the passing of time, will be disastrous.

We like to think — for the most part — we consciously choose where we direct our time and attention, and if we harbour this delusion, Big Media will happily continue their sleight of hand.

Consider …

From the humble beginnings of newspapers in the 1800s to the present, Big Media (radio, television, social media, etc.) has slowly but surely appropriated our biases, habits, purchasing decisions and beliefs. All this is clever, of course, but the real genius of this high-wire act is that we’re being manipulated like Pavlov’s dogs, and we don’t know it.

Consider this …

The most valuable thing you own is your life, and since your life occurs at the point at which you direct your attention, it stands to reason that you want to be in conscious control of that direction to the greatest extent possible. But are you?


  • On average, the typical American views just around three hours of TV every day. The majority of which is live programming.
  • The average person watches about 141 hours of TV per month. Assuming you reach the average U.S. life expectancy of 78, that’s about 15 years of your life.
  • How much TV are kids watching? Not asmuch as their adult counterparts, but they spend a lot of time looking at screens, mainly smartphones. Kids 8–12 spend 4–6 hours a day looking at a screen. Teens spend up to 9 hours.

How Times Have Changed

A long time ago, “sponsors” actually produced the content on television and radio shows, and the networks, in turn, would sell this “entertainment” to the viewers with the costs underwritten by the sponsors.

In today’s video land, the goal isn’t about delivering entertainment but sacrificial lambs. All media’s singular objective is to capture and sell your attention to advertisers, and to do so, they’ve devised all kinds of tricks to keep you watching. In fact, half the ads on TV promote more TV by inundating the viewer with whatever’s coming up next, followed by a never-ending stream of commercials aimed at conning you into believing that whatever they’re selling will dramatically improve your life.

People often say, “Oh, I don’t pay any attention to those commercials,” which is meant to imply that they’re somehow impervious to the pitch … au contraire.

Advertisers repeatedly badger the viewer with the same 10–15-second commercial because they know they’ll lose interest and consciously tune them out, which is precisely the intent.

Your conscious mind would never believe that eating “Happy Meals” would bring you and your family together in uproarious laughter or that the latest essence of “something” shampoo will transform your hair, in any way, to resemble the hair of the model in the commercial, but when you’re half zoned out your subconscious mind will buy into this crap, lock, stock and barrel … as this following story will illustrate.

“I know that everyone else can be easily manipulated, but NOT ME,”… or so I thought!

I’m not a huge fan of vodka, but I do love an occasional Bloody Caesar, which translates to about one bottle of vodka a year.

You can take my word for it that one vodka tastes the same as the next — after it’s mixed with Clamato juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, lemon juice and celery salt — and whether it be out of loyalty or habit, I couldn’t really say, but for over 40 years, I’ve always purchased the same brand.

Then it happened. One day, while watching a major sporting event — World Cup, Olympics, or something like that — a heavily advertised vodka commercial sparked a craving for a Bloody Caesar. I went to my bar to grab the vodka, and much to my surprise, I realized that I had unwittingly purchased a different brand several days earlier, not just any brand, but the very one that had been endlessly advertised on television for the past 10 days.

OMG … I suddenly realized that I’m just as easily manipulated as everyone else, only I wouldn’t have believed it until that moment.

That little revelation bothered me … considerably, and so, from that moment on, I swore off watching a single minute of television in real-time. 

That was about 10years ago, and since then, I haven’t had the slightest problem recording anything I want to watch so I can fast-forward through the commercials. When a sporting event is happening, I will invariably record it and then tune in 45 minutes or so after it begins. Knowing the outcome a few minutes later than the rest of the world doesn’t bother me in the least, and most importantly, I haven’t spent a single moment staring at a mind-numbing, idiotic commercial.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the fundamental laws of economics, so I don’t begrudge the advertisers their right to advertise, but I also have my rights, which is why I happily purchase a wide variety of commercial-free programming — and I would happily do so for any production I wish to watch. I don’t expect anything for nothing, so I’m okay parting with a few dollars in exchange for the sanctity of my time and attention.

So, here’s the thing: If you “willfully” choose to watch “regular” television, in real-time, that’s perfectly fine, just as long as you know its controlling effect on your time, attention and money. 

When you view commercial-laden content, just be aware that Big Media is not only dictating where you place your attention, but they’re programming you for a full 3-hours out of every 10.

As for me, there’s not a chance in hell I’ll freely hand over my “time and attention” for the media to auction off to the highest bidder … my time’s too valuable.

Life is about choices. Control is when you make them.