Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1400s, the written word in forms of books and tablets has been available for the literate masses to read. But the real influence of publishing was limited to those wealthy enough to own a printing press. Historically, the wealthy have had the ability to distribute content in forms agreeable to them to the masses. The Federalist Papers are a terrific example of the ability to affect public opinion through the written word. This ability enabled elites with the ability to dramatically affect and influence society on various issues of the day as well as in elections and even buying patterns.
Corporate empires emerged early in America like the NY Times and Hearst Companies, where billionaire influencers were able to buy ink by the barrels and paper by the forest to capture eye balls and influence public opinion.
From direct movements like the founding of a nation and the Federalist Papers to more subtle ones that led to women’s suffrage and Prohibition, elitists with access to printed presses have found unimaginable opportunities by making printed words available for readers.