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Hardcover Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times Book

ISBN: 0252024486

ISBN13: 9780252024481

Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

An updated edition of the "penetrating study" examining how the current state of mass media puts our democracy at risk (Noam Chomsky). What happens when a few conglomerates dominate all major aspects... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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Rich Media...: Deep Insights Into Serious Problems

Few books draw the much deserved praise heaped on Robert McChesney's trenchant analysis of U.S. mainstream media, Rich Media; Poor Democracy. The book's champions include Moyers, Chomsky, Zinn, Ehrenreich, Nader, Wellstone, Bagdikian, Hightower and others. It was from reading writings such as theirs that I had thought myself well informed on the negative effect that the mass media have on our politics, culture and freedoms. But this book came as a surprise; the situation is worse than I realized. McChesney's analysis is a valuable contribution to any of us concerned about the health of our democracy.The author's approach to his subject will satisfy the most demanding scholar yet hold the attention of the average reader. He shows the media to be a key antidemocratic force, owned as they are by billionaire corporations serving their own interests and those of others like them.McChesney gives details:One example of how democracy is so diminished has been the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1995. Where public participation and open debate were called for, the public was largely kept in the dark. The media are good at explaining complicated issues when it is in their interests to do so. This is not the case in the current switching from analog to digital technology.Digital broadcasting can add computer capability to TV sets and link them to the World Wide Web, a huge boon for advertisers. Most cities' portion of the airwave spectrum now used for their 5-8 channels could accomodate up to 70 channels using digital technology. The marketing potential here is tremendous. All forms of selling through broadcasts now amount to $45 billion a year. By 2003, digital TV alone is expected to generate $60 billion a year in sales. This is power.Our government is charged with regulating electronic media. In short, broadcasting is a public trust and in the past the public was allowed its say. Indeed, as McChesney recounts, a vigorous public participation and debate did precede the adoption of the Communications Act of 1934. It is beside the point that the efforts, of educators especially, aimed at curbing commercial abuse, ultimately failed. The people did have a say.Awarding new outlets today also should have involved an informed and participating public with open debate. But heavy lobbying (and generous contributions to both major political parties, not to mention the reluctance of elected officials to criticize an industry which can affect their image) resulted in a brief, sham debate and a rushed decision. Virtually all we heard about was the "wow" element of the new technology.At the time, the public was promised that high quality and low prices would result from competition between firms. Instead we see frequent massive mergers that further reduce competition. Radio is an example: by 1997, in each of 50 of the largest markets, 3 firms controlled 50% of radio ad revenues. In 23 of those markets, 3 firms controlled 8

Democracy and the Corporate Media: A Brilliant Critique

"Rich Media, Poor Democracy" is the most important recent book for anyone concerned with the real world of democracy under corporate capitalism in the year 2000. In a detailed, substantive, highly-readable study, McChesney explores how corporate control of the mass media shapes and constrains news and culture, sharply limits real freedom of the press, and undermines popular self-government as a result. McChesney shows how growing corporate media concentration threatens the open system of communication and culture that is vital to democracy - rule by the majority. I know of no other book that cuts through the neo- liberal market idolatry of our times. Yet McChesney offers hope: imaginative yet concrete ways in which citizens might contest the power of the corporate media and reclaim the best of our democratic heritage. A superb book, highly recommended.


This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the current decrepit state of our media and how it got that way.Robert W. McChesney builds a most convincing case that media conglomeration, de-regulation and "hypercommercialism" are having a devastating effect on participatory democracy. Media ownership is more concentrated than ever -- reaching oligopolistic proportions -- and serious coverage and debate of public issues (war, taxes, corporate crime, education, and pollution etc.) is disappearing right before our eyes.McChesney brillantly shows the important relationship between our media condition and the broader neo-liberal ecomomic order that's destroying democracy worldwide. But he also argues that it doesn't have to be this way. Our media system is the result of deliberate man-made policy not devine intervention. The radio and television airwaves in the US are PUBLICLY owned and can be reclaimed from the media elite. McChesney lays out some valuable suggestions for media reform that deserve a serious look from anyone concerned about the decay of the media and democracy.

Invaluable Information and Analysis About Media and Society

"Rich Media, Poor Democracy" is different than the usual media criticism in several important ways. It is accessible and readable. It is relevant and timely. It is populist rather than elitist. And the conclusions are irrefutable rather than subjective or interpretive. Anyone who is interested in why our media and entertainment sources are the way they are, especially in these rapidly changing times, has to read this book. Anyone who is interested in why our world is the way it is really ought to read it, too. For an analysis of today's media economy, you really can't find a better book.

Highly readable, lucid and impassioned

Bob McChesney's new book is an incisive and highly readable analysis of the relationship between the media and our political culture, and should be required reading for anyone who is puzzling over some of the most pressing questions of the day linked to citizenship and the future of democracy. With his characteristic attention to history and media scholarship, McChesney asks whether it is possible for our society to realize its democratic potential in the absence of media reform. He persuasively argues that citizens who seek to effect social change neglect media reform at their peril, and he offers concrete suggestions on where and how to begin. This is a lucid and impassioned book, in the tradition of Herb Schiller, Ben Bagdikian and Noam Chomsky, and an indispensable addition to any media education library.
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