If we believe that an informed populace is an integral part of a successfully active democracy, writes Robert W. McChesney, then the commercial basis of U.S. media, in which a substantial number of media outlets are owned by a handful of corporations, is definite cause for concern. When corporations control the flow of information, he suggests, they will inevitably do so in a way that promotes their own interests over those of the citizenry. From an analysis of the corporate influence over the 1934 Communications Act to a discussion of how media convergence might kill off hope of the Internet bringing about a revolution, he debunks the myth of an objective, liberal media and emphasizes the belief that issues of media ownership should be treated as matters of public policy rather than strictly business.
About the Author
ROBERT W. MCCHESNEY is a research professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work concentrates on the history and political economy of communication, emphasizing the role media play in democratic and capitalist societies. While teaching at Wisconsin, he was selected as one of the top 100 classroom teachers on the Madison campus.