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Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media Paperback – January 8, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0805087291 ISBN-10: 080508729X Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; First Edition edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080508729X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087291
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Eric Klinenberg has written an extraordinary and powerful account of the devastating elimination of localism in U.S. media and journalism, and how Americans from all walks of life are rising up to challenge the great media crisis that grips our nation today. Brilliantly written and tightly argued, Fighting for Air is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand what is going on in this country, and why it is so important to our future."--Robert W. McChesney, author of The Problem of the Media
"Eric Klinenberg has given us a chilling report on how the American news media, increasingly concentrated, have made a mockery of the commitment to operate 'in the public interest, convenience, and necessity.' Admirably researched and lucidly written, Fighting for Air should serve as a wake-up call on the deafness of radio and television to communal needs." --Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio
"Big media conglomerates--in radio, TV and newspapers--have taken over local outlets all over America, silencing independent local voices. Eric Klinenberg has done a masterful job of researching what has happened to America's local news media. Fighting for Air is a must-read for anyone who cares about the role of the media in a democracy."--George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant!
"Fighting for Air is a richly detailed, compelling, and timely investigation into the problem of the U.S. media and what people are doing to take it back.  Klinenberg pulls back the curtain on complex media policy issues, with stories of real people, how they have been harmed by Big Media, and follows up with inspiring tales of underdogs who are fighting back and winning.  This book is a call to action to fight for a strong, vigorous, independent media."--Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Eric Klinenberg is an associate professor of sociology at New York University. Author of the acclaimed Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Klinenberg has also written for The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Nation, and Slate.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Harold Feld on January 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a participant in the "media reform movement" who has witnessed and participated in the events Klinenberg describes, I found his observations accurate and his analysis penetrating. I have full review on my professional blog. To give the teaser:

Anyone who wants to understand the media reform movement should buy this book. More importantly, this is the book to give your friends and relatives so that they can understand why the media reform movement matters, and why it will succeed in transforming the media landscape despite the multi-billion dollar forces arrayed against it.

Others have written excellent books on the rise of media concentration and why it sucks rocks. What makes Fighting for Air different, and therefore a must read, is that it chronicles the history of the media reform *movement*. Certainly you will understand by the end of the book why media concentration has inspired a movement of people dedicated to stopping further consolidation and reversing the effects of our increasingly centralized and homogenized media. But this realization comes through the telling of the stories of the movement -- its people, its victories, and its set backs.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Rose on January 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Klinenberg has provided a valuable service to Americans in his excellent historical and sociological study of media consolidation, its implications for access, content, and justice at both the national and local levels, and the growing movement to challenge consolidation. The work is a model of scholarship for a mass audience, meticulously documenting both the secondary literature and the extensive interviews Klinenberg has conducted with numerous industry and movement figures, while losing none of the immediacy of a compelling narrative and persuasive argument. Clearly and concisely Klinenberg marshals a compelling case.

My only criticism is that a more extensive discussion of the political economy of consolidation and its wider context in the US and international economies, and a more detailed critique of the failed libertarian economic paradigm which was used to sell consolidation to policymakers would be useful. But that would be asking for a much longer and more complicated book, and one which would probably not have done as admirable a job in explaining in simple and direct terms the complexities of consolidation and its dreadful consequences of American public life.

I recommend Fighting for Air as essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this vital area of public policy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The genie is out of the bottle. Over the past 15 years our radio and television stations, newspapers and magazines have been gobbled up by a handful of media conglomerates. Turn on the radio in just about any city in this nation and you will hear the same tired and unimaginative programming. Local content has largely been eliminated on a good many of these stations and the number of commercials has increased dramatically. In many of our largest cities media companies are allowed to operate up to 8 radio stations, 3 televisions stations, cable TV service and even the local newspaper. It is an alarming state of affairs to say the least! In his new book "Fighting For Air: The Battle To Control America's Media" author Eric Klinenberg brings these critical issues to our attention. While the American public has been asleep at the switch our President, the Congress and those who are supposed to regulate such matters have allowed companies like Clear Channel, Entercom, Citadel and Infinity to gobble up our local media. If you have grown tired of all of the canned programming and recognize the importance that local media outlets have played throughout American history then this is a book you should definitely consider.

So how did this happen? Over the past two decades our government has been "deregulating" media. At one time, no company was allowed to own more than one television station in a community. The number of radio stations were also strictly regulated. And the FCC would never have allowed a company that owned a major daily newspaper to own a television station in the same town. All of this began to change in the 1980's as broadcasters cried poverty and declared that they were having a difficult time turning a profit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
FIGHTING FOR AIR: THE BATTLE TO CONTROL AMERICA'S MEDIA examines how national radio shows are adjusted to 'sound local', how the media consolidation is hurting America, and how in fact there is a vanishing case for local representation in the media. The author's interviewed many programming directors, DJs, reporters and more for this book surveying the politics and presence of media conglomerates, FCC and legal influences on media regulations and ownership, and how stories are promoted or killed by special interests. Any college-level course in media studies needs this.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Barricklow VINE VOICE on February 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
EASY GO! That is a tag line for the players in Las Vegas. It is also a tag line for the press when it comes to democracy. In other words, the bottom line is democracy is too expensive.

The accountants, marketers, & investment bamkers have stormed the newsrooms and hijacked its mission - there is NO LONGER THE ILLUSION THAT PUBLIC SERVICE IS THERE FIRST MISSION. IT has become instead a mission to establish local momopolies. Jack up advertising rates, downsize the editorial staffs( & where possible, break up unions), shrink news rooms.

News is actually commentary and entertaiment, not local reporting. What used to be a public trust is now just a cash cow.

What has been lost for the citizen is what A.J. Liebling, legendary press critic, called diversity in ownership that promotes competition, creates opportunities for smaller companies, local business people, creative programming, and in its stead, no public benefit. In short its the journalism, not the news print, that should be the bottom line.

Now they are going after the internet spreading THE LIE that new technology has rendered the changes of internet consolidation obsolite. Net Neutality is in the fascist's crosshairs.

Speaking of Michael Powell, who never met a merger he did'nt like, or monopoloy for that matter; the public be damned was his attitude.

In short the checks & balances made possible by diverse competition are being eradicated. When it all comes down to it there will be 2 or 3 companies that essentially own access to our culture. It will be impossible to break up as THOSE MONOPOLIES WILL BE SO POLITICALLY POWERFULL AND WILLING TO SPEND UNGODLY AMOUNTS OF $$$ - THAT NO GOVERNMENT COULD STAND UP TO THEM.

Highly Recommended
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More About the Author

Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University, and editor of the journal Public Culture. His latest book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, was published in February 2012 by the Penguin Press.

The press reports that Going Solo "is causing a sensation." Time Magazine featured it as the #1 Idea That is Changing Your Life in the March 12, 2012 cover story. Vanity Fair called it "trailblazing." Psychology Today called it "so important that it is likely to become both a popular read and a social science classic." The New Yorker argued that the book "suggests that our usual perceptions about life alone get things backward." And the Washington Post explained that "Going Solo is really about living better together--for all of us, single or not."

Klinenberg's first book, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, won six scholarly and literary prizes (and was a Favorite Book selection by the Chicago Tribune), and was praised as "a dense and subtle portrait" (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker); "a remarkable, riveting account" (American Prospect); "intellectually exciting" (Amartya Sen); and a "trenchant, persuasive tale of slow murder by public policy" (Salon). A theatrical adaptation of Heat Wave premiered in Chicago in 2008, and Judith Helfand is directing a feature documentary based on the book.

Professor Klinenberg's second book, Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media, was called "politically passionate and intellectually serious," (Columbia Journalism Review), "a must-read for those who wonder what happened to good radio, accurate reporting and autonomous public interest" (Time Out New York), and "eye-opening ...required reading for conscientious citizens" (Kirkus). Since its publication, he has testified before the Federal Communications Commission and briefed the U.S. Congress on his findings.

In addition to his books and scholarly articles, Klinenberg has contributed to popular publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, Fortune, The London Review of Books, The Nation, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique, Slate, and the radio program This American Life.

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