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Prologue to a Farce: Communication and Democracy in America (History of Communication) Paperback – December 29, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

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"Mark Lloyd has written arguably the finest introduction to American media policy history I have read. Featuring an original and compelling argument, Lloyd draws not only upon extensive research but on his many years of experience as a public interest advocate. Prologue to a Farce should be required reading for media students, teachers, practitioners and concerned citizens nationwide."--Robert W. McChesney, author of The Problem of the Media


"A passionate, thoughtful account of our society's failure to use communications media in ways that enlarge democracy. A book for citizens as well as scholars of media and politics."--David Thorburn, professor of literature and comparative media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Lloyd . . . has both law and journalism credentials and experience, and here he offers a critical history of American telecommunications and media policy. His theme is corporate domination, repeated with each succeeding technology, and how it prevents the media from offering true public value. . . . Lloyd offers a lot of food for thought. Highly recommended."--Choice

Book Description

The cure for an American media where market interests have usurped democratic participation

Inspired by Madison’s observation, Mark Lloyd has crafted a complex and powerful assessment of the relationship between communications and democracy in the United States. In Prologue to a Farce, he argues that citizens’ political capabilities depend on broad public access to media technologies, but that the U.S. communications environment has become unfairly dominated by corporate interests. 

Drawing on a wealth of historical sources, Lloyd demonstrates that despite the persistent hope that a new technology (from the telegraph to the Internet) will rise to serve the needs of the republic, none have solved the fundamental problems created by corporate domination. After examining failed alternatives to the strong publicly-owned communications model, such as anti-trust regulation, the public trustee rules of the Federal Communications Commission, and the under-funded public broadcasting service, Lloyd argues that we must recreate a modern version of the Founder’s communications environment, and offers concrete strategies aimed at empowering citizens.

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