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The Future of Media: Resistance and Reform in the 21st Century

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1583226797
ISBN-10: 1583226796
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The continued consolidation of media outlets, increasing governmental secrecy under the guise of national security, and the unprecedented connection between the government and a quasi-official ideological press have formed the perfect storm of threats to American press freedom, according to the contributors of this engrossing collection. The book was inspired by the first National Conference for Media Reform in November 2003, which was itself inspired by the Federal Communication Commission attempt to loosen rules on broadcast ownership, threatening further media consolidation. Contributors, primarily policy experts, lament restrictions on coverage of corporations owned by media outlets, the focus on sensationalism instead of government actions, unquestioned media support for the war in Iraq, clandestine government subsidies to "commentators" pushing government policies, and other troubling trends that don't bode well for the role of a free press in a strong democracy. Contributors include FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, journalist Bill Moyers, and Newspaper Guild president Linda Foley. Readers concerned about the freedom of the press will appreciate this thoughtful look at possible reforms. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583226796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583226797
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,776,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
There is a simmering undercurrent of media activism brewing out there amongst the public. Plenty of regular folks are getting fed up with the corporate consolidation of media outlets, with the resulting sameness of content, the relentless advertising and push for profitability, and the disappearance of localism and dissenting viewpoints. Though this book is unlikely to be a widespread influence on the general public, this is exactly the type of screed that can get its readers interested in learning more about the severe and growing problems in the American media, and to think about making a difference as media activists. Supervised by the leading academic expert on such matters, Robert McChesney, this book collects essays and research on the political and economic forces that have resulted in the sorry state of today's radio, TV, newspapers, and internet access.

The biggest topics of discussion are FCC ownership rules and spectrum allocation; corporate collusion and the disappearance of competition; and constitutional and ethical issues such as the public interest standard and open access to information. Since this is a collection of essays by different experts and activists, there are a few missteps here, particularly a couple of entries in Part 2, which get much too specific and occasionally condescending when discussing exemplary local issues. Also, overall the chapters get rather repetitive as the different authors tend to build from the same basic information and concerns, especially FCC regulations and media ownership patterns (it's important to understand these things of course, but some editing of repetitive statements in this book would have been an asset).
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Most Media Theory works I read so far show either technological determinism (McLuhan or Kittler) or Culturalist determinism. McChesney, Newman’s and Scott’s collection of essays is an exception and tries to develop ideas for democratic reform of mass communication in the US. These are examples of the “control analysis” discipline of Media Studies. The authors deconstruct myths of the American journalism and myths of the Internet.
The author start showing that voting in the US is determined significantly by class. Mass media participate in the depoliticizing and demoralization of the working class in the US. The mass media lied on the war in Iraq and the American people approved a war under false pretences. There are several factors that led to this situation. There is government censorship lack of disclosure of news by the government. There is a tendency of media giants to exalt commercial value.
Despite the myths of the Internet, the Web has not led to the expected freedom. AOL controls (2005 – and now?) 1/3 of all user time spent online. It is true that the Internet allows choosing from millions of sites, but most users only go to few sites. They rely on links and search engines. Search engines have a political bias and one can perform content analysis of search engines like of newspapers. Actually there is a consolidation of power in the Internet’s marketplace.
There must be a fight for a non-commercial media system. Currently the major fight is to keep the gates of the Internet open to all. The book develops some ideas for media reform such as municipal broadband systems and community wireless networks.
There is a renewed interest in recapturing the Web’s heritage of collaboration and sharing. The “Information Commons” deal with the non-commercial aspects of American life.
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This book is so complete, so remarkable that I've been haranguing friends and family to read it. It's much like reading a great history book and then never being able to look at anything to do with that period in time without a completely different paradigm. This book will answer and change you idea of what our countries media was, has become, and could be.
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