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The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century 1st Printing Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1583671054
ISBN-10: 1583671056
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Robert McChesney's work has been of extraordinary importance. . . . It should be read with care and concern by people who care about freedom and basic rights.-Noam Chomsky

About the Author

Robert W. McChesney is professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy and Our Media, Not Theirs, and co-editor of Monthly Review.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press; 1st Printing edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583671056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583671054
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books on the media, including the award-winning Rich Media, Poor Democracy, and a co-editor (with Ben Scott) of Our Unfree Press: 100 Years of Radical Media Criticism (both available from The New Press). He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 101 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on June 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Expect this book to get a wave of one-star liberal-bashing reactionary reviews once the neoconservatives learn that it exists. That's because their entire philosophy, especially concerning the media, is decisively shot down in this powerful manifesto. McChesney's specialty is media ownership patterns and their effects on popular democracy. Here we find that the modern push for deregulation in media industries is leading to a real crisis for democracy in America - in effect there really is a "problem of the media." While megacorporations wrap their campaign for unlimited profits in rhetoric about free speech, the First Amendment, and giving the people what they want, McChesney finds that all of these claims are false and usually downright dishonest.
The current wave of media deregulation has been greased by big media money in the halls of power, and influence peddling among a few power players (including FCC chairman Michael Powell, whom McChesney unapologetically cuts down to size). The common people are left out of the loop, with a loss of media coverage toward local and dissenting viewpoints, and more and more lowest-common denominator media content. Despite the rhetoric about free trade and capitalism, today's media is far from competitive and equitable. Instead it's a hyper-commercial oligarchy of power consolidation and political power grabbing, and McChesney provides plenty of evidence and eloquent arguments about these trends and the damage they are doing to popular democracy.
Certain parts of this book also serve as a monumentally informative primer on modern neoconservative politics, with that movement's almost total contempt for the public interest and slavish kowtowing to corporate bigwigs.
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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Nonymous on May 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
The corporate owners of the media, their executives and their business partners (commercial and political advertisers) are in collusion to make sure that the deck is stacked against regular citizens who are raised to believe in fairness and in favor of those in collusion. Their tools include the Federal Communications Commission and their agenda is the perpetuation of commerce, not an informed citizenry.
This book explains the early traditions of American media, how the media has been coopted and corrupted by the Right and by powerful commercial interests, and how this situation has become self-perpetuating and institutionalized by the FCC.
Don't be persuaded that this book is a left wing screed. Although this issue is a major reason why we have a Bush administration, it is not a personal indictment. Rather, it is an indictment of the system that is, and a case for why it should be (and once was) very different.
Robert McChesney tries hard to be an honest broker of information about the Media and he largely succeeds. In the lengthy (chapter-length) appendix, he is meticulous with his sources and invites further reading on all sides of the issue. While you're reading McChesney, read John Nichols (and particularly the book they wrote together, called "Our Media, Not Theirs").
The next time you hear people ranting about the liberal media, ask them to question who influenced them to think that way and point them to this book. Consider: why is it that the more citizens question the consolidation and bias of the media, the more the issue is fogged up by figures in the media? The answers are simple; McChesney helps the reader understand.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Sergio Toporek on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Extremely well researched. McChesney has been a key figure in the "media debate" and he approaches the subject with knowledge and objectivity. His disciplined, almost scientific investigation is an example of non-partisan coverage of a crucial issue. If only a few politicians were as concerned with the public interest as McChesney, we would be in a better world. I am a Mexican citizen so I couldn't care less about U.S. partisan politics, and if you care about the fate of public communications, you shouldn't either. This is a problem that affects every country, not just the U.S.A., since the big telecommunication companies are broadcasting all over the World. The interest of big advertisers is being protected by U.S. policy and their marketing messages are then blasted everywhere. Even the smallest community in the South-Mexican jungles knows Ronald McDonald. CNN has Latin editions of their biased news transmitted to most Latin countries. As an outsider, I hope the U.S. citizenry will realize that this is not an issue of Democrats vs. Republicans but a World-wide issue of the individual vs. the big corporations. In reality they don't care about your political affiliations, as long as you saturate your credit cards to buy their heavily advertised products, you can debate each other to death.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Professor Mom on July 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book takes some very complicated issues and makes them easy to understand. The arguments are persuasive and well researched. I found myself getting angry at what is happening to our country and this book explains much of it. This is an interesting perspective and I hope it will start a new debate about the value of public media and spectrum as a public resource.
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