978-0-252-02448-1 / 9780252024481

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About the book:

Robert McChesney makes no bones about it: he is a democrat with a small "d", and in this book, Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times, that spells leftist. As a media scholar (communications professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), he is primarily concerned with "the contradiction", as he puts it, "between a for-profit, highly concentrated, advertising-saturated, corporate media system and the communication requirements of a democratic society". As a citizen, he favours resolving this contradiction through measures that would make your average CEO's skin crawl: massive government subsidies for non-profit journalism, vigorous antitrust litigation aimed at media conglomerates and robust regulation of corporate broadcasters.

In other words, if your politics lie anywhere to the right of Ralph Nader's, don't come to this book looking for validation. But for a stimulating, nuanced, and rigorously researched presentation of the case for overhauling the current media regime, look no further. McChesney displays a sure grasp of today's fast-evolving, high-tech mediascape, and his arguments about how to shape its future evolution (especially his critique of the now dominant idea that corporations deserve First Amendment rights) unfold with an often-startling common sense. Whether or not you agree with his prescriptions in the end, McChesney's sweepingly expansive notions of democracy--and of the importance of media within it--demand to be reckoned with. --Julian Dibbell

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