Winner of Harvard's Goldsmith Book Prize
Synopses & Reviews
Rich Media, Poor Democracy
challenges the assumption that a society drenched in commercial information "choices" is a democratic one. Robert McChesney, whom Marc Crispin Miller calls "the greatest of our media historians," argues that the major beneficiaries of the so-called Information Age are wealthy investors, advertisers, and a handful of enormous media, computer, and telecommunications corporations. This concentrated corporate control, McChesney maintains, is disastrous for any notion of participatory democracy.
Combining unprecedented detail on current events with historical sweep, in a book Noam Chomsky calls a "rich and penetrating study," McChesney chronicles the waves of media mergers and acquisitions in the late 1990s. He reviews the corrupt and secretive enactment of public policies surrounding the internet, digital television, and public broadcasting. He also addresses the gradual and ominous adaptation of the First Amendment as a means of shielding corporate media power and the wealthy, and he debunks the myth that the market compels media firms to "give the people what they want."
In an eye-opening call to action, McChesney warns that we must organize politically to restructure the media if we want democracy to endure.
"It may be true that the medium is the message. But it is probably truer to say that power is the message. And in Rich Media, Poor Democracy Robert McChesney documents that claim with awesome scholarship and a compelling style. Those who want to know about the relationship of media and democracy must read this book." Neil Postman, author of Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology
"McChesney's rich and penetrating study advances considerably his pioneering work on media and democracy....[A] very significant contribution." Noam Chomsky
"Rich Media, Poor Democracy is more than a prolonged wake-up call; it shames those who do nothing and motivates those who are trying to build a more democratic media that reflects the all-important non-commercial values which forge a just society." Ralph Nader
"If Thomas Paine were around, he would have written this book. If Paul Revere was here, he would spread the word. Thank God we have in Robert McChesney their equal in his love of liberty and his passion to reclaim it from the media giants who treat the conversation of democracy as their private property." Bill Moyers
Winner of Harvard s Goldsmith Book Prize as well as the Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award, Rich Media, Poor Democracy destroys the assumption that a society drenched in commercial information choices is a democratic one. Robert McChesney, whom Marc Crispin Miller calls the greatest of our media historians, maintains that the major beneficiaries of the so-called Information Age are no more than a handful of enormous corporations, and that this concentrated corporate control is disastrous for any notion of participatory democracy.
In a book that Noam Chomsky hails as a rich, penetrating study, McChesney combines historical sweep and unprecedented detail on current events as he chronicles the recent waves of media mergers and acquisitions, as well as the corrupt and secretive enactment of public policies surrounding the Internet, digital television, and public broadcasting. He also addresses the gradual and ominous adaptation of the First Amendment as a means of shielding corporate media power, and debunks the myth that the market compels media firms to give the people what they want.
In this first paperback edition of a myth-breaking book, McChesney argues that the media, far from providing a bedrock for freedom and democracy, have become a significant anti-democratic force in the United States and, to varying degrees, worldwide.
About the Author
Robert McChesney teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is the author of Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy and other books on media.