Robert McChesney

Robert McChesney is research professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois.  His two most recent books include Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America (with John Nichols) and Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. His many other books include The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again (with John Nichols), Rich Media, Poor Democracy, The Political Economy of the Media, and Problem with the Media: US Communication Politics in the 21st Century. He is also co-founder of the media reform group Free Press.

Articles by this author

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Friday, November 8, 2013 - 8:22am
Free the Media!
When we helped form the national media-reform network Free Press, we were motivated by an understanding that the great debates about media policy played out behind closed doors in Washington, with corporate puppeteers pulling the strings of politicians and regulators.
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Monday, September 16, 2013 - 12:48pm
Dollarocracy: How Big Money Undermines Our Democracy
“We’ve found through our experience that timid supplications for justice will not solve the problem,” declared the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 as he announced the civil rights movement’s pivot toward the economic justice message of the Poor People’s Campaign. “We’ve got to massively confront the power structure."
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 2:41pm
The Bezos Absurdity
As the commercial model of journalism is in freefall collapse, those remaining news media franchises have become playthings for billionaires, generally of value for political purposes, as old-fashioned monopoly newspapers still carry considerable influence.
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Friday, April 5, 2013 - 9:23am
Will Obama Defend Media Democracy?
In a communications landscape where everything is up for grabs, the most powerful—and self-serving—players are grabbing for everything. And decisions that President Obama and his next appointee to chair the Federal Communications Commission will make in the coming months could well decide whether new media robber barons will dominate the local, state and national discourse.
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Friday, January 20, 2012 - 10:26am
After 'Citizens United': The Attack of the Super PACs
We have seen the future of electoral politics flashing across the screens of local TV stations from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina. Despite all the excitement about Facebook and Twitter, the critical election battles of 2012 and for some time to come will be fought in the commercial breaks on local network affiliates.
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Friday, January 21, 2011 - 11:14am
Comcast/NBC Merger Takes Media Consolidation to the 'Disaster' Level
Senator Al Franken, the former media personality who has emerged as one of the savviest analysts of media policy in Washington, got it exactly right when he termed the anticipated merger of Comcast and NBC Universal a "disaster."
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Friday, November 12, 2010 - 12:08pm
The Money & Media Election Complex
Like the wizard telling the people of Oz to "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," Karl Rove used media appearances at the close of the 2010 midterm campaign to dismiss President Obama's complaints that Republican consultants, led by the former White House political czar, were distorting Senate and House races across the country with a flood of money-hundreds of millions of dollars-from multinational corporations and billionaire conservatives into Senate and House races.
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Friday, January 8, 2010 - 8:25am
How to Save Journalism
The founders of the American experiment were even by their own measures imperfect democrats. But they understood something about sustaining democracy that their successors seem to have forgotten. Everyone agrees that a free society requires a free press. But a free press without the resources to compensate those who gather and analyze information, and to distribute that information widely and in an easily accessible form, is like a seed without water or sunlight.
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Friday, March 20, 2009 - 8:04am
The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers
Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States.
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