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The Problem of the Media by Robert W. McChesney. (Monthly Review Press,2004) [Paperback]

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Problem of the Media by Robert W. McChesney. (Monthly Review Press,2004) [Paperback].pdf | Language: UNKNOWN
    Robert W. McChesney(Author)

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The symptoms of the crisis of the U.S. media are well-known-a decline in hard news, the growth of info-tainment and advertorials, staff cuts and concentration of ownership, increasing conformity of viewpoint and suppression of genuine debate. McChesney's new book, The Problem of the Media, gets to the roots of this crisis, explains it, and points a way forward for the growing media reform movement. Moving consistently from critique to action, the book explores the political economy of the media, illuminating its major flashpoints and controversies by locating them in the political economy of U.S. capitalism. It deals with issues such as the declining quality of journalism, the question of bias, the weakness of the public broadcasting sector, and the limits and possibilities of antitrust legislation in regulating the media. It points out the ways in which the existing media system has become a threat to democracy, and shows how it could be made to serve the interests of the majority. McChesney's Rich Media, Poor Democracy was hailed as a pioneering analysis of the way in which media had come to serve the interests of corporate profit rather than public enlightenment and debate. Bill Moyers commented, "If Thomas Paine were around, he would have written this book." The Problem of the Media is certain to be a landmark in media studies, a vital resource for media activism, and essential reading for concerned scholars and citizens everywhere.

The symptoms of the crisis of the U.S. media are well-known—a decline in hard news, the growth of info-tainment and advertorials, staff cuts and concentration of ownership, increasing conformity of viewpoint and suppression of genuine debate. McChesney's new book, The Problem of the Media, gets to the roots of this crisis, explains it, and points a way forward for the growing media reform movement. Moving consistently from critique to action, the book explores the political economy of the media, illuminating its major flashpoints and controversies by locating them in the political economy of U.S. capitalism. It deals with issues such as the declining quality of journalism, the question of bias, the weakness of the public broadcasting sector, and the limits and possibilities of antitrust legislation in regulating the media. It points out the ways in which the existing media system has become a threat to democracy, and shows how it could be made to serve the interests of the majority. McChesney's Rich Media, Poor Democracy was hailed as a pioneering analysis of the way in which media had come to serve the interests of corporate profit rather than public enlightenment and debate. Bill Moyers commented, "If Thomas Paine were around, he would have written this book." The Problem of the Media is certain to be a landmark in media studies, a vital resource for media activism, and essential reading for concerned scholars and citizens everywhere.

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  • Robert W. McChesney(Author)
  • Monthly Review; First Printing edition (2004)
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Review Text

  • By bookloversfriend on June 25, 2006

    It's always interesting to read a Marxist view of anything to get a vastly different perspective from the usual liberal and conservative views (and the few moderate views that manage to find their way into print).At bottom, the problem with the news media, according to McChesney, is that it's not far enough to the Left! He rejects the criticism of the media's liberal bias. This rejection is based on an eccentric use of the term "liberal". For instance, Bill Clinton and Al Gore are "moderate to conservative Democrats" (p. 102). "The Left" consists of radicals and "social democrats". (p. 103) He sees both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton as "neoliberals": "with the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, the neoliberal moment had commenced. Neoliberal ideology became hegemonic not only among Republicans but also in the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman." (p. 49)McChesney opposes professionalism in journalism, because professionalism "is a journalism of fact without regard to" a political ideology. (p. 67). "The claim that it is possible to provide neutral and objective news" is suspect. (p. 68) Professionalism refuses "to place every important issue in a larger political ideology." (p. 71)He deplores the influence of corporations on news broadcasting (Don't we all?), but he also deplores NPR and PBS: "NPR and PBS at a national level tend to provide a bland variant of mainstream and conventional journalism" (p. 245). So, the root problem is that even NPR and PBS are not far enough to the Left!He wants unlimited funding of these public media without any overseeing or accountability. (Perhaps a Constitutional Amendment--although he doesn't actually propose such a thing or say how this would otherwise be achievable.) One wonders why he is so sanguine that he would be happy with a public news broadcasting source that was not answerable to anybody. Is it because he assumes that it would be run by insiders who share his Marxist views? He would certainly not be happy with it otherwise. (See, in this connection, the film "Shattered Glass".)Bottom line: Skip this book and buy Don't Blame the People or Freedom of the Press--for Whom?

  • By Edie Nolan on November 7, 2017

    Review of The Problem of the MediaHot Toasty Rag, November 7, 2017Robert McChesney, a name I know as well as my own, has written an insightful and necessary book. I took a class in college entitled “Media and Politics”, and the entire semester we studied, referenced, and wrote papers about Mr. McChesney’s work. One of the best parts about this book is the lack of political polarization of potential readers. You don’t have to be a Democrat or Republican to enjoy and learn from this book. And, it was written in 2004, so there’s no mention of any current politicians. The current political climate is a touchy one, so when you read this book, you can take comfort that the author isn’t leaning in any particular direction.I’ve written so many papers on this book, it will be difficult to keep my review concise. Basically, this incredible book sheds light on the power the media has in shaping the public’s political awareness and views. If you think the media can do no wrong, this book will shock you. If you knew the media was a little corrupt, you’ll still be shocked at the depth of power the media possesses. “The Media” isn’t really as diverse as it appears. Only a handful of individuals own all the media outlets on the planet (This book was written before folks created YouTube channels and spouted their opinions), so if one person has a view he wants espoused, potentially one-third of all media outlets will espouse his view.Unless you’re a political science student, there’s a high likelihood you aren’t aware of the power of lobbying. This book will educate you. McChesney also discusses journalistic bias, and the problem of not only telling people what to think, but what to think about. If a news outlet decides not to cover a story at all, they are still shaping the public’s view on it.It may appear that this is a Republican-leaning book, but it really isn’t. It’s a book for anyone who asks questions instead of blindly believing what they’re told. It’s eye-opening, and even though it’s thirteen years old, the lessons are still applicable.


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