by Robert W. McChesney
First published to great acclaim in 2000, Rich Media, Poor Democracy is Robert W. McChesney's magnum opus. Called a "rich, penetrating study" by Noam Chomsky, the book is a meticulously researched exposition of how U.S. media and communication empires are threatening effective democratic governance. What happens when a few conglomerates dominate all major aspects of mass media, from newspapers and magazines to radio and broadcast television? Since the publication of this prescient work, which won Harvard's Goldsmith Book Prize and the Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award, the concentration of media power and the resultant "hypercommercialization of culture" has only intensified.
McChesney lays out his vision for what a truly democratic society might look like, offering compelling suggestions for how the media can be reformed as part of a broader program of democratic renewal. Rich Media, Poor Democracy remains as vital and insightful as ever and continues to serve as an important resource for researchers, students, and anyone who has a stake in the transformation of our digital commons.
This new edition includes a major new preface by McChesney, where he offers both a history of the transformation in media since the book first appeared; a sweeping account of the organized efforts to reform the media system; and the ongoing threats to our democracy as journalism has continued its sharp decline.
Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Political Economy of Media, Communication Revolution, The Problem of the Media, and Rich Media, Poor Democracy.