Posted by: acecasanova | November 13, 2011

I think I’ve seen this somewhere before…

As I continue through the glorified rant that is “The Political Economy of Media” I find it more and more difficult to keep my mind… active.  Have you ever had the feeling of reading a paragraph, and then feeling like you didn’t truly read it, and then you re-read it only to find that it likely wasn’t necessary to read in the first place?  That’s how I feel with a lot of McChesney.  This is not to downplay McChesney’s knowledge or to say this book is in any way a waste of time or not informative.  What this does say to me is that each chapter’s message is the same as the first.  Media is run by money and power.  Corporate greed and control have led big money to try and manipulate the public through multiple media channels and cover everything up that they don’t want seen.  It’s an age old story.  Power is corrupt and they will do what it takes to cover up their corruption and control the minds of the people in order to blind them from their true rights and freedoms.

Upon approaching chapter 16 I was excited!  I felt “finally, I’m going to read something a little different and more applicable to modern society and media technologies.”  At first, I wasn’t disappointed.  Then he began talking about the public debates over radio broadcast and television… AGAIN!  In the forward to this book McChesney stated that he would be redundant at times, but this is approaching a point of absurdity.  At the same time I have not yet seen one solid solution that he has produced.  Sure he has come up with some solid theoretical possibilities, but nothing that has captured me and said, “Hey YOU!  WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CORPORATE BACON!”  McChesney, I enjoy you, I applaud you, I feel you have pointed out things that only the bravest of authors would point out in exposing big business and government control of media and media policy.  My friend, one piece of advice.  Keep it short, simple and to the point.

Note:  Admittedly I have not entirely finished all of this weeks reading and yes, perhaps this is slightly a rant of my own.  Also, this may be a fairly inaccurate assessment of McChesney as stands, but it is my assessment.

Question 1:  In Chapter 15 McChesney states that perhaps one of the reasons there has been a lack of debate over the ownership and control of media is that the public simply doesn’t care.  Do you feel if the mass public were better informed, that they would possibly take more responsibility and feel obligated to take part in this issue?

Question 2:  Do you feel the internet has proven itself to be the next democratic frontier since the publishing of this book?  Or do you feel that it has become more a tool for corporate influence?

Question 3:  Off hand, should this come up in class, what are your criticisms of McChesney’s book, “The Political Economy of Media” and how could he better approach the subject to make it more consumer friendly?

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Responses

  1. Rant on my friend, rant on. My post for this week was headed in a similar direction but one rant is probably enough. I do think it is worth pointing out for giggles that on page 8 McChesney claims that not only has he edited this compilation of essays “for consistency and to update points where appropriate” but an actual editor supposedly edited out “as much repetition as possible.”

    I find your last discussion question interesting. In chapter 16 McChesney wags his finger at scholars and academics to share their work with and tailor their analyses to the general public they could engage in a public dialogue. Et, tu Mr. McChesney? Et, tu?

    Another fair criticism of The Political Economy of Media is that given this book was published in 2008, I wonder why McChesney included such a wildly out of date chapter as “The Internet and U.S. Communication Policy Making” over writing or including a more relevant essay that takes into account the advances in technology and the continued fight over net neutrality. Which, by the way, the organization he founded Free Press is on the forefront of some of the litigation surrounding this issue.

    I completely agree with your post. I agree that McChesney has pointed out some critical issues related to big business and government control of media and media policy. Despite my criticism at redundancy of this tome, my opinion on the state of media today is probably more rounded for having been exposed to McChesney and his redundant prose.

    1. McChesney suggests that there should be an evaluation of “… the effects of a new technology before adopting it…” Wouldn’t this type of study harm innovation?

    2. McChesney quotes the executive director of a group called the Internet Society of saying the Internet is “… of greater significance than the creation of the printing press.” Do you agree?

    3. McChesney brings up that regardless of ownership and operation, communication technology has consequences that are “often unintended and unanticipated.” What are some of the unintended and unanticipated consequences of the Internet?


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