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Our Unfree Press: 100 Years of Radical Media Criticism

Overview

The FCC’s recent controversial decision to roll back restrictions on media conglomeration produced an outpouring of protest and dissent; more than 700,000 Americans personally registered complaints along with organizations as diverse as NOW and the NRA.

In Our Unfree Press, Robert McChesney and Ben Scott demonstrate that, like the corporations themselves, criticism of media monopolies has a long tradition. Featuring the work of Upton Sinclair, C. Wright Mills, Walter Lippmann, ...

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Overview

The FCC’s recent controversial decision to roll back restrictions on media conglomeration produced an outpouring of protest and dissent; more than 700,000 Americans personally registered complaints along with organizations as diverse as NOW and the NRA.

In Our Unfree Press, Robert McChesney and Ben Scott demonstrate that, like the corporations themselves, criticism of media monopolies has a long tradition. Featuring the work of Upton Sinclair, C. Wright Mills, Walter Lippmann, Noam Chomsky, and many others, this provocative anthology charts such topics as the consolidation of ownership, the role of advertising, and the corruptions of profit. An extensive lead essay contextualizes pieces spanning the Progressive Era to the present day, making it abundantly clear that countering the media oligarchs requires more than token reforms. A must-read for anyone concerned by corporate consolidation of the media, Our Unfree Press reveals the necessity of a radical revision in our perception of the business of media.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Criticism of the press has a long history in America, going back as far as the late 19th century. Here, editors McChesney (Rich Media, Poor Democracy) and Scott (doctoral student, Inst. of Communications Research, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) collect more than 30 examples of radical media criticism, dating from 1906 to 2003. In a thorough introduction that provides an overview of the topic, the editors pinpoint the unmistakable connection between mass media and big business. The collage of essays that follows, which includes pieces by W.E.B. DuBois, Upton Sinclair, and Gloria Steinem, presents plenty of food for thought on such topics as media monopolies, inherent conflicts of interest within corporate and political circles, and the impossibility of media objectivity. This work highlights the need to maintain vigilance regarding U.S. journalism, currently in a state of full-blown crisis, with a decline in hard news, staff cuts at media outlets, and a lack of investigative reporting. This well-structured and conceptually engaging work provides a compilation that would be hard to find in another single source. In light of recent scandals that have plagued well-known news sources, it is also important and timely. Recommended for larger academic libraries and possibly larger public libraries.-Valeda F. Dent, Hunter Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565849174
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/19/2004
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert McChesney
Robert McChesney

Robert W. McChesney is professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy and Our Media, Not Theirs, and co-editor of Monthly Review.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part I "Our Master's Voice" 31
Concentration of Ownership 33
"The House of Lords" from Lords of the Press (1938) 35
"The Disappearing Daily" from The Disappearing Daily (1944) 47
"U.S. Media at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century" from Rich Media, Poor Democracy (2000) 60
Interlocking Web of Business Interests 77
"Bondage of the Press" from The Menace of Privilege (1906) 78
"These Days in American Journalism" from The International Socialist Review (1911) 92
"Owning the Owners" from The Brass Check (1920) 102
"Big Business and the Press" from Freedom of the Press (1935) 106
Advertising 119
"The Advertising Influence" from The American Newspaper (1911) 121
"The Business Nobody Knows" from Our Master's Voice (1934) 132
"The Power of Advertising" from Freedom of the Press (1935) 138
"Advertising" from The First Freedom (1946) 154
"Sex, Lies & Advertising" from Ms. (1990) 160
Part II Democratic Contradictions of Commercial Journalism 177
Profit and Partisan Politics Undermine Public Service 179
"The Suppression of Important News" from Changing America (1912) 181
"The Art of Ballyhoo" from Ballyhoo (1927) 193
"Our Un-Free Press" from Common Sense (1935) 207
"The Vanishing Market Place of Thought" from The First Freedom (1946) 211
"The Problem and the Principles" from A Free and Responsible Press (1947) 220
"Social Control in the Newsroom: A Functional Analysis" from Social Forces (1955) 229
"Why a Review of Journalism?" from Columbia Journalism Review (1962) 245
"The News Media and the Disorders" from Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968) 247
"Night Thoughts of a Media Watcher" from Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983) 272
"The Growing Gap" from The Media Monopoly (1983) 275
"Re-thinking Objectivity" from Columbia Journalism Review (2003) 287
Free Press and Democracy 301
"Code of Ethics" and "Integrity of the Press" from the Founding Statements of the American Newspaper Guild (1934) 303
"The Corps, the Press, and Democracy" from The Washington Correspondents (1937) 305
"Violations of Press Freedom in America" from Journalism Quarterly (1938) 327
"On the Collection of Honest News" and "On the Right to Express and Hear Unpopular Opinion" from the National Guardian (1953) 338
"The Mass Society" from The Power Elite (1956) 343
"Access to the Press--A New First Amendment Right" from Harvard Law Review (1967) 365
"News as the Reproduction of the Status Quo: A Summary" from Making News (1978) 399
"Propaganda Mill" from The Progressive (1988) 405
"A Palace Court Press" from On Bended Knee (1988) 412
"The Military's Media" from The Progressive (2003) 430
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