Home > COM580 > Robert McChesney isn’t stopping any traffic on Madison Avenue

Robert McChesney isn’t stopping any traffic on Madison Avenue

I thought our good friend Capitalism was working just fine until I encountered Robert McChesney’s book “The Political Economy of Media.” You see, McChesney is a communications professor (yikes!) and he’s done a lot of unbiased research and he’s decided that he wants to overthrow the government’s current manner of dealing with the free Press. [Be careful, professor, that public-funded library you’ve been using might have to start charging you.]

Anyway, let Robert have a word here:

Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.”

Now do you see why I said ‘yikes’ earlier? I get scared when I hear words like ‘overthrow’, don’t you? And heck, I grew up lovin’ Bob Dylan (platonically, mind you). I guess, the times really are a changin’, here’s another quote from the Professor:
Socialists since the time of Marx have been proponents of democracy, but they have argued that democracy in capitalist societies is fundamentally flawed. In capitalist societies, the wealthy have tremendous social and economic advantages over the working class that undermine political equality, a presupposition for viable democracy.”

Since I’m all for that wild and crazy First Amendment, I don’t mind that McChesney is a Marxist. In fact, McChesney also loves to invoke Jefferson and Madison as founding fathers that probably meant well but never got the chance to shake hands with Karl Marx. They were just a little confused writing the First Amendment since they forgot to explain how it would be much better if the U.S. government would just spend $30 billion dollars a year to finance the Press! (Hang on, Billy Graham, you’re next.)

Yes, that’s correct, McChesney wants the government to finance the ‘free’ Press. Then, I suppose, the Supreme Court can tell Rupert Murdock to unload those boring Press holdings he has and put his money into Religion or the Right to Assemble or something that McChesney hasn’t researched yet.

McChesney’s Petition is simple, let’s just get rid of capitalism:
Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism. It is impossible to conceive of a better world with a media system that remains under the thumb of Wall Street and Madison Avenue, under the thumb of the owning class.”

Does anyone find it ironic that ‘Madison Avenue’, a metonym for dirty rotten Capitalism, is named after McChensey’s pal, James Madison?

Despite all of McChesney’s yammering, I still believe the First Amendment is all about the freedom to have a bias – my point of view. It’s about the freedom to hear from different sides – my freedom of choice. It’s not about market control or Madison Avenue and it is wrong to try to mix the two.

We (including our journalists) have more access to information than ever in the history of mankind. There’s an app for that, too.  If, James Madison were living today, I don’t think he’d give a hoot about who owned and financed all the information available to be a fully effective citizen if he exercised his freedom to regularly read The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Reason, the Nation and his favorite blogger. So, how is dominance by corporate media ruining Madison’s democratic abilities? Capitalism is working just fine, it seems to me.

You want to hear me whine? Turn any one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment over to the financial control of the government. Yikes! Then, I’d run out and join Pat Robertson’s 500 club because he and I would finally agree on something.

Hey, text me on your government phone when McChesney gets rid of capitalism, will ya?

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  1. DP
    February 15, 2010 at 3:51 am

    I love your interpretation of the First Amendment in giving individuals the “freedom to have a bias.” I couldn’t agree more. I would love to see a journalism system that could black out and wake up with the era of “Professional Journalism” wiped from its memory. Without bias, we have no opposing positions, no discussion, no change. If journalism is truly the Fourth Estate, we can’t all be informed from the same, official sources.

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