Press release for Bob McChesney talk, Jan. 27

Posted by unknown - January 10, 2004 (entry 129)

Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy, to address the corporate control of U.S. media and the grassroots struggle for greater media democracy, Tuesday Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m. at North Central College in Naperville.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. "Should a handful of giant conglomerates like Time-Warner-AOL and Disney be allowed control the vast majority of the nation's newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, film studios and internet service providers?

Can citizens be sure they are getting fair, balanced, unbiased news when just one company owns all the news outlets for a given market? Award-winning author and media expert Robert McChesney, speaking at North Central College on Tuesday, Jan. 27, thinks not.

McChesney will speak at 7:30 in the Harold and Eva White Activities Center, 325 E. Benton Ave., on "The Emerging Struggle for Control of the Media in the United States" and how ordinary citizens can get involved in it. The event is free and open to the public.

Author or editor of at least eight books on the role of media in democratic and capitalist societies, McChesney says that a wave of mergers in recent years has led to a concentration of media ownership that is unhealthy for the future of American democracy. He argues that the media have become an anti-democratic force in the United States and, to varying degrees, around the world; that increased "choice" (including the Internet) does not necessarily translate into more objective information; and that wealthy investors, advertisers and a handful of huge media, computer and telecommunications conglomerates are the principal beneficiaries of the Information Age.

McChesney is a leader in theburgeoning media reform movement that in the past year generated over a million phone calls and pieces of mail to Congress and the White House protesting the Federal Commerce Commission's June 2nd decision to further deregulate media ownership. In a recent interview, McChesney noted, "We have seven or eight companies now that own these largest media companies. All are film studios. All are TV networks. Four of the five music companies that sell 90 percent of the music in the United States own almost all the TV stations in the largest markets." He also decried "the commercialization of the whole teen experience," saying, "it's a global phenomenon -- making youth culture a commercial entity that's packaged and sold to people."

Since 1998, McChesney has been at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he is research professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. From 1988-1998, he was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was an award-winning classroom teacher. His Ph.D. is from the University of Washington. His recent books include Our Media, Not Theirs (with John Nichols, 2002) and Rich Media, Poor Democracy (2000).

White Activities Center is handicap-accessible.

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