With the explosive growth of the Internet and broadband communications, we now have the potential for a truly democratic media system offering a wide variety of independent sources of news, information, and culture, with control over content in the hands of the many rather than a few select media giants. Read more...
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With the explosive growth of the Internet and broadband communications, we now have the potential for a truly democratic media system offering a wide variety of independent sources of news, information, and culture, with control over content in the hands of the many rather than a few select media giants.
But the country's powerful communications companies have other plans. Assisted by a host of hired political operatives and pro-business policy makers, the big cable, TV, and Internet providers are using their political clout to gain ever greater control over the Internet and other digital communication channels. Instead of a "global information commons," we're facing an electronic media system designed principally to "sell to" rather than serve the public, dominated by commercial forces armed with aggressive digital marketing, interactive advertising, and personal data collection.
Just as Lawrence Lessig translated the mysteries of software and intellectual property for the general reader in "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace," Jeff Chester gets beneath the surface of media and telecommunications regulation to explain clearly how our new media system functions, what's at stake, and what we can do to fight the corporate media's plans for our "digital destiny"--before it's too late.
- A single company--Comcast--largely determines what channels are available on cable TV.
- Soon TV sets will regularly monitor our viewing habits and relay this personal information to data warehouses around the country.
- Bytracking which Web sites we visit on the Internet, a vast system of interactive advertising enables online marketers to target us with "personalized" ads.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 46.
- Review Date: 2006-10-23
- Reviewer: Staff
In recent years, the Federal Communications Commission has come under fire from advocacy groups and, increasingly, the general public for its regulatory decisions (or, in many cases, lack thereof). Writing in the tradition of critic Robert McChesney, media watchdog Jeff Chester examines the FCC, charting the close network of lobbyists, trade associations and other industry representatives in which it is embedded. Through close analysis of recent FCC moves and decisions on media consolidation and network neutrality, Chester makes a damning and important case for sweeping reform in governmental regulation, culminating in a series of policy recommendations that would adjust the balance of power between media corporations and customers. Unfortunately, Chester is mostly preaching to the converted; the general tone of the book is so stridently (even antagonistically) polemic that it's more likely to turn off uninformed or dissenting readers than persuade them. While offering red meat for those already concerned about issues of personal privacy and media choice in an era of growing corporate media oligarchy, Chester doesn't do much to reach beyond them, limiting the book's appeal both as a book and as a piece of advocacy. (Jan.)