Digital Destiny

New Media and the Future of Democracy

The celebrated media advocate’s clarion call for new media to serve the public instead of corporate interests—and what’s involved in this high-stakes struggle

“For thirty years Jeff Chester has been the leading investigator of corporate interests who appropriated and cheapened the public’s property—the airwaves. His new book warns that the manipulators of television now threaten freedom in the new digital world.” —Ben H. Bagdikian, author of The New Media Monopoly

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.

Praise

Digital Destiny is the most important book on media policy in years and will become required reading for a generation of students, scholars, activists and concerned citizens across the nation.”
—Robert W. McChesney
“All Americans should read this important and timely book. It discloses the multi-billion dollar agendas of the powers-that-be and precisely how they impact our lives.”
—Charles Lewis, founder, The Center for Public Integrity
“No other work as concisely and powerfully frames the democratic challenge that media policy presents. It is time people understood plainly just what is at stake. This book makes that understanding possible.”
—Lawrence Lessig
“A noble and eloquent guardian of the public interest, Jeff Chester shows how Big Media too often allows journalism to take a back seat to profit margins. Digital Destiny is a passionate and powerful book.”
—Ken Auletta, media writer for The New Yorker
“Jeff Chester is the Paul Revere of the media revolution. Read this book and you will understand the stakes.”
—Bill Moyers