Rich Media, Poor Democracy

Communication Politics in Dubious Times

A fifteenth-anniversary edition of the groundbreaking book on media conglomeration, reissued with a new preface from the celebrated media historian and author

“Robert W. McChesney is one of the nation’s most important analysts of the media.” —Howard Zinn

First published to great acclaim in 2000, Rich Media, Poor Democracy is Robert W. McChesney’s magnum opus. Called a “rich, penetrating study” by Noam Chomsky, the book is a meticulously researched exposition of how U.S. media and communication empires are threatening effective democratic governance. What happens when a few conglomerates dominate all major aspects of mass media, from newspapers and magazines to radio and broadcast television? Since the publication of this prescient work, which won Harvard’s Goldsmith Book Prize and the Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award, the concentration of media power and the resultant “hypercommercialization of culture” has only intensified.

McChesney lays out his vision for what a democratic society has the potential to become, offering compelling suggestions for how the media can be reformed as part of a broader program of democratic renewal. Rich Media, Poor Democracy remains as vital and insightful as ever and continues to serve as an important resource for researchers, students, and anyone who has a stake in the transformation of our digital commons.

This new edition includes a major new preface by McChesney in which he offers both a history of transformations in media since the book first appeared and a sweeping account of the organized efforts to reform the media system and the ongoing threats to our democracy as journalism has continued its sharp decline.


“If Thomas Paine were around, he would have written this book. If Paul Revere was here, he would spread the word.”
—Bill Moyers
“Those who want to know about the relationship of media and democracy must read this book.”
—Neil Postman
“[McChesney] takes the beast directly by the throat.”
—Molly Ivins

Books by Robert W. McChesney

Our Unfree Press
100 Years of Radical Media Criticism

Robert W. McChesney, Ben Scott

Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights
The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done to Fix It

Robert W. McChesney, Victor Pickard

Digital Disconnect
How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

Robert W. McChesney

Tragedy and Farce
How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy

John Nichols, Robert W. McChesney

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