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Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control…
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Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media

by Eric Klinenberg

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From true stories of local radio stations that have been taken over by big companies and automated so that emergency messages can’t get out when they’re desperately needed to stories of politicians bought by big media companies (who also make sure that reporters don’t report about the consequences of media concentration for local news and diversity), this is a depressing book, especially since it’s been a few years and the hoped-for citizen mobilization doesn’t seem to have materialized. We can fight really bad stuff off once in a while—see SOPA/PIPA—but that’s about it. Klinenberg suffers a bit from “throw every accusation at big media companies” syndrome, for example accepting uncritically the NRA’s claim that major media are anti-gun, but the story he tells is part of the dismantling of democracy in America; he reminds readers again and again that small local media are important to finding out what’s going on in one’s own community, and independent media also break national stories that no one else would. Or they used to! ( )
  rivkat | Jun 20, 2013 |
Klinenberg provides a detailed and compelling investigation into the battle between giant corporations who are systematically extending their grasp on every mass media portal from newspapers to the internet to the to create economies of scale that will maximize profits and a motley of citizen groups and individual activists -- ranging from the gun lobby to the liberal activist group MoveOn, and everything between and beyond -- a coalition that despite radical differences has solidified around defense of locally relevant, diverse and responsive media. Klinenberg clearly and unabashedly favors the citizens in this struggle, but this is no hatchet job. It is very well-researched, well-documented and fair, avoiding a simplistic demonization of the media giants even as he vividly portrays the harmful effects of media concentration on local communities. Klinenberg provides a clear explication of the complexities of mass media politics and policy in the FCC and Congress. But more importantly, in vividly describing the impact of these policies on everyday life in local communities, he explains why these issues are vital to the future of democracy. ( )
1 vote JFBallenger | May 26, 2007 |
"Eric Klinenberg has written an extraordinary and powerful account of the devastating elimination of localism in U.S. media and journalism, and how Americans from all walks of life are rising up to challenge the great media crisis that grips our nation today. Brilliantly written and tightly argued, Fighting for Air is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand what is going on in this country, and why it is so important to our future."—Robert W. McChesney, author of The Problem of the Media

“Eric Klinenberg has given us a chilling report on how the American news media, increasingly concentrated, have made a mockery of the commitment to operate ‘in the public interest, convenience, and necessity.’ Admirably researched and lucidly written, Fighting for Air should serve as a wake-up call on the deafness of radio and television to communal needs.” —Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio

“Big media conglomerates—in radio, TV and newspapers—have taken over local outlets all over America, silencing independent local voices. Eric Klinenberg has done a masterful job of researching what has happened to America's local news media. Fighting for Air is a must-read for anyone who cares about the role of the media in a democracy.”—George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant!

“Fighting for Air is a richly detailed, compelling, and timely investigation into the problem of the U.S. media and what people are doing to take it back. Klinenberg pulls back the curtain on complex media policy issues, with stories of real people, how they have been harmed by Big Media, and follows up with inspiring tales of underdogs who are fighting back and winning. This book is a call to action to fight for a strong, vigorous, independent media.”—Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now! ( )
  addict | Jan 25, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805078193, Hardcover)

A groundbreaking investigative work by a critically acclaimed sociologist on the corporate takeover of local news and what it means for all Americans

For the residents of Minot, North Dakota, Clear Channel Communications is synonymous with disaster. Early in the morning of January 18, 2002, a train derailment sent a cloud of poisonous gas drifting toward the small town. Minot's fire and rescue departments attempted to reach Clear Channel, which owned and operated all six local commercial radio stations, to warn residents of the approaching threat. But in the age of canned programming and virtual DJs, there was no one in the conglomerate's studio to take the call. The people of Minot were taken unawares. The result: one death and more than a thousand injuries.

Opening with the story of the Minot tragedy, Eric Klinenberg's Fighting for Air takes us into the world of preprogrammed radio shows, empty television news stations, and copycat newspapers to show how corporate ownership and control of local media has remade American political and cultural life. Klinenberg argues that the demise of truly local media stems from the federal government's malign neglect, as the agencies charged with ensuring diversity and open competition have ceded control to the very conglomerates that consistently undermine these values and goals.

Such "big media" may not be here to stay, however. Fighting for Air delivers a call to action, revealing a rising generation of new media activists and citizen journalists--a coalition of liberals and conservatives--who are demanding and even creating the local coverage they need and deserve.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:46 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An investigative work on the corporate takeover of local news and what it means for all Americans. Sociologist Klinenberg takes us into the world of preprogrammed radio shows, empty television news studios, and copycat newspapers to show how corporate ownership and control of local media has remade American political and cultural life. Klinenberg argues that the demise of truly local media stems from the federal government's malign neglect, as the agencies charged with ensuring diversity and open competition have ceded control to the very conglomerates that consistently undermine these values and goals. "Big media" may not be here to stay, however. This book reveals a rising generation of new media activists and citizen journalists--a coalition of liberals and conservatives--who are demanding and even creating the local coverage they need and deserve.--From publisher description.… (more)

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