Robert McChesney: "The Disintegration of the Commercial Model of Journalism"

Oct 7, 2014

On this segment of River to River, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism.

"When our news media collapses...when no one is watching the relationship between those in power in government and powerful commercial interests that have something to gain by manipulating government policy - our system can't survive," he says. "And that's the moment we're in."

McChesney is a well-known media political economist, the author of more than a dozen books and numerous articles on media and democracy. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a media reform organization.

One of his recent books, The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again (2010), offers some radical ideas as to how to help journalism survive this new age. In the book, he argues that without some kind of government support, journalism as we know it will not survive.

Despite resistance to the idea of government support of media, McChesney points to postal subsidies dating back to the 1700s, and offers the model of government and philanthropic support of media in Britain (the BBC and the Guardian), as well as the much leaner history of government support for public broadcasting in the U.S.