The Problem of the Media
Poor, black, and suffering Americans. These are the images that flashed across TV screens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Reporters asked why there was no help for people who couldn’t afford to evacuate. And columnists wrote of a shocked and outraged America, an America which had finally discovered its own poverty and racism. For a brief moment, the corporate media drew back the curtains and revealed a reality we hardly ever see. Now, we have a choice. We can make cosmetic changes. Or, we can reach beyond the issues that have divided us, and challenge the structural causes of this catastrophe. One of those structural causes is the corporate media which have systematically failed to inform us about poverty and racism here at home.
Robert McChesney teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of many books including Digital Disconnect. He is co-author with John Nichols of Dollarocracy. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization. The Utne Reader listed him among its “50 visionaries who are changing the world.”