Nattering Networks: How Mass Media Fails Democracy

Nattering Networks: How Mass Media Fails

Media consolidation has created conflicts of interest that
affect the way journalists cover war, says Robert McChesney, a
communications research professor at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. ‘You have a real conflict of interest with your
media system that covers these sorts of events being owned by
institutions that have a distinct self-interest that these policies
go in a certain direction,’ he says in an interview with Jessica
Clark of LiP Magazine.

McChesney argues the resulting coverage — and gaps in coverage —
of the Sept. 11 events and their aftermath has been ‘blatant
propaganda.’ This poses a threat to democratic decision-making in
America and further contributes to a nationwide ignorance of global

‘What the propaganda coverage has been completely incapable of
doing is providing any context so that Americans could make sense
of this attack,’ says McChesney. The media not making sense of the
current situation not only justified our involvement, but justified
it by playing with the public’s anger and pain — and equated
revenge as a means to ease those emotions.

‘It’s appalling that the press system would permit that legitimate
anger and pain to be manipulated by powerful interests to suit
their own political and financial agenda,’ says McChesney. ‘To do
that is a real abdication of any notion of what a free press has to
be in a democratic society.’
–Kate Garsombke
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