Person

Robert McChesney

BobMcChesney (link) is licensed CC-BY-SA-2.5 (link)
Nationality:

American

Born:

December 22, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio [25] [26]

Occupation:

Co-Founder, Free Press

Editor, Monthly Review

Gutsgell Endowed Professor, Department of Communications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robert McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign[1] and a socialist media activist who advocates for greater government control of the media industry.[2]

McChesney is a co-founder of the Free Press, an organization that advocates against the control of media organs by large businesses[3] and defends so-called “net-neutrality,”[4] a regulatory policy governing how bandwidth is allocated that some have argued will “turn the internet into a public utility.”[5] He is also formerly the editor of the Monthly Review, and independent socialist magazine.[6] McChesney has praised democratic socialism as “a very good foundation for what we should be fighting for today” and is a defender of greater government control of the Internet through net neutrality rules, which he helped develop during his tenure at the University of Illinois. [7]

McChesney has written or edited 27 books, predominantly on the subjects of economics, capitalism, and the media.[8]

Career

After receiving a B.A. in economics and history at Evergreen State University in 1977,[9] Robert McChesney worked as the circulation coordinator for a socialist weekly in Seattle called In These Times and edited the bi-monthly newsletter of the Seattle Tenants Union, 30 Day Notice.[10] before teaching journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1988 to 1998.[11]

Beginning in 2001, McChesney worked as the co-editor of the Monthly Review,[12] a socialist magazine created in 1949 to “draw on the rich legacy of Marxist thought.”[13]

McChesney hosted a local weekly radio show sponsored by NPR and PBS entitled “Media Matters”[14] from 2002 until the final broadcast on October 7, 2012.[15] He later advocated for the “massive expansion of public broadcasting”[16] that would direct more tax revenue to such programs.

Free Press

For more information, see Free Press

Also in 2002, McChesney and future founder of Represent.Us Josh Silver created Free Press,[17] a media advocacy organization designed to blunt private control of media outlets, expand government regulation of the industry, and increase taxpayer funding for broadcast media.[18] Free Press allied early on with other progressive organizations like Common Cause, MoveOn, and Code Pink to oppose media deregulation.[19]

Activism and Controversy

In his open embrace of socialism, McChesney has engaged in controversial advocacy outside of the mainstream political left.

He participated in a panel at the 2000 Socialist Scholars Conference and wrote in Monthly Review that “any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be a part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist political economy.”[20] In another piece in Monthly Review, he wrote that “our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.”[21]

When questioned about his socialist views, McChesney has said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist”[22] and praised Venezuela under socialist dictator Hugo Chavez as having “unqualified political dissent…in the mainstream media in a manner few other democratic nations have ever known, including our own.”[23]

McChesney has praised democratic socialism as “a very good foundation for what we should be fighting for today” and is a defender of greater government control of the Internet through net neutrality rules, which he helped develop during his tenure at the University of Illinois. [24]

References

  1. Stockholm University. “Robert W. McChesney.” Research – Department of Media Studies. May 02, 2017. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://research.ims.su.se/en/profiles/127-robert-w-mcchesney. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Stockholm-University-Robert-W.-McChesney-Profile.pdf ^
  2. Fund, John. “Comrades for Net Neutrality.” National Review. February 27, 2015. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/02/comrades-net-neutrality-john-fund/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-John-Fund-Comrades-for-Net-Neutraility.pdf ^
  3. “Media Control.” Free Press. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/issues/media-control. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Free-Press-Media-Control.pdf ^
  4. “Media Control.” Free Press. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/issues/free-open-internet. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Free-Press-Free-Open-Internet.pdf ^
  5. “Policy Brief – ‘Net Neutrality’: Government Regulation and Takeover of the Internet.” Americans for Tax Reform. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://thehill.com/sites/default/files/atr_netneutralitygovregulation.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Americans-for-Tax-Reform-Net-Neutrality.pdf ^
  6. “About.” Robert W McChesney. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://robertmcchesney.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-University-of-Illinois-Robert-W.-McChesney.pdf ^
  7. Mark Karlin. “Robert McChesney: Capitalism Is a Bad Fit for a Technological Revolution.” Truthout. May 8, 2016. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://truthout.org/articles/robert-mcchesney-capitalism-is-a-bad-fit-for-a-technological-revolution/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-McChesney-Mark-Karlin-Robert-McChesney-Capitalism-is-a-Bad-fit-for-a-Technological-Revolution.pdf ^
  8. ii “About.” Robert W McChesney. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://robertmcchesney.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-University-of-Illinois-Robert-W.-McChesney.pdf ^
  9. “McChesney, Robert Waterman 1952-.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. 2009. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/mcchesney-robert-waterman-1952. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Encyclopedia.com-McChesney-Robert-Waterman-1952-.pdf ^
  10. “Robert McChesney.” Discover the Networks. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individuals/robert-mcchesney/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Discover-the-Networks-Robert-McChesney.pdf[/note] He later began a career in academia, earning a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in communications[note]“Education.” Robert W McChesney. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://robertmcchesney.org/curriculum-vitae/education/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-University-of-Illinois-Robert-W.-McChesney-Education.pdf ^
  11. “About.” Robert W McChesney. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://robertmcchesney.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-University-of-Illinois-Robert-W.-McChesney.pdf ^
  12. “About.” Robert W McChesney. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://robertmcchesney.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-University-of-Illinois-Robert-W.-McChesney.pdf ^
  13. “About Monthly Review.” Monthly Review. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://monthlyreview.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Monthly-Review-About-Monthly-Review.pdf ^
  14. “Media Matters with Bob McChesney.” Illinois Public Media. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://will.illinois.edu/mediamatters. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Bob-McChesney-Media-Matters.pdf ^
  15. “Media Matters with Bob McChesney.” Illinois Public Media. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://will.illinois.edu/mediamatters. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Bob-McChesney-Media-Matters.pdf ^
  16. Nichols, John, and Robert W. McChesney. “Free the Media!” The Nation. November 06, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/free-media/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-John-Nichols-and-Robert-W.-McChesney-Free-the-Media.pdf ^
  17. “About.” Robert W McChesney. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://robertmcchesney.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-University-of-Illinois-Robert-W.-McChesney.pdf ^
  18. Nichols, John, and Robert W. McChesney. “Free the Media!” The Nation. November 06, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/free-media/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-John-Nichols-and-Robert-W.-McChesney-Free-the-Media.pdf ^
  19. Nichols, John, and Robert W. McChesney. “Free the Media!” The Nation. November 06, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/free-media/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-John-Nichols-and-Robert-W.-McChesney-Free-the-Media.pdf ^
  20. xii McChesney, Robert W. “The U.S. Media Reform Movement: Going Forward.” Monthly Review. September 01, 2008. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://monthlyreview.org/2008/09/01/the-u-s-media-reform-movement-going-forward/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Robert-W.-McChesney-The-U.S-Media-Reform-Movement-Going-Forward.pdf ^
  21. McChesney, Robert W. “Journalism, Democracy, … and Class Struggle.” Monthly Review. November 01, 2000. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://monthlyreview.org/2000/11/01/journalism-democracy-and-class-struggle/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-Robert-W.-McChesney-Journalism-Democracy…and-Class-Struggle.pdf ^
  22. Fund, John. “Comrades for Net Neutrality.” National Review. February 27, 2015. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/02/comrades-net-neutrality-john-fund/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-John-Fund-Comrades-for-Net-Neutraility.pdf ^
  23. Fund, John. “Comrades for Net Neutrality.” National Review. February 27, 2015. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/02/comrades-net-neutrality-john-fund/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-W.-McChesney-John-Fund-Comrades-for-Net-Neutraility.pdf ^
  24. Mark Karlin. “Robert McChesney: Capitalism Is a Bad Fit for a Technological Revolution.” Truthout. May 8, 2016. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://truthout.org/articles/robert-mcchesney-capitalism-is-a-bad-fit-for-a-technological-revolution/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Robert-McChesney-Mark-Karlin-Robert-McChesney-Capitalism-is-a-Bad-fit-for-a-Technological-Revolution.pdf ^
  25. “Robert McChesney.” Discover the Networks. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individuals/robert-mcchesney/. ^
  26. “McChesney, Robert Waterman 1952-.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. 2009. Accessed January 14, 2019. https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/mcchesney-robert-waterman-1952. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Free Press (Non-profit)
    Co-Founder, Former Board Member & President
  2. Free Press Action Fund (Non-profit)
    Co-Founder, Former Board Member & President
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