Robert McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a socialist media activist who advocates for greater government control of the media industry.
McChesney is a co-founder of the Free Press, an organization that advocates against the control of media organs by large businesses and defends so-called “net-neutrality,” a regulatory policy governing how bandwidth is allocated that some have argued will “turn the internet into a public utility.” He is also formerly the editor of the Monthly Review, and independent socialist magazine. 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. 
McChesney has written or edited 27 books, predominantly on the subjects of economics, capitalism, and the media.
After receiving a B.A. in economics and history at Evergreen State University in 1977, 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. before teaching journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1988 to 1998.
McChesney hosted a local weekly radio show sponsored by NPR and PBS entitled “Media Matters” from 2002 until the final broadcast on October 7, 2012. He later advocated for the “massive expansion of public broadcasting” that would direct more tax revenue to such programs.
For more information, see Free Press
Also in 2002, McChesney and future founder of Represent.Us Josh Silver created Free Press, 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. Free Press allied early on with other progressive organizations like Common Cause, MoveOn, and Code Pink to oppose media deregulation.
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.” 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.”
When questioned about his socialist views, McChesney has said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist” 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.”
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.