Rich Media, Poor Democracy, Part I

THE OPEN MIND
Host: Richard D. Heffner
Guest: Robert W. McChesney
Title: Rich Media, Poor Democracy, Part I
VTR: 11/3/99

I’m Richard Heffner, your host on The Open Mind. Where, as you know, I’ll often as not invite a guest because of a particularly intriguing article, or book or speech, she or he has written or delivered recently, or even in the distant past. Well, this time my attention was particularly drawn to Professor Robert W. McChesney, who I’ll identify as a blessedly radical media scholar at the University of Illinois … drawn by the extraordinary kudos heaped by so many people I admire upon his forthrightly titled new volume Rich Media, Poor Democracy.

Activist Ralph Nader says this book shames those who do nothing and motivates those who are trying to build a more democratic media that reflects the all-important, non-commercial values which forge a just society. And scholar Noam Chomsky refers to my guest’s rich and penetrating study … calls it a very significant contribution. U. S. Senator, Paul Wellstone … let me find that among all of these comments, says that “for those concerned with our democracy and the conditions for that democracy … citizen participation and informed public discourse … McChesney’s book will be a sophisticated and provocative analysis of the troubling oligopolistic” … I’ve said it …”trend sweeping through out media system and so much of our economy today”.

And then Bill Moyers writes … “If Tom Paine were around, he would have written this book. If Paul Revere were here, he would have spread the word. Thank God we have in Robert McChesney their equal in his love of liberty and his passion to reclaim it from the media giants who threaten the conversation of democracy. They treat it as their private property.”

Well, I think they’re all right on target. And to begin I’ll just ask Professor McChesney to elaborate a bit on the determinism inherent in his very title Rich Media, Poor Democracy. That is the way to say, isn’t it?

McCHESNEY: Yeah.

HEFFNER: If you have the one, you have the other.

McCHESNEY: Well, actually, I mean it as a paradox because in conventional reasoning if you have an uncensored commercial marketplace of ideas, you should have the situation … you have the best possible political culture in democratic society. No government censorship, good things will happen. Rich media should lead to rich democracy. But we have things opposite in the United States today. We have a booming media system, dominated by a handful of enormous corporations making massive amounts of money. They have almost no government interference, when in fact the government assists them … a sort of handmaiden in their operations. But our political culture is dilapidated, it’s deteriorated. It’s the exact opposite of what conventional wisdom would tell us. So I try to pursue in this book how can you have this contradiction or this paradox? And my argument in the book, in a nutshell, is simply that we have a media system that’s set up to serve the shareholders and a handful of very large companies and they’re primarily interested in satisfying advertisers to the wealthiest consumers. And it does that fairly well. In fact, that’s exactly what it does extremely well at times. But it’s not set up to provide a public service to the population of this country, or to serve democracy, or the needs that a democratic society has. And that’s the problem that the book tries to address.

HEFFNER: And your solution?

McCHESNEY: Oh, my solution … boy, we’re cutting to end here … my solution is that …

HEFFNER: Then we go back to the middle …

McCHESNEY: [Laughter]

HEFFNER: … and see how you get to the end.

McCHESNEY: … is what we have to do is make it rational for the people who make media decisions to serve the population. We have to reduce the power of Wall Street and Madison Avenue, increase the power of Main Street and every other street. And I recommend at the end of the book, in the final chapter … four or five specific areas that I think we should put our attention to, we should organize around politically, that I think would do that. That would reduce business domination of our media, the corporate commercialism of our media and increase non-commercial public service values.

HEFFNER: You’re saying, in short, turn our current society upside down.

McCHESNEY: Well, our media system … turn it upside down … or certainly turn it ninety degrees, if not 180 degrees …

HEFFNER: Well, wait a minute … I say “our society”, you say, in a sense, no I mean our media society …

McCHESNEY: Well, I think … actually … yes … I’d like to turn our society around, too. I think the two are connected. But specifically the book says, “this is what we should do with the media”. But it’s part of a broader process, which is the hold idea that we should be a democratic society. And that … in that sense, yeah, I want to change our whole society. And to do that we have to change media. Because we can’t … I can’t conceive of … I think it’s impossible to conceive of a truly democratic society … self-governing, with an informed, participating citizenry, with the sort of media system we currently have. The two simply are impossible to put in the same scenario. So if you’re serious about democracy, which means “the rule of the many”, I think you have to be serious about changing our media system. Now the media’s not the only problem, there are lots of other things. But it’s on the short list of things that have to be dealt with.

HEFFNER: Well, you say “rule by the many”.

McCHESNEY: Of the many.

HEFFNER: Of the many? Of, by and for the many?

McCHESNEY: Yeah, I like that, it’s even better.

HEFFNER: When have we ever had that?

McCHESNEY: We’ve never had that. But, you know, that doesn’t mean we don’t fight for it. I mean, you aspire toward it. You know, we’re limited by just what we’ve done in the past, when we look to the future. We learn from the past for how things can change, and what the, what the possibilities are. But we don’t let that be the sole determinant of what we can do in the future. Otherwise, we never would have gotten rid of slavery.

HEFFNER: Well, you’re certainly not misleading in your book. You put it right on the line … you want very fundamental changes, not just in media.

McCHESNEY: That’s right.

HEFFNER: Okay.

McCHESNEY: I mean, I think if you’re going to have a democracy, you need … other than formal guarantees of elections and civil liberties … which are a “given”, but aside from that to have a healthy democracy … you need a few things. You need as little social inequality as possible. You need to have … I mean in a society where you have rampant differences in wealth and income, the formal guarantee of equality that democracy is predicated upon becomes a joke. So you cannot have massive differences in social status and economic levels. Secondly, if you’re going to have a real democracy, you have to have a sense that you’re in this thing together. There’s a sense of community … that what affects your brother or sister affects you. You cannot simply operate in sort of the world view that “I take care of number one and I don’t care if I have to climb over body bags of people to get into my home, as long as my home is safe, I’m happy”. You need to have the sense that there’s … that you’re in it together. And third, you need to have the ability to know what’s going on. You have to have a media system in an advanced society, or a complex society that gives you an accounting of the powers-that- be and the powers-that-want-to-be and a range of opinions on the most important political and social issues today. So you can immerse yourself in it if you so decide. And, and make the decisions that affect your life.

HEFFNER: Well, don’t contemporary American media though pretty well match what our real political philosophy and our real political system has been from the very beginning?

McCHESNEY: Well, in what sense? In terms of its being a pro-commercial enterprise?

HEFFNER: In the sense of not being the kind of democratic society that you posit. That’s something you want.

McCHESNEY: But at the same time … I mean … I think it’s striking the differences, the changes in our media system from the early republic … to the late nineteenth century … to the present day are quite stunning.

HEFFNER: How so?

McCHESNEY: Oh, well, the first two … the 1790s … the passage of the First Amendment … that era … our press system was largely non-profit, it was only quasi-profit and largely non-commercial. It was a partisan press system. The press of the day was integrally linked to the political system. And the papers wrote either directly partisan supported or indirectly partisan supported.

HEFFNER: But how can you separate that … that partisanship from the question of economics? And the question of a class struggle. I mean Charles A. Beard was certainly competent to show that there was at least an economic interpretation of the Constitution …

McCHESNEY: Oh …

HEFFNER: … and didn’t the press divide along those economic lines?

McCHESNEY: Absolutely, in fact the First Amendment was passed precisely because Jefferson and others understood that the party that came into power would use their power to basically crush any dissidents. And their concern was not abstract. Their concern was the propertied interests would come into power and crush the unpropertied minority of the population. And that’s, I think, the basis of the First Amendment. Was their concern justified? Absolutely. The first great Constitutional crisis in this country’s history came during the reign of John Adams. His famous quote was “those who own the country, should rule it”. And John Adams through the Alien and Sedition Acts tried to either arrest or deport all the editors of the dissident newspapers and the Republicans. So it was a very real concern, enmeshed in the politics of that era, and it was very much class oriented.

HEFFNER: Well, then when you say “there’s been a change”, what’s the change been?

McCHESNEY: Well, we don’t have any equivalent of Republican newspapers today. How’s that for a change? We’ve got all the Tory papers still, all the Federalist papers, but we didn’t have the dissident voices any more in our dominant media system, whatsoever so that’s a change.

HEFFNER: Well, you say we have no what in contemporary terms would be a ‘liberal press”? Although you use the word to describe something different …

McCHESNEY: Well, I mean the range of debate in our mainstream commercial news media is the range of elite debate for the most part. So to the extent the elite are agreed on issues basically off the table, and if they’re in disagreement that’s a legitimate issue. So, some issues … but that’s not the appropriate range for a democratic society. The range of debate in a democratic society should arrange for the whole population, not just the “owning classes”, what they’re debating. And we have a media system today that’s very much oriented toward business and commercial interests. And one of the striking features … and it is different from the past … in the 1940s there was not a Left Wing press in the United States in the 1940s, as you well know. In fact it was, in many respects, a more explicitly conservative press. And today’s media which at least alleges neutrality … it doesn’t cover stuff. But in the 1940s there were approximately a thousand full time labor editors and beat reporters in daily newspapers in this country. When the Flynt Sit-down strike took place and set up the UAW … one of the great historic moments in American history in the 1930s … and there should be a national holiday … there was a front page story in every paper across the country, including The Chicago Tribune, a rabidly anti-labor newspaper and they had full time reporters covering that story. At dinner tables across the country people spoke about what that means … labor unions, what does it mean for this country? Pro and con. Today do you know how many full time labor editors and beat reporters there are?

HEFFNER: I couldn’t even guess.

McCHESNEY: Less than five. Less than five. But … business reporters are up in the thousands and we all assume that’s natural. Of course you have to cover … extensive coverage of investors, nothing on labor. And that’s, that’s one of the biases built into our system that no one even notices, so we had in 1989 the largest sit-down strike in this country since Flynt at Pittstown, Virginia. It was completely uncovered in our press system … just blacked out. And people don’t even know about … don’t think in those terms anymore, it’s just been wiped out. It’s not a conscious plan, it’s just a logical way if you’re doing business. If you’re publishing newspapers today, you’re going to orient it towards the people the advertisers want to reach and you’re not going to do it in such a way that antagonizes the interests of the community you’re comfortable hanging out in.

HEFFNER: Well, how do you respond to the media notion … the public gets what it wants. Not what it deserves… what it wants.

McCHESNEY: Absolutely. Well, it’s a very important issue that anyone that makes the criticism that I make has to spend a lot of time on it. I do in the book. As far as it relates to journalism, it’s sort of a nonsensical argument. In the case of journalism specifically the claim has never been you give people what they want … I mean you don’t poll people about what stories they want covered. The idea is that the journalists who cover stories … and then, you know, because you don’t know what you want until you see. I mean who knows if you want to cover East Traymore If you’ve never heard of it. But if you hear about it, you might think it’s an important story. So that argument doesn’t always apply there, although you hear it sometimes. And one of the justifications for the tabloidization … the junk news that we have is that this Is what people want. They want stories about Jon Benet Ramsey and O.J. They don’t want to know about world trade. And I think that’s misleading because I think the real motive force behind the sort of junk news is not at the demand site, it’s the supply side. It’s much cheaper to cover O.J. or Jon Benet Ramsey than it is to have reporters cover toxic dumps in the community. You know that takes real reporters … listen, let me finish this … real reporters, time and if they do break the story, it’s going to get you in trouble with someone powerful. It takes no skill and very little money to cover those Jon Benet stories.

HEFFNER: You know, I would like to agree with you. My sympathies are in that direction. But I find that the answer doesn’t hold terribly well. If you take … I look back … oh, I look back to the period when CBS put an annual program on the air … Eric Serverid interviewing Walter Lippmann. And you may say, “two fat cats”, but let’s just say that the intellectual level of those discussions was a great deal higher than most of what was on the air. It didn’t stay on the air, it wasn’t that CBS didn’t offer it. But the audience, by CBS’s terms, wasn’t large enough and eventually that wonderful annual event, or maybe it was every six months … went off the air. There was an opportunity …

McCHESNEY: MmmHmmm

HEFFNER: … for a public to say, “yes, that’s the sort of thing we want”.

McCHESNEY: Yeah, well usually with journalism, which is a slightly different issue … but in terms of just the general quality of ideas, the public isn’t interested in a higher standard.

HEFFNER: But why do you differentiate. Why do you say “‘journalism”, you mean print journalism rather than …

McCHESNEY: No …

HEFFNER: … electronic media … or the news department.

McCHESNEY: The news department specifically, because they’re … I mean there’s real issues there that journalists are wrestling with corporate … in commercialism and corporate take-over and the decline of hard news. I mean that’s a real serious issue. And I was trying to argue that it’s a supply driven …

HEFFNER: I understand.

McCHESNEY: … not a demand. Now as for the other issue, which is also equally important that … just in that part of the schedule that programmers are going to try to put on the shows that most people are going watch. That’s going to be the primary concern. Which the news isn’t supposed to be the primary concern. In that part of the schedule people would rather watch stuff that I might not think is so great, or you might not think is so great. And that basically they’re giving them what they want. And so therefore, if you’re dissatisfied with what’s on the air, you should be dissatisfied with the people who are demanding it, not the people … would supply them with something better if the people demanded something better. Is that a summation of your argument?

HEFFNER: Yeah, it’s a sort of democratic process.

McCHESNEY: Yeah.

HEFFNER: You know the argument …

McCHESNEY: I know … and I deal with it in depth in the book because I think it’s wrong. I mean the thing is it’s not entirely wrong, there’s an element of truth.

HEFFNER: I mean that’s the trouble … you say it’s wrong … and I think you mean, and I would share that feeling with you … it’s morally wrong. But it’s not intellectually wrong …

McCHESNEY: Well, it is … I mean …

HEFFNER: Tell me how illogical it is.

McCHESNEY: Yeah. Well, it’s not that it’s illogical. The logic, actually, is impeccable.

HEFFNER: I think so.

McCHESNEY: You know the logic is impeccable. What’s wrong is it’s a de-contextualized picture, it’s a half-truth. The relationship between audience and demand/suppliers … demand and supply … demand and markets … is a complex interaction, it’s not just a case of obedient media giants sitting there waiting to get their marching orders from the public, which lofts them at them and they immediately respond. They don’t give the people what they want as much as they give the people what they want within the range of what’s most profitable for them to produce. And I’d argue that’s often times a very different scenario or different range. I’ll give you an example.

HEFFNER: But wait …

McCHESNEY: Let me … 1930s …

HEFFNER: I’m sorry to interrupt you again.

McCHESNEY: Okay. But let me finish the point here because in the 1930s, most Americans … everyone considered wanted no advertising on radio. They just thought it was an obnoxious intrusion in the early 1930s. But they couldn’t give you that one because they can’t make any money on it. Mid-1990s advertising industry surveys show that two-thirds of Americans wanted no commercialism on the Internet. Well, they didn’t give us that one. Couldn’t make any money on it. They give you what you want when they can make money on it. Then when you consume and you develop a taste for it, they say they’re giving you want you want. It’s a more complex relationship. That’s the point I’m making. And if there was incentive to develop tastes in other things we can conceivably like lots of other things. But where the money is in our media culture today, this hyper commercialized system, the way it operates is that there’s not time to develop a lot of ideas. So we have this incessant conservative pressure to always do what worked yesterday and usually strip it of whatever creative spark it has. We see it in music, we see it in popular culture and entertainment. And its not as much as giving people what they want, they’re making huge investments and they’re trying to re-create what worked yesterday without any of the spark and its … often times falls flat on its face. It’s an incredibly poor system for creating new ideas and commercial breakthroughs. Or creative breakthroughs.

HEFFNER: I assume, from what I’ve read and what you’ve said that you feel the media that deal with ideas and entertainment ideas, news ideas … very hard to separate them out, should not be subject to the profit incentive.

McCHESNEY: No. I’d argue that the whole thing should be taken out of profit hands. But I’m saying this inherent …

HEFFNER: You say you do or don’t argue …

McCHESNEY: I don’t argue that the entire thing should be moved from profit hands, that there shouldn’t be a commercial element in our media system. But I do argue though that the stakes are so high that it should not be the dominant motive within it. And that’s why I argue for a real non-profit, not commercial broadcasting policies to really encourage non-profit media … breaking up the biggest companies so the commercial interests don’t have so much power as they currently have and putting strict public service requirements on commercial broadcasters in a way we never have in this country.

HEFFNER: I didn’t think you were a halfway person. I thought you were ready to go “all out”.

McCHESNEY: I think it … believe me, we do that … that will be considered “all out”. That will be a radical change in this world, trust me.

HEFFNER: Trust you in terms of having heavy regulation and making what … public utilities out of certain kinds of …

McCHESNEY: No … let’s … let’s go down the list …

HEFFNER: Go ahead.

McCHESNEY: … if you want to. The things I recommend … first of all, let’s use our public policies to support and subsidize a non-profit, non-commercial media sector. You know, we currently … the myth about our media system is that some natural free market thing built up by heroic entrepreneurs and the government only interferes with them, and it censors them and regulates them. Baloney. The truth is the exact opposite. Our media system is a direct result of extensive government subsidies … regulations and laws that made these companies possible. They were made in our names and the public names … we had no participation in them, they were made behind closed doors by powerful lobbyists in Washington. Massive subsidies in the hundreds of millions of dollars protect the value the television and radio spectrum. My argument is let’s use some of the subsidy to create smaller media … non-profit, non-commercial media. Let’s think of ways to creatively spawn a new sector of media because we have tons of talented people in this country, who don’t have a crack at it right now. One idea for that came from an economist named Dean Baker … said, “Why not let every American take $150.00 out of their taxes and give it any non-profit medium of their choice. No government bureaucrat or commissar touches it. Just as long as it qualifies as a non-profit by the tax code.”.

HEFFNER: Now listen …

McCHESNEY: That’s $30 billion dollars, right there.

HEFFNER: That you’re taking from all those willing people who are saying “take a hundred and fifty dollars”. Do you think there are all that many …

McCHESNEY: Well then just give the money to the government. They have a choice. I don’t want to give it to this media. Easier to go to the government, or I’ll take $150 off of it to go to media. It’s their choice.

HEFFNER: Now, presumably, those … how many dollars … $150 … how much does it add up to?

McCHESNEY: Well, how many taxpayers are there? A hundred million?

HEFFNER: Well, you figured it out …

McCHESNEY: It’d be twenty billion, say a total.

HEFFNER: Okay, twenty … just … pretty soon we’re talking about big money. Twenty billion dollars. Where do we take that from?

McCHESNEY: If everybody does it. Maybe only one … 1/100th of the population would take advantage of it.

HEFFNER: So, it’s a check off.

McCHESNEY: Yeah. I mean if you don’t … either the money goes to the government, or we could say “I want $150 of this to go to this publication or this magazine or website”.

HEFFNER: Just like the check off …

McCHESNEY: Yeah, similar to that. So I mean it’s basically … it’s going to go to the government or to them, it’s your choice. And if you don’t do anything, it just goes to the government. No big deal.
HEFFNER: And what do you think the vote will be?

McCHESNEY: How many people would do it?

HEFFNER: Yeah.

McCHESNEY: I have no idea. I’d like to see. Let’s give it a shot. Let’s get everyone out there competing with their ideas. Let’s have people trying to come up with great things to attract people. Now that’d be … it’d be exciting. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. Let’s do it.

HEFFNER: So we want a competitive situation between them.

McCHESNEY: Well, in that sort of situation, obviously competitive. I mean I’m not opposed to competition. One of the problems with our system today is that it’s totally non-competitive. I mean we only have eight or nine companies that own darn near everything. They’ve got joint ventures with each other. I mean of the nine largest media companies in the US, these are equity joint ventures with a share of ownership on projects with seven of the other eight, usually more than one. Sometimes several as in the case Rupert Murdoch. It’s an extremely non-competitive industry. So I mean I’m not opposed to competition, per se, so I think competition can be … it’s a lot better than not having competition.

HEFFNER: Well, now you were saying there are a number …

McCHESNEY: Yeah. So we start with that. There are probably other ideas the way we could support a non-profit, non-commercial media sector. That’s one of them. I think it’s a good one. Something else is that I’d have real public broadcasting in the United States. What I mean by this, we don’t have public broadcasting in the historic or international sense in the US, we have non-profit commercial broadcasting. It’s a non-profit company, but its not commissioned with the mission of British or Canadian or Scandinavian or Japanese or Indian public broadcasting, which was to provide a non-commercial service to the entire population. In the United States public broadcasting came along after the commercial interests had stolen the airway and got their way with all the politicians and regulators. And its mission was not to serve the entire population, but just to do that stuff that the commercial people couldn’t make any money off of. And it was a much narrower mission. And then they’re put in the spot of trying to go to Washington to get money for their broadcasting and they say, “well, no one’s watching you”.

HEFFNER: How would the usual public broadcasting station or channel’s programs change given this change that you want?

McCHESNEY: Well, I think you would, you would have a lot less of the prime time fare that would be influenced by Archer Daniels Midland, or by the various corporate funders, who play such a large role now determining the prime line fare. There would be much … ideally if we had the sort of reforms that I envision, which is to set up a BBC type set-up where it’s publicly accountable but there’s some autonomy given to the manager, so every time they do a show that’s controversial, they don’t have some guy in Washington calling up, holding hearings to close them down or get them fired. So you’re politically accountable, but you also have enough leeway … ideally you’d have less corporate influence, you’d have less fear of immediate political retribution if you do some controversial programming. And you would have a lot higher quality programming. More money to go into it. I’d like to see it much better funded, and have local stations, community stations … a huge commitment to taking advantage of this significant non-profit, well-funded, non-profit, non-commercial sector.

HEFFNER: And you think the program schedule would reflect something drastic?

McCHESNEY: Yes. I think it would, it would be very different. Although I’m not exactly sure how … that’s something I think that would be determined not by me, but I think it would … one thing I could be sure of though, I don’t think it would mean that when you to PBS when you do today, and look at what’s called public affairs, it basically could have come out of the US Chamber of Commerce. It’s more pro-business than the commercial networks … which is … absurd as that might sound. I think it would, maybe you’d have a voice for labor for once that you don’t now. Now it’s basically, if you watch PBS you think the whole target audience is made up of people with portfolios in the seven figures. It’s all about heroic entrepreneurs and where you can invest money and how to make money here, make money there. In my town, Madison, Wisconsin, what they do is during pledge drives put on all the documentaries about the Civil Rights Movement and the CIO, we fork out the money and then it’s back to Lewis Rukesyer for six months until the next pledge drive. So l think that bias built into the system, that pro-business commercial … pro-commercial bias hopefully we could expunge that completely from public broadcasting. There’s plenty of other places for Archer Daniels Midland to spend their money. They have no shortage of ways to propagandize us.

HEFFNER: You, you feel that the public broadcasting structure has been thorough compromised.

McCHESNEY: Well, it’s a poorly conceived structure in the first place. It needs to be re-done to make it more accountable and more efficient. I mean it’s a labyrinth of Byzantine layers. So I think it … you know there are people, smarter than I am who have thought a lot more about this, who’ve actually put together plans on how you can actually do this. This is the sort of issue that if people put their mind to it, say “let’s re-do public broadcasting”, we could probably come up with some very good alternatives to talk about. But if it’s not an issue, you can’t come up with them. But I think we need to make it an issue, I think the United States desperately needs and deserves a significant non-commercial, non-profit broadcasting presence. And I think, you know, if we want … we should organize to do that. And if we did it we could have the best system in the world, in my opinion.

HEFFNER: Don’t you think it would be as elitist …

McCHESNEY: Well, that’s the whole idea. It is elitist now.

HEFFNER: MmmHmmm.

McCHESNEY: I mean now it’s pitched basically … rationally, if you’re running all these stations and you’re depending upon pledge drive money …

HEFFNER: MmmHmmmm.

McCHESNEY: … and your concern about Republican politicians shutting you down … well you pitch to the upper middle class because they have more money to give to your pledge drive and you know they’ll call up their friends in Congress, and the Congress they elected will back down because so many of their wealthy constituents actually watch these shows. That’s built into the logic now. What I do is get rid of that logic. Will it still be elitist? I don’t know. But it won’t have the same material incentive demanding you be elitist, that we currently have.

HEFFNER: What do you mean?

McCHESNEY: Well, what I just explained. Right now if ;you’re a public TV manager and you do shows aimed at the poorest people in your community, that’s a very fast way to find the exit. See how many have tried it.

HEFFNER: And if you were under the plan that you think could be developed. What would happen?

McCHESNEY: Hopefully, your funding would be dependent upon having wealthy people giving you money directly. So, if you … if your view is to get a large audience made up of poor people, it wouldn’t be held against you, it would actually be a badge of honor?

HEFFNER: You think that the BBC, by the way … and we just have a very short time left … do you think the BBC is your best model in terms of what it puts on the air?

McCHESNEY: Well …

HEFFNER: … its programming?

McCHESNEY: It, it has …

HEFFNER: Go and watch it, for instance.

McCHESNEY: Well, you know I think there … all the various public systems around the world … Scandinavia, Germany, Britain … there are positive things in each of them and weaknesses in each of them. But I think the strength of the great public systems in Europe and Japan has been they’ve been willing to do entertainment programming in addition to what we call public service programming. They’ve been trying to provide something for the entire audience in a way that the US and other broadcasters have never been allowed to or encouraged to.

HEFFNER: I find something contradictory in that, but we’ve reached the end of our rope. Stay where you are, we’ll do another program … Robert McChesney thanks so much for discussing Rich Media, Poor Democracy.

McCHESNEY: My pleasure.

HEFFNER: And thanks, too, to you in the audience. I hope you join us again next time. If you would like a transcript of today’s program, please send four dollars in check or money order to: The Open Mind, P. O. Box 7977, F.D.R. Station, New York, New York 10150

Meanwhile, as an old friend used to say, “Good night and good luck”.

N.B. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this transcript. It may not, however, be a verbatim copy of the program.

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