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McChesney, R. (2014),

Critical Studies in Media Communication

  • z Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible:

Three Radically Democratic Internet Policies


  • Multi-step Flow Theory


  • The internet requires multiple users receiving and sending content through and via multiple means

  • Uses-and-gratification Theory

    • The internet is a new step toward exclusively scratching our own (and only our own) itches

  • Cultivation Theory

    • The internet is deeper medium with greater benefit to, and thus desire from, the individual with access to it


  • Academic Essay


  • based on McChesney work and contemporary research

  • Overriding Thesis

    • The U.S. “desperately needs” and is ripe for an era of fundamental reform

      • This will come via the internet

  • z Proposal #1:


End the ISP Cartel

  • Maybe it would be better if the data-pipe infrastructure was “owned and maintained by the government, just like the highways.”

    • Vint Cerf, former Google executive

z Proposal #1: z End the ISP Cartel  Maybe it would be better if the


Proposal #2:

Treat Monopolies like … Monopolies

  • The Network Effect

    • Increased reliance on ISPs leave consumers with no alternative

    • Increases the likelihood monopolies will not be broken up

  • Quasi-celebrity status of the founders and executives

  • Redistributing the stranglehold on internet technology

    • Put the power of the internet back in the hands of its users, not its engineers

  • z

    Proposal #3:

    Treat Journalism Like a Public Good

    • Every Google search … [makes] people oblivious to the actual information desert we increasingly inhabit.”

    • Advertisers no longer seek platforms

      • Instead, specific audiences

    • Advertisers are now medium-agnostic

      • Journalism is just another commercial endeavor in a sea of available mediums

      • Journalism has lost its intrinsic value of being a public good



    • Allow each American the right to distribute $200/yr ($30 billion) to a “nonprofit medium” of their choice

      • Public subsidies of journalism is present in many of the best

    developed countries on earth (because it’s a public good)

    • No advertising monies

    • Anything produced under the subsidy payments must be entered into the public domain

    • Promote entrepreneurial competition among the firms