– David Croteau, William Hoynes
A small textbook on media homogenization and corporate consolidation, also doubling as a basic textbook in political economy. (But only very basic.)
This textbook was pretty important to me at the very formative time I had read it. That said, I wonder if it would only end up being an interesting cultural artifact of a very specific time. Clearly written in the wake of the Telecommunications Act of 01996, it theorizes the nature of multiple dueling media systems within the larger context of neoliberal-monopoly capitalism. It is very specific in its subject matter, but on its own is not sufficient towards understanding some of the key concepts which underwrite it.
Sadly, it was written in 02006 and most of its subject focuses on the old systems of broadcast media, without much thought or consideration towards the rapid changes digital media would introduce to the underlying economics of the erstwhile “mass” media. Yet, while it desperately tried to offer much-needed alternatives that I adored at the time, it's been scarcely 15 years later and things have already changed so much. I haven't had the chance to revisit the book in full, but my fear is that many of its assumptions about the future have since been turned on their heads. ... and not just in the sense of “they were wrong,” but more in the sense of “they were right, but they'd wish they weren't,” and things they once saw as causes for hope would later turn out to be quite the opposite.