cover image Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media

Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media

, . . Metropolitan, $26 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7819-0

Klinenberg is clearly aiming to deliver the Fast Food Nation of corporate media, and his disdain for conglomerates blares from every page, constantly reminding readers that a handful of companies have a stranglehold on media outlets, subverting the public interest for the sake of profit. It's a grim world where radio stations can't inform their listeners about local disasters because all the programming is recorded at a studio in some other state, where TV newscasters don't bother covering state elections, and even the alternative press has given its pages over to advertisers. The author's coverage appears scattershot, because it tries to take in as much of the media landscape as possible, but each section is extensively reported, and the pieces do finally fit together in the final chapters. As Klinenberg details former FCC chairman Michael Powell's efforts to loosen restrictions on how many American television stations one corporation can own, the story becomes a perfect convergence of his issues with large corporate entities and the Bush administration, as well as his enthusiasm for grassroots civic activism. His impassioned call to restore local journalism and its role in creating informed, engaged communities is sure to strike a chord with readers. (Jan.)