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

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
An "admirably researched and lucidly written" investigation of the corporate takeover of the media--and what it means for Americans --that "should serve as a wake-up call" (Daniel Schorr, NPR)
For the residents of Minot, North Dakota, Clear Channel Communications is synonymous with disaster. When a train derailment sent a cloud of poisonous gas drifting toward the sm
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Holt Paperbacks (first published September 5th 2000)
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Kirk Sinclair
Nov 03, 2010 Kirk Sinclair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contributed mightily to one essay in my own work, Systems out of Balance. The real pioneer in this area is Robert McChesney, whose main message is the threat of corporate controlled media to democracy. Perhaps because of this context I can't quite agree with some of the criticisms I see in some of the reviews on Goodreads, and I'll use those as a foil for my own.

While I don't doubt that Klinenberg shares McChesney's sentiment, I would say the overall emphasis is on the problem of media
Mitchell Szczepanczyk
Mar 08, 2007 Mitchell Szczepanczyk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book is a history of the politics of American media in the United States since roughly 1980, but with discursions far earlier, and ramifications deep into the future. It doesn't just paint a bleak picture; it describes those citizens and activists who have been working to improve things, and inspires readers to act.

The one complaint about this book is that it doesn't delve deeply enough into the issue; as someone who has worked very deeply on these issues, and as someone who personally kno
Feb 04, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although lengthy, I thought this book provided a detailed review of what has been happening to the American mass media in the past few decades. Klinenberg offers plenty of anecdotes, which are helpful in illustrating his point about mass media. The book was long, however, and being someone who was fairly unfamiliar with this "hot topic," it was slightly hard to follow due to being so complex and full of intricate details. Once I was able to sort through all of the details, I found that I liked t ...more
Tayyab Baloch
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Todd Martin
Media Consolidation

Fighting for Air outlines the concentration of media ownership that has occurred in the US over the past half century. The government initially considered newspaper and later radio and television to be part of the public trust and intended that they be regulated in the public interest. Laws were passed that restricted monopoly ownership, ensuring that the media represented a diversity of views. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) formed by the Communications Act of 1934 has been actively
Aug 14, 2007 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something oddly unsatisfying about this book, which critically reviews the last 30 or so years of American mass media evolution/consolidation (radio, TV, newspapers, internet) and essentially argues that the U.S. should turn back the FCC's regulatory clock to 20 or 30 years.

It's not the history Klinenberg reviews that is dissatisfying - I too despise Clear Channel, TV news, Murdoch's News Corp and fear the loss of "net neutrality," and he marshals the facts ably - it's his conclusions.

Klinenberg is a muckraker of the 21st Century. In this book he takes on the media industry, looking at how increased ownership concentration (largely a product of the 1996 Telecom Act) has affected the practices of local media. I was aware of some of the problems (e.g., non-local broadcasts faked as local, video news clips), but the evidence here is overwhelming. Even if you've never thought much about how the media business is negatively influencing the information and culture you consume, you ...more
Jean Marie Davis
Sep 02, 2009 Jean Marie Davis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology, non-fict
At best books make me question why it is I do what I do. This book did tons of that. I seriously hate Comcast and Clear Channel now. Media conglomeration is the devil.

I knew that media conglomeration made me ill since it's been the death of local radio, etc. but the fact that it can so negatively effect democracy is frightening.

Loved this book. Going to meet the guy in less than a month.
Jul 25, 2007 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Engagingly written; tears apart my personal favorite whipping boy, corporations - in this case, big media of the likes of Clear Channel and the Murdoch empire - while offering some cause for optimism about ordinary people's ability to curtail their hegemony. Lots of things we should all know about media consolidation and its enormous effect on society.
Sep 03, 2007 Corinne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: activists.
Shelves: activism
This book has an incredible array of information. Fighting for Air covers the basics of why media is important for a healthy democracy and gives a ton of background on Low Power FM, the FCC, and media consolidation.

To get involved, check out:
Mar 02, 2008 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of super-important information here, but a pretty dry reportorial style mixed in with boilerplate rhetoric and too many extended quotes -- sort of like reading a dozen features in The Nation end-to-end, or an extended treatise on why you should eat your vegetables.
Well researched, but rather dry. Unlike the other two of Klinenberg's works I've read, this book had far less enthnographic research.
little local coverage; more prepackaged programming, including news; less emergency warning/action communications
Apr 01, 2009 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs to read this book 2.
Kristina Gibson
Jul 10, 2013 Kristina Gibson rated it really liked it
Probably the most eye-opening book I've read all year. I suspected the harm that media conglomeration was doing, but had no idea of the extent. Pretty shocking.
Evan Lerner
Evan Lerner rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2008
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Jul 17, 2010
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Mar 23, 2008
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Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology; Public Policy; and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University. He is the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chica ...more
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