This week on Tell Somebody (now airing at its NEW TIME at 9AM Thursday mornings!), host Tom Klammer will be talking to Robert McChesney, co-author of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America.
About the book:
When President Barack Obama was reelected, some pundits argued that, despite unbridled campaign spending, here was proof that big money couldn’t buy elections. The exact opposite was the case. The 2012 election was a quantum leap: it was America’s first $10 billion election campaign. And it solidified the power of a new class in American politics: the fabulously wealthy individuals and corporations who are radically redefining our politics in a way that, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy. It is the world of Dollarocracy.
U.S. elections have never been perfect, but America is now hurtling toward a point where the electoral process itself ceases to function as a means for citizens to effectively control leaders and to guide government policies. In Dollarocracy, two leading media experts—journalist John Nichols and academic Robert McChesney—examine the forces that have sapped elections of their meaning and stolen America’s democratic potential: the pay-to-play billionaires and the politicians who do their bidding, the corporations that have been freed to buy elections and the activist judges who advance their agenda, and the media conglomerates that blow off journalism while raking in billions airing intellectually and morally reprehensible political advertising.
The unprecedented tidal wave of unaccountable money flooding the electoral system makes a mockery of political equality in the voting booth. The determination of media companies to cash in on that mockery, especially by selling ad time at a premium to the campaigns—when they should instead be exposing and opposing it—completes a vicious circle. What has emerged, argue Nichols and McChesney, is a “money-and-media election complex.” This complex is built on a set of commercial and institutional relationships connecting wealthy donors, corporations, lobbyists, politicians, coin-operated “think tanks,” beltway pundits, and now super-PACS. These relationships are not just eviscerating democratic elections, they are benefitting by that evisceration.
With groundbreaking new research and reporting, Dollarocracy concludes that the money-and-media election complex does not just endanger electoral politics; it poses a challenge to the DNA of American democracy itself.