Digital Disconnect by Robert McChesney

  1. What three topics does McChesney address in this book?
  2. What is Political Economy? What is the most fundamentally important determinant in this theory?
  3. Why is Political Economy a method better suited for his study than what the Skeptics and the Celebrants offer?
  4. What is Political Economy of Communication? What is the relationship between communication, economic resources, and political power?
  5. Summarize two examples, from Chapter 3, McChesney uses to explain the connection between communication, economic resources, and political power. You might consider selecting one historical and one contemporary example.
  6. Summarize two examples, from Chapter 4, that address how the openness of the Internet was closed by powerful monopolistic interests from the pre-Internet age.
  7. Summarize two examples, from Chapter 5, that address how the Internet has begat new emergent monopolistic interests in the digital age.
  8. Why does the Internet, according to McChesney in Chapter 6, threaten the viability of valuable public debate in journalism and what effect does that have for political power?
  9. Using two contemporary media industries we’ve studied in class, discuss how you would use political economy of communication to examine these media industries? What would your analysis tell us about the relationship of political power, economic resources, and contemporary media?
  10. Conclude with a discussion of whether you agree or disagree with McChesney’s method and why you think his use of political economy works (or doesn’t work) for studying contemporary media.
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