Interview with authors of Dollaroracy Nichols & McChesney
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 Dollarocacy, two leading media experts-journalist John Nichols and academic Robert McChesney-examine the forces that have sapped elections of their meaning and stolen American's democratic potential: the pay-to-play billionaires and the politicans 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 taking in billions airing intellectually and morally reprehensible political advertising.
The unprecendented 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, lobbyist, politicans, coin-operated "think tanks", beltway pundits, and now super PACS. These relationships are not just eviscerating democratic elections they are benefitting from that evisceration.
John Nichols is the Nation magazine Washington DC correspondent, A pioneering political blogger, he has written the magazine's Beat column since 1988. Nichols is also a contributing writer for the Progressive and In These Times. He is also the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wi.
Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illnois at Urbana-Chamgaign and the author or editor of twenty-three books. His work has been translated into thirty languages. He is co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization.