Robert W. McChesney

Robert Waterman McChesney (born December 22, 1952) is an American professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication.[1] He specializes in the history and political economy of communication, and the role media play in democratic and capitalist societies. He co-founded Free Press,[2] a national media reform organization. From 2002–12, he hosted “Media Matters”[3] weekly radio program every Sunday afternoon on WILL-AM radio.

Robert W. McChesney
McChesney in 2005
Robert Waterman McChesney

(1952-12-22) December 22, 1952
Alma mater
OccupationProfessor, author, activist, journalist
EmployerUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Known for
Spouse(s)Inger Stole

Background and education

McChesney was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Samuel Parker McChesney, an advertising salesman for This Week magazine, and Edna Margaret "Meg" (née McCorkle) McChesney, a nurse.[4][5] He attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he studied history and political economy.[6] After college, he worked as a sports stringer for United Press International (UPI), published a weekly newspaper, and in 1979 was the founding publisher of The Rocket, a Seattle-based rock magazine which chronicled the birth of the Seattle rock scene of the late 1980s and 1990s.[7]

Assessment of the media

McChesney has said the term "deregulated media" is a misnomer, that media organizations are a government sanctioned oligopoly, owned by a few highly profitable corporate entities. They have legislative influence and control news coverage, to distort public understanding of media issues.[8]

McChesney's article "Farewell To Journalism" conveys the notion that the current US media system is deteriorating, and that this freefall threatens the democratic system itself. Within the article, he highlights what scholars believe to be the key characteristics of healthy journalism. "It is necessary...that the media system as a whole makes such journalism a realistic expectation for the citizenry."[9]


See also


  1. Robert W. McChesney | Department of Communication | University of Illinois
  2. Free Press website,; accessed April 13, 2015.
  3. "Media Matters | Illinois Public Media". Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  4. "United States Public Records, 1970-2009". FamilySearch. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  5. "Mcchesney, Samuel Parker Jr". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. "Robert McChesney '77 on Tour with New Book: "Dollarocracy"". The Evergreen Mind. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  7. "Professional Experience - Robert W. McChesney". Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  8. Lendman, Stephen (July 2, 2008). "Robert McChesney's The Political Economy of Media (Part I)". Dissident Voice.
  9. McChesney, Robert (23 October 2012). "Farewell To Journalism?". Journalism Practice. 6 (5–6): 614–626. doi:10.1080/17512786.2012.683273.
  10. McChesney, Robert W. "Capitalism as We Know It Has Got to Go". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
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