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Strategies for Media ReformInternational Perspectives$
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Des Freedman, Jonathan Obar, Cheryl Martens, and Robert W. McChesney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271641.001.0001

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Waves of Struggle

Waves of Struggle

The History and Future of American Media Reform

(p.209) Chapter Seventeen Waves of Struggle
Strategies for Media Reform

Victor Pickard

Fordham University Press

The 1940s was a contentious decade for U.S. media policy. Activists, policymakers, and media industries grappled over defining the normative foundations that governed major communication and regulatory institutions. At this time, a reform agenda took shape at both the grassroots social movement level and within elite policy circles. An analysis of the rise and fall of this postwar media reform movement holds at least three key lessons for contemporary media activists. First, it reminds us of the imperative to maintain a strong inside/outside strategy that keeps regulators connected to the grassroots. Second, we learn that media activists retreat on structural reform objectives at their own peril. Finally, we must remember that media reform rises and falls with other political struggles and radical social movements. With these lessons in mind, media reformers should seek to build liberal/left coalitions and, perhaps, a new popular front.

Keywords:   media activism, media history, media policy, media reform, political economy, radical politics, social movements

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