Written by Cliff Kincaid - AIM.org
[Who is Behind "Media Reform?" read Part One here]
A professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Robert W. McChesney has said that "media reform" should be part of the march toward socialism in America and that capitalism has to be dismantled "brick by brick." Van Jones, the ousted communist "Green Jobs Czar" of the Obama Administration, served with McChesney on the board of Free Press, a George Soros-funded organization, in 2007 and 2008.
Despite its socialist orientation, Free Press is financially supported by extremely wealthy individuals such as George Soros, the leftist billionaire, and Marcy Carsey, one of the creators of The Cosby Show whose net worth has been estimated at $600 million. Carsey serves on the Free Press board and was a top Obama inauguration donor, having contributed $50,000 to the event.
Where is the Balance?
Jay Pearce, director of creative content of WILL Radio at the University of Illinois and executive producer of McChesney's radio show, declared, "That's a good question," when asked why the radical "media scholar" fails to include interviews with any identifiable conservatives on the air.
Mark Leonard, general manager of WILL, said, "It doesn't concern me," when asked about the complete lack of conservative guests. "What we celebrate is a diversity of points of view," he said, although he couldn't name one conservative on the air on WILL. He said he assumes that conservatives sometimes call into the "Media Matters" program, and that was good enough for him.
The biased programming contradicts the purposes of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and requires objectivity and balance in programs funded by the CPB.
"From its advent more than four decades ago, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has had a legal mandate to ensure 'strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature,'" the CPB says. "This principle is part of the bedrock of public broadcasting in America, a country built upon a foundation of lively and open political and social discourse."
These descriptions of some of his recent shows and guests provide an illustration of the one-sided news and information that he regularly puts on the air:
Interestingly, on February 18, 2007, McChesney interviewed Mark Lloyd, now the FCC chief diversity officer who was then a fellow at the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. He urged more federal involvement in telecommunications policy, including more tax dollars for a "fully-funded" public broadcasting. McChesney said Lloyd was so informative that he should be a "permanent guest." Lloyd returned the favor, saying, "Much of what I learned about public broadcasting, early years, came from reading you Bob."
The Partisan Political Agenda
While he postures as a "media scholar," McChesney is himself a political and partisan activist, as demonstrated in Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. These disclose thousands of dollars in financial contributions from McChesney to political candidates, all of them Democrats except for one Green Party nominee in Illinois, a retired visiting professor at the University of Illinois by the name of Carl Estabrook who was known for his far-left perspective on the Middle East.
McChesney used his radio show back in 2002 to promote Estabrook, who holds the view that Israel is "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States government" and a "pariah state" engaged in an illegal occupation.
McChesney contributed to Barack Obama in 2004, when he was running for the Senate in Illinois, and then-Rep. and now Senator Bernie Sanders, socialist from Vermont.
But in 2008, he supported Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who advocated a federal "Department of Peace," and former Senator John Edwards, later exposed as an adulterer. Back in 2000, McChesney contributed to Ralph Nader's run for president.
On the Senate level, McChesney contributed financially to Senators Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jon Tester of Montana, and James Webb of Virginia, and Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont. McChesney featured both Brown and Sanders on his radio show several times.
McChesney also contributed to the Progressive Patriots Fund, the leadership political action committee of Senator Feingold, and the campaigns of Reps. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (Illinois), Chet Edwards (Texas) and Donna Edwards (Maryland).
The Center for American Progress
McChesney's well-financed Free Press is not alone in the effort to transform the media along Marxist lines. Supporting the project is the so-called Center for American Progress (CAP), the Soros-funded group that employed Mark Lloyd before he went to work at the FCC as Associate General Counsel and chief diversity officer. CAP itself released a proposal for "an independent and stable funding stream for public media" in its Change for America book project that was designed to influence the Obama Administration. The sources for the report included books and articles written by McChesney.
The author, Lauren Strayer, was a producer at Air America, the liberal radio network that went through bankruptcy in 2006.
Not surprisingly, Strayer would later surface as a contributor to the Free Press report, "Public Media's Moment," which urged "new public funding for new public media" and the creation of a "White House Commission on Public Media" to bring this about.
This same proposal was recently adopted by discredited former CBS Evening News anchorman Dan Rather, who called for a "White House Commission on Public Media" during an appearance before the Aspen Institute. Rather was a featured speaker at the 2008 conference of McChesney's Free Press and has become a hero of the progressive "media reform" movement.