This past Tuesday, special interests pumped big money into promoting or tearing down candidates and ballot initiatives in elections across the country. It was a reprise on a small scale of the seven billion dollars we saw going into presidential, congressional and judicial races in 2012. To sway the vote, wealthy individuals and corporations bought campaign ads, boosting revenues at a handful of media conglomerates who have a near-monopoly on the airwaves.
No one knows the dangers of this ‘money-and-media complex’ better than John Nichols and Robert McChesney, who speak with Bill this week on Moyers & Company. Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and a pioneering political blogger. McChesney is a professor and leading scholar of communications at the University of Illinois. Their latest book is Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America.
“Democracy means rule of the people, one person, one vote,” McChesney says. “Dollarocracy means the rule of the dollars. One dollar, one vote. Those with lots of dollars have lots of power. Those with no dollars have no power.” Nichols tells Moyers: “Dollarocracy has the ability to animate dead ideas. You can take an idea that’s a bad idea, buried by the voters. Dollarocracy can dig it up and that zombie idea will walk among us.”