Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Fighting for Air

Fighting for Air

The Battle to Control America's Media

Eric Klinenberg

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An "admirably researched and lucidly written" investigation of the corporate takeover of the media—and what it means for Americans —that "should serve as a wake-up call" (Daniel Schorr, NPR)

For the residents of Minot, North Dakota, Clear Channel Communications is synonymous with disaster. When a train derailment sent a cloud of poisonous gas drifting toward the small town, Minot's fire and rescue departments attempted to use local radio to warn residents of the approaching threat. But in the age of canned programming, there was no one at the six local non-religious commercial stations, all owned by Clear Channel, to take the call. The result for the people of Minot: one death and more than a thousand injuries.

Opening with the story of the Minot tragedy, Fighting for Air takes us into the world of preprogrammed radio shows, empty television news stations, and copycat newspapers to show how expanding conglomerate ownership of all media has harmed American political and cultural life—and how malign neglect by the federal government allowed it to happen. In a call for action, Fighting for Air also reveals a rising generation of activists and citizen journalists who are insisting on the local coverage we need and deserve.



At approximately 1:39 a.m. on January 18, 2002, a 112-car Canadian Pacific Railway train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed just outside Minot, North Dakota, the fourth largest city in the state. According to the operating...


Praise for Fighting for Air

“Eric Klinenberg has written an extraordinary and powerful account of the devastating elimination of localism in U.S. media and journalism, and how Americans from all walks of life are rising up to challenge the great media crisis that grips our nation today. Brilliantly written and tightly argued, Fighting for Air is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand what is going on in this country, and why it is so important to our future.” —Robert W. McChesney, author of The Problem of the Media

“Eric Klinenberg has given us a chilling report on how the American news media, increasingly concentrated, have made a mockery of the commitment to operate 'in the public interest, convenience, and necessity.' Admirably researched and lucidly written, Fighting for Air should serve as a wake-up call on the deafness of radio and television to communal needs.” —Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio

“Big media conglomerates--in radio, TV and newspapers--have taken over local outlets all over America, silencing independent local voices. Eric Klinenberg has done a masterful job of researching what has happened to America's local news media. Fighting for Air is a must-read for anyone who cares about the role of the media in a democracy.” —George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant!

Fighting for Air is a richly detailed, compelling, and timely investigation into the problem of the U.S. media and what people are doing to take it back. Klinenberg pulls back the curtain on complex media policy issues, with stories of real people, how they have been harmed by Big Media, and follows up with inspiring tales of underdogs who are fighting back and winning. This book is a call to action to fight for a strong, vigorous, independent media.” —Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!

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About the author

Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg is an associate professor of sociology at New York University. Author of the acclaimed Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Klinenberg has also written for The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Nation, and Slate.

Eric Klinenberg

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