Ben Bagdikian, heroic journalist

Keeping the US news media on task—that whole business of comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable—might well be a losing battle, but that’s never stopped noble people from trying. We lost an important voice in that struggle yesterday, the great Ben Bagdikian. His NY Times obit is here.

His stuff, of which we do have some, is well worth reading if you care about the information landscape, about why our media choose to tell us the tales that they do. We’ve got the 2000 update of his best-known work as an ebook, which is handy. When I met him at a Berkeley dinner party just a few years after the original edition of The Media Monopoly was published, he was clearly a generous, curious, interested man.

While a leading Presidential contender trumpets, “I love the poorly educated!” it’s heartening, perhaps, to be reminded of folks like Ben Bagdikian and his wife Marlene who share that love yet devote their lives to countering the forces that produce poorly educated, ill-informed Americans.


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