Preview: How Dollarocracy is Destroying America

The money and power behind this week’s elections results confirm that democracy is under siege. We, the people, don’t control our leaders; instead moneyed interests get their way. Corporations are free to buy politicians, judges and elections with virtually unlimited cash, while big media conglomerates reap billions from political advertising. 

We idealize the notion of political equality in the voting booth but eviscerate it in practice, caught in the clutches of a “money-and-media complex” not unlike the vast “military-industrial complex” President Eisenhower warned us about more than half a century ago.

No one knows the dangers 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 leading scholar of communications and society and a professor at the University of Illinois. Together, ten years ago, they became the founding figures of the media reform movement Free Press and have never flagged in challenging big money and big media. 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.”

Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company. Watch the full show »

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  • Anne Dugan

    I hope it is true that there are some good legal minds out there working to reverse Citizens United (oh, the cynicism behind that name is nauseating). As my friend Ginger says, “Get the Buck Out of Politics!”

  • Just Ducky

    I am afraid this is old news, too limited and doesn’t afford a realistic means of changing the usurpation of our democracy by wealth. It isn’t just money that is corroding our democracy. There are cultural factors, such as a too wide receptivity to money’s entreaties, divisive labeling, profit-conflicted media, apathy and other cultural factors at work here. See the book “America Adrift” that details these and other issues. The book provides historical perspective and offers new thinking- a pragmatic, realistic way forward to restoring our democracy.

    Overturning Citizens United is asking the political hogs to destroy the very trough they feed from. It won’t happen. We have to change the paradigm so that money becomes less effective, less able to sway hearts and minds. That begins with us as voters and media consumers. Read the book. $2 PC/Kindle version on Amazon. Eye opening and action provoking.

  • Dahn Shaulis

    Dollarocracy is a euphemism for fascism.

  • Anonymous

    According to the left, if you’re delayed in a supermarket check-out line, it’s fascism. Stop already with calling everyhing you disagree with “fascism.”

  • Edward Moriarty

    It’s not fascism to be delayed in a supermarket line. It is fascism when wealth and power use that wealth and power to control the direction of governments to the exclusion of ordinary citizens ability to have life and liberty.