Robert Waterman McChesney, PhD (born 1952) is an American professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication. He specializes in the history and political economy of communication, and the role media play in democratic and capitalist societies. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization. From 2002–2012 McChesney hosted the “Media Matters” weekly radio program every Sunday afternoon on WILL-AM radio.
He says "deregulated media" is a misnomer, that the media are a government sanctioned oligopoly, owned by a few highly profitable corporate entities. They have legislative influence and control news coverage, to distort public understanding of media issues. McChesney says this began with the control of radio media. He views the Communications Act of 1934 as allowing monopolistic rights to broadcasters who had shown the greatest propensity for profit. Subsequent to this act were the provisions of the Fairness Doctrine, which had provisions for public interest broadcasting due to the scarcity of the broadcasting resource. These restrictions were later overturned in the 1980s under the banner of "deregulation."