A look at the various media used to reach and inform voters during elections -- as well as the impact of new media and media ownership on elections.
Elections and Media
We don’t need to rank in importance the issues of special interest money, ludicrous redistricting, and big media. They are each part of a linked democratic challenge. There can be no real democracy without curbing big money. There can be no real democracy without making Congressional districts representative of the areas they encompass. There can be no real democracy without an electorate informed by media that digs for the facts citizens need to help chart the future of our country. Bring these three abuses under control and democracy can flourish again. Only We the People can make
The midterms just completed (except for recounts) were historically important, and in this critical time for our democracy, we must try to make some sense of where we are. The bad news is split government; the good news is split government.
Tuesday, Nov 6 was Election Day in the United States. At the national level, Republicans kept control of the US Senate, while Democrats won enough seats to win control of the US House of Representatives. At Headlines, we keep a close eye on two key Congressional committees because of their jurisdiction over many telecommunications issues and oversight of the Federal Communications Commission: 1) the Senate Commerce Committee and 2) the House Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology Subcommittee. What did we learn about the new Congress?
As Tennessee voters head to the polls, Senate candidate Phil Bredesen (D) is taking aim at Rep Marsha Blackburn’s legacy on broadband. In a recent campaign ad, former-Gov Bredesen calls out the House Telecommunications Subcommittee chair for having “voted against $600 million in broadband initiatives.” At issue: Blackburn’s March 2018 vote against the sprawling omnibus government funding bill that contained a series of committee-negotiated tech legislation central to Blackburn’s panel.
[Commentary] We are in a brave new world. Facebook and 'Big Tech' have contributed to the erosion of our democratic discourse. We need to have these new titans assume responsibilities on par to the influence they have over our information ecosystem. We need to address this bug in our democracy. Short-term policy solutions can help curb some of Facebook’s harmful effects, but the larger task before policymakers -- and all of us -- is to critically examine the long-term health of our democratic discourse.
The special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations owith illegally using social media platforms to sow political discord, including actions that supported the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton. In a 37-page indictment filed in United States District Court, Mueller said that the 13 individuals have conspired since 2014 to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to inf
Donald Trump Jr. had multiple online conversations during the 2016 presidential campaign with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that released a hacked trove of Democrats’ emails, according to four congressional officials. Trump, the president’s son, in recent weeks handed over Twitter messages he exchanged with WikiLeaks to several congressional committees investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election, according to the officials.
Citing a smear campaign to continue to prevent Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] from being seated as the fifth Federal Communications Commissioner, former Fox and ABC/Disney executive Preston Padden has written the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee to call out those tactics and advocate for Sohn, with whom he is not aligned politically. Padden also said he had been in contact with Fox’s Rupert Murdoch, an opponent of the Democratic nominee.
With a White House and Senate under Democratic control, passing sweeping legislation may be a challenge for House Republicans, but it’s likely that they will apply pressure on the current and forthcoming tech policy goals of the Biden-Harris administration. Despite Republicans’ concerns with the current administration’s spending, closing the digital divide should be an area of opportunity for bipartisan action, especially since many Republicans have constituents in severely underserved rural areas.
I no longer believe, and haven’t for years, that our current commercialized and consolidated media is capable of curing its own ills. I applaud what remains of community and independent media. These folks struggle mightily to maintain sufficient resources needed to do their jobs, but it becomes more difficult each year as newspapers are bought up by huge non-community chains, local stations go off the air, newsrooms are shuttered, reporters are fired en masse, and local, regional, and statehouse coverage diminishes. It’s not working; something else is needed.