Elections and Media

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.

Connecting the Challenges to Our Democracy

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

From Midterms to What?

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.

The Trump Midterm: Looking at the 116th Congress

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?

Bredesen's Broadband Broadside

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.

Is Facebook a 'Bug' in Our Democracy? Part 3

[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.

13 Russians Indicted by Special Counsel in First Charges on 2016 Election Interference

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. Communicated With WikiLeaks During Campaign

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.

Twitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outlets

Twitter has admitted it amplifies more tweets from rightwing politicians and news outlets than content from leftwing sources. The company examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. It also studied whether political content from news organisations was amplified on Twitter, focusing primarily on US news sources such as Fox News, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.

Federal judge blocks Florida law that would penalize social media companies

US District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida blocked a Florida law that would penalize social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, a blow to conservatives’ efforts to respond to Facebook and other websites’ suspension of former president Donald Trump. The law was due to go into effect July 1, but in issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge suggested that the law would be found unconstitutional. “The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” Judge Hinkle wrote.

Expanding broadband would benefit red America more than blue

The national map of broadband need published by the White House offers an extra layer of information beyond its detailed look at internet access in the United States.