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.

Facebook Shares New 2020 Election Report With Biden, Trump Teams

Facebook told lawmakers it blocked or removed 265,000 posts for violating the social network’s policies against voter interference and rejected 3.3 million ad submissions as part of its effort to protect the recent US elections against misinformation and foreign influence. The action was cited in a 22-page report summarizing the company’s election work that was distributed Dec 18 to a wide array of members of Congress as well as officials in the outgoing Trump administration and incoming team of President-elect Joe Biden.

How Joe Biden’s Digital Team Tamed the MAGA Internet

Despite having many fewer followers and much less engagement on social media than President Donald Trump, Joe Biden's campaign raised record amounts of money and ultimately neutralized Trump’s vaunted “Death Star” — the name his erstwhile campaign manager, Brad Parscale, gave to the campaign’s digital operation. Figuring out whether any particular online strategy decisively moved the needle for President-elect Biden is probably impossible. Offline factors, such as Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic and the economic devastation it has caused, undoubtedly played a major role.

Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino voters, advocates say

Lapses in tech companies’ policies to address Spanish content led to a proliferation of misinformation targeting Latino voters around Election Day, according to several advocacy groups. Spanish misinformation campaigns largely mimicked those in English that cast doubt on the security of mail-in ballots, later calling into question the election results.