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.

Two Republican judges just let Texas seize control of Twitter and Facebook

Conflicting lower court rulings about removing controversial material from social media platforms point toward a landmark Supreme Court decision on whether the First Amendment protects Big Tech’s editorial discretion or forbids its censorship of unpopular views.

New Street Research: Time is 'running out' for Gigi Sohn's FCC confirmation

It’s been nearly a year since President Joe Biden named Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] as his pick to become the fifth member of the Federal Communications Commission, but the nominee’s prospects of actually being installed are as unclear as ever. A fresh report from The Deal tipped Sohn to squeak through the Senate confirmation process during a lame duck session in the coming months. But New Street Research analyst Blair Levin warned it’s extremely difficult to predict what will happen.

California Public Utilities Commission Eyes Big Changes to Low-Income Internet Subsidies

An impending vote by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) could drastically change access to state and federal communications subsidies, the kind often relied upon by low-income households for Internet and telephone services. Proposed Decision 20-02-008 addresses whether recipients of federal subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and similar federal subsidy programs would also be able to receive maximum subsidies through the California LifeLine program.