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.

The Summer of Our Discontent

The summer of our discontent steams more hotly by the day: a deadly and surging pandemic taking more than 130,000 lives across the nation; an economy bleeding millions of jobs and livelihoods and denying basic subsistence to many; mass protests assembling in streets nationwide to demonstrate against systemic racism and police brutality; and dysfunctional government at all levels and in every branch from White House to Congress to courthouses to statehouses and often beyond. Can we handle it? Can America conquer its ills and overcome? Can our democracy itself deal with its discontents? 

Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him.

Hours after President Trump’s incendiary post about sending the military to the Minnesota protests, he called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The post put the company in a difficult position, Zuckerberg told President Donald Trump. The same message was hidden by Twitter, the strongest action ever taken against a presidential post.

Biden campaign assails Facebook for 'haggling’ with Trump over his online posts

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign demanded that Facebook prevent misuse of its platform by President Donald Trump to spread “hateful content” and misleading claims about mail-in voting ahead of the November election. The letter, signed by Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, raised particular concern about revelations in a 

How to combat online voter suppresion

With five months to go until a presidential election that promises to be a major test of American democratic institutions, American laws are in desperate need of update to address digital forms of voter suppression and how political debate and campaigning has moved online. Several ideas for rules that government could enact to provide the necessary transparency to help ensure that voter suppression does not run unchecked online include:

Could President Trump claim a national security threat to shut down the internet?

“I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about,” President Donald Trump said in a 2020 Oval Office exchange. One of those powers is his authority to shut down radio, television, both wireless and wired phone networks, and the internet. It is not a big step from using the power of the government to threaten free expression to actually doing something to curtail that expression. All it takes is a unilateral “proclamation by the President” of the existence of a “national emergency.”

Facebook Removes Trump Campaign Ads for Violating Policy on Use of Hate Symbol

Facebook took down campaign posts and ads for President Donald Trump, citing violations of the company’s policy against what it called “organized hate,” as the social-media company grapples with what content to allow on its platforms. The ads, featuring a downward-pointing triangle, targeted antifa, describing the movement as “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups.” The ads asked Trump supporters to back President Trump’s calls to designate antifa as a terrorist organization.

Leading Scholars and Organizations Announce Support for Rep. Eshoo’s Bill to Ban Microtargeted Political Ads

Several leading experts and groups announced support for the Banning Microtargeted Political Ads Act (HR 7014), legislation introduced by Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to strengthen our democracy by prohibiting microtargeted political ads. Leading privacy and campaign reform scholars Woodrow Hartzog, Shoshana Zuboff, Ashkan Soltani, and G.

Our Open Letter To Facebook

Over the past year, the Biden for President campaign has called on Facebook to meet the commitment the company made after 2016 — to use its platform to improve American democracy rather than as a tool to spread disinformation that undermines our elections. The campaign has proposed meaningful ways to check disinformation on your platform and to limit the effect of false ads. But Facebook has taken no meaningful action.

FCC Commissioner Carr Slams Twitter for Tagging President Trump Tweets

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr slammed social media and their Sec. 230 exemption from liability for how they handle third-party content--both taking it down and leaving it up. Tucker Carlson asked Commissioner Carr why the White House and Congress had not done anything about the exemption. Commissioner Carr cited the reports that the President's executive order would be "addressing some of these issues," then went off on social media himself.

President Trump Threatens To Shut Down Social Media After Twitter Adds Warning To His Tweets

Tensions between President Donald Trump and Twitter escalated as he threatened to "strongly regulate" or shut down social media platforms, which he accused of silencing conservative viewpoints. President Trump's threat came the day after Twitter added a fact-check warning to his tweets claiming that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. "Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices," President Trump tweeted the morning of May 27. "We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.