January 29, 2010
Note that the Supreme Court decision in Citizen's United V FEC is really a media reform issue.
In my film, Public Interest Pictures' Broadcast Blues, (which was generously funded in part by the Streisand Foundation, thanks Barbra!) I detail how 75% of politicians' time is spent fund raising, and how all that money goes into TV/Radio Advertising. The SCOTUS decision will exacerbate that situation. The winners are the broadcasters, who are licensed to serve the Public Interest, but who are earning as much as 46 percent profits. The losers are the public, whose interest is being co-opted by Corporate Money and Corporate Media.
So media reform is a new front in the battle to regain power for We the People.
Here's what is possible:
With a stroke of his pen, Pres. Obama could tell the FCC to restore the Fairness Doctrine, which would require broadcasters to provide time to political candidates, and to give equal time to all of them. It wasn't until after the Fairness Doctrine was repealed under Reagan that money began to pour into TV and Radio coffers. Some people don't like this idea because they think it infringes on Free Speech; but let's be clear: Radio and TV speech is not free, it is owned and managed by a few corporations who solely decide which points of view to air. (See my post here at Sue Wilson Reports for more on that issue.)
Congress could also enact free airtime rules, or it could enact public financing rules. Either would take an act of Congress; any bets on that happening anytime soon?
The single most important thing Congress must do is to repeal those sections of the 1996 Telecommunications Act which stack the deck against We the People.
President Obama made media an issue in his State of the Union address. It is time for a revolution, this one to retake that which is ours: the media that informs our democracy.
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