Media and Politics:?Kingmakers, Campaigns And the Price of Policy

Media and Politics: Kingmakers, Campaigns And
the Price of Policy

This year’s presidential race may be the first in history to
receive more paid TV time than free, as the networks continue to
cut back on political coverage while raking in record amounts of
money from political ads. Media companies meanwhile recycle some of
these profits into campaign contributions, buying politicians
silence on issues like requiring free airtime for candidates.
MediaChannel editor Aliza Dichter has put together a
special report exploring the entangled relationship between media
industries, politicians and policy.

‘The relationship between media and politics is the hidden disease
of American electoral democracy,’ writes Dichter. ‘Media companies
are among the highest donors to political campaigns, while rarely
covering their own role in campaign financing. Advertising – money
paid to media outlets – is the single highest campaign expense,
while, as President Clinton has noted, the United States is the
only ‘major democracy’ that doesn’t mandate free air time for
political candidates and parties.’

Dichter’s comprehensive compilation includes in-depth analyses of
the impact of media money on politics and policy from FAIR
(Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), Columbia Journalism
and Mother Jones (see the September/October
issue of Utne Reader). Also featured in the report are links
to the media policy platforms of the Democratic, Republican and
Green party platforms (Reform party and Buchanan campaign platforms
do not include any positions on media policy), as well as articles
from the Civil Rights Forum on Communications Policy, Freedom Forum
and Z Magazine on where the candidates stand on media issues.
Leif Utne

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