A Voters Guide to Indie Media Issues

| 2/4/2008 7:36:32 AM

Where do the candidates stand when it comes to supporting alternative media?

by Jason Ericson

TV static smallSo far this election, the media’s focus has been limited to calling (rather unsuccessfully) the long and short odds of the presidential candidates as they jockey for primary positions. Analysis of the candidates’ platforms has been scarce. We know that change = good, terrorists = bad, and health care reform is important (minus the details).

Beyond a few touchstone issues, though, information turns from scant to nonexistent. The sorry state of mainstream election coverage makes this much clear: A flourishing independent media should be a campaign issue. So we ferreted out the candidates’ stances on some key issues that determine the health of the country’s independent media, and homed in on two major strains:  

First, we looked at their positions on media ownership, specifically recent trends toward consolidation. This includes the candidates’ responses to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule change in December that relaxed restrictions on a single company’s ability to own both a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the same market. The rule change is a boon to industry moguls, and, as the Nation reports, poses a great threat to media diversity.

Second, we examined their stances on network neutrality—the belief that in order to preserve the democratic nature of the Internet, service providers shouldn’t be able to charge more based on content, website destination, or platform. In other words, the information highway shouldn’t become an information toll way. This fundamental tenet of the internet has helped usher in an era of unprecedented openness and participation in the creation of media. 

2/7/2008 10:35:25 AM

Good points bob f., but at what point does Hillary stop being held accountable for her husband's record? And who do you support then?

bob f.
2/5/2008 11:32:10 PM

During the Clintons' first two terms, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed to allow media conglomerates like Clear Channel to acquire over 1,200 radio stations by 2003. Media mergers like the Tribune Company/Los Angeles Times-Mirror merger, which further monopolized the U.S. media industry were also approved by the Clintons' first administration. A major promoter of Barack Obama's political career since 1996 has been Tribune Company/Times-Mirror, which now owns 23 television stations in the USA. Both the Clintons and Obama have been given multi-million dollar book contracts by media conglomerates in recent years. So it's unlikely that the Clintons and Obama are going to, all of a sudden, really support the creation of an alternative media in the United States that actually threatens the special economic interests of the U.S. Big Media Monopoly/media conglomerates. http://www.bfeldman68.blogspot.com

2/5/2008 4:32:53 PM

I am dissappointed that Republican candidate Ron Paul was missed in this article. He has placed 2nd in several of the primaries beating each of the candidates in turn and remains a viable candidate in a brokered nomination convention. He has a fantastic record of supporting net neutrality.

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