The Federal laws surrounding the Federal Communications Commission and national media are also New Deal social Democracy----they created this Federal agency to protect the American people from a media control by the rich -----as has happened these few decades.
The idea back then is the same as the Internet Neutrality debate is today-----the technology that gave us the ability to have national broadcast media-----the airwaves from which media travels was developed and paid for largely with US taxpayer money----and as such needed to be regulated to assure US citizens had voice and control over media content and expansion. We are now having this same discussion over the Internet-----also developed, installed, and expanding with US taxpayer money----also needing to allow equal opportunity and access by all citizens----and regulations that keep corporations from building monopolies on the internet as they did in our national media.
Baltimore's media is completely controlled by very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and Wall Street Baltimore Development----it promotes the idea that Baltimore's future is tied to the Master Plan and Baltimore Development is the source of vision and it does not allow any viewpoint that educates against this march to NEW WORLD ORDER. We can hear citizens shouting against police brutality and housing injustice----but we cannot say it is all Baltimore Development and a development tool----we can shout against all of the corporate fraud and government corporation pretending it is simply the City Council and Mayor pushing the corruption but we cannot out Johns Hopkins and Baltimore Development as behind the dismantling of all public agencies----all oversight and accountability----of City Charter rules giving the Mayor of Baltimore all control and then making sure that mayor works for Baltimore Development which moves billions of dollars in Baltimore revenue to the top while the crony political machines are allowed to move a few millions.
ALL OF THIS IS PROTECTED FROM DISCUSSION BY BALTIMORE'S CLOSE MEDIA-----AND IT WAS NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL A CENTURY AGO. OF COURSE NEWPAPER MOGULS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PROTECTIVE OF THE INNER WORKINGS OF COMMERCE----BUT THEY SOLD PAPER AND MADE MONEY WITH REAL JOURNALISM.
Please take time to learn the history of our Federal Communications laws----how global pols dismantled and silenced citizen voice---and how we can reverse all this EASY PEASY.
The Fairness Doctrine
How we lost it, and why we need it back
By Steve RendallA license permits broadcasting, but the licensee has no constitutional right to be the one who holds the license or to monopolize a…frequency to the exclusion of his fellow citizens. There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the Government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others…. It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.
— U.S. Supreme Court, upholding the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 1969.
When the Sinclair Broadcast Group retreated from pre-election plans to force its 62 television stations to preempt prime-time programming in favor of airing the blatantly anti-John Kerry documentary Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal, the reversal wasn’t triggered by a concern for fairness: Sinclair back-pedaled because its stock was tanking. The staunchly conservative broadcaster’s plan had provoked calls for sponsor boycotts, and Wall Street saw a company that was putting politics ahead of profits. Sinclair’s stock declined by nearly 17 percent before the company announced it would air a somewhat more balanced news program in place of the documentary (Baltimore Sun, 10/24/04).
But if fairness mattered little to Sinclair, the news that a corporation that controlled more TV licenses than any other could put the publicly owned airwaves to partisan use sparked discussion of fairness across the board, from media democracy activists to television industry executives.
Variety (10/25/04) underlined industry concerns in a report suggesting that Sinclair’s partisanship was making other broadcasters nervous by fueling “anti-consolidation forces” and efforts to bring back the FCC’s defunct Fairness Doctrine:
Sinclair could even put the Fairness Doctrine back in play, a rule established in 1949 to require that the networks—all three of them—air all sides of issues. The doctrine was abandoned in the 1980s with the proliferation of cable, leaving citizens with little recourse over broadcasters that misuse the public airwaves, except to oppose the renewal of licenses.
The Sinclair controversy brought discussion of the Fairness Doctrine back to news columns (Baltimore Sun, 10/24/04; L.A. Times, 10/24/04) and opinion pages (Portland Press Herald, 10/24/04; Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/22/04) across the country. Legal Times (11/15/04) weighed in with an in-depth essay headlined: “A Question of Fair Air Play: Can Current Remedies for Media Bias Handle Threats Like Sinclair’s Aborted Anti-Kerry Program?”
Sinclair’s history of one-sided editorializing and right-wing water-carrying, which long preceded its Stolen Honor ploy (Extra!, 11-12/04), puts it in the company of political talk radio, where right-wing opinion is the rule, locally and nationally. Together, they are part of a growing trend that sees movement conservatives and Republican partisans using the publicly owned airwaves as a political megaphone—one that goes largely unanswered by any regular opposing perspective. It’s an imbalance that begs for a remedy.
A short history of fairness
The necessity for the Fairness Doctrine, according to proponents, arises from the fact that there are many fewer broadcast licenses than people who would like to have them. Unlike publishing, where the tools of the trade are in more or less endless supply, broadcasting licenses are limited by the finite number of available frequencies. Thus, as trustees of a scarce public resource, licensees accept certain public interest obligations in exchange for the exclusive use of limited public airwaves. One such obligation was the Fairness Doctrine, which was meant to ensure that a variety of views, beyond those of the licensees and those they favored, were heard on the airwaves. (Since cable’s infrastructure is privately owned and cable channels can, in theory, be endlessly multiplied, the FCC does not put public interest requirements on that medium.)
The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows or editorials.
Formally adopted as an FCC rule in 1949 and repealed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan’s pro-broadcaster FCC, the doctrine can be traced back to the early days of broadcast regulation.
Early on, legislators wrestled over competing visions of the future of radio: Should it be commercial or non-commercial? There was even a proposal by the U.S. Navy to control the new technology. The debate included early arguments about how to address the public interest, as well as fears about the awesome power conferred on a handful of licensees.
American thought and American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations, for publicity is the most powerful weapon that can be wielded in a republic. And when such a weapon is placed in the hands of one person, or a single selfish group is permitted to either tacitly or otherwise acquire ownership or dominate these broadcasting stations throughout the country, then woe be to those who dare to differ with them. It will be impossible to compete with them in reaching the ears of the American people.
— Rep. Luther Johnson (D.-Texas), in the debate that preceded the Radio Act of 1927 (KPFA, 1/16/03)
In the Radio Act of 1927, Congress mandated the FCC’s forerunner, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), to grant broadcasting licenses in such a manner as to ensure that licensees served the “public convenience, interest or necessity.”
As former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson pointed out (California Lawyer, 8/88), it was in that spirit that the FRC, in 1928, first gave words to a policy formulation that would become known as the Fairness Doctrine, calling for broadcasters to show “due regard for the opinions of others.” In 1949, the FCC adopted the doctrine as a formal rule (FCC, Report on Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees, 1949).
In 1959 Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to enshrine the Fairness Doctrine into law, rewriting Chapter 315(a) to read: “A broadcast licensee shall afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of conflicting views on matters of public importance.”
It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it be by the government itself or a private licensee. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, aesthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC.
— U.S. Supreme Court, Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 1969.
A decade later the United States Supreme Court upheld the doctrine’s constitutionality in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969), foreshadowing a decade in which the FCC would view the Fairness Doctrine as a guiding principle, calling it “the single most important requirement of operation in the public interest—the sine qua non for grant of a renewal of license” (FCC Fairness Report, 1974).
How it worked
There are many misconceptions about the Fairness Doctrine. For instance, it did not require that each program be internally balanced, nor did it mandate equal time for opposing points of view. And it didn’t require that the balance of a station’s program lineup be anything like 50/50.
Nor, as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly claimed, was the Fairness Doctrine all that stood between conservative talkshow hosts and the dominance they would attain after the doctrine’s repeal. In fact, not one Fairness Doctrine decision issued by the FCC had ever concerned itself with talkshows. Indeed, the talkshow format was born and flourished while the doctrine was in operation. Before the doctrine was repealed, right-wing hosts frequently dominated talkshow schedules, even in liberal cities, but none was ever muzzled (The Way Things Aren’t, Rendall et al., 1995). The Fairness Doctrine simply prohibited stations from broadcasting from a single perspective, day after day, without presenting opposing views.
In answer to charges, put forward in the Red Lion case, that the doctrine violated broadcasters’ First Amendment free speech rights because the government was exerting editorial control, Supreme Court Justice Byron White wrote: “There is no sanctuary in the First Amendment for unlimited private censorship operating in a medium not open to all.” In a Washington Post column (1/31/94), the Media Access Project (MAP), a telecommunications law firm that supports the Fairness Doctrine, addressed the First Amendment issue: “The Supreme Court unanimously found [the Fairness Doctrine] advances First Amendment values. It safeguards the public’s right to be informed on issues affecting our democracy, while also balancing broadcasters’ rights to the broadest possible editorial discretion.”
Indeed, when it was in place, citizen groups used the Fairness Doctrine as a tool to expand speech and debate. For instance, it prevented stations from allowing only one side to be heard on ballot measures. Over the years, it had been supported by grassroots groups across the political spectrum, including the ACLU, National Rifle Association and the right-wing Accuracy In Media.
Typically, when an individual or citizens group complained to a station about imbalance, the station would set aside time for an on-air response for the omitted perspective: “Reasonable opportunity for presentation of opposing points of view,” was the relevant phrase. If a station disagreed with the complaint, feeling that an adequate range of views had already been presented, the decision would be appealed to the FCC for a judgment.
According to Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of MAP, scheduling response time was based on time of day, frequency and duration of the original perspective. “If one view received a lot of coverage in primetime,” Schwartzman told Extra!, “then at least some response time would have to be in primetime. Likewise if one side received many short spots or really long spots.” But the remedy did not amount to equal time; the ratio of airtime between the original perspective and the response “could be as much as five to one,” said Schwartzman.
As a guarantor of balance and inclusion, the Fairness Doctrine was no panacea. It was somewhat vague, and depended on the vigilance of listeners and viewers to notice imbalance. But its value, beyond the occasional remedies it provided, was in its codification of the principle that broadcasters had a responsibility to present a range of views on controversial issues.
The doctrine’s demise
From the 1920s through the ’70s, the history of the Fairness Doctrine paints a picture of public servants wrestling with how to maintain some public interest standards in the operation of publicly owned—but corporate-dominated—airwaves. Things were about to change.
The 1980s brought the Reagan Revolution, with its army of anti-regulatory extremists; not least among these was Reagan’s new FCC chair, Mark S. Fowler. Formerly a broadcast industry lawyer, Fowler earned his reputation as “the James Watt of the FCC” by sneering at the notion that broadcasters had a unique role or bore special responsibilities to ensure democratic discourse (California Lawyer, 8/88). It was all nonsense, said Fowler (L.A. Times, 5/1/03): “The perception of broadcasters as community trustees should be replaced by a view of broadcasters as marketplace participants.” To Fowler, television was “just another appliance—it’s a toaster with pictures,” and he seemed to endorse total deregulation (Washington Post, 2/6/83): “We’ve got to look beyond the conventional wisdom that we must somehow regulate this box.”
Of course, Fowler and associates didn’t favor total deregulation: Without licensing, the airwaves would descend into chaos as many broadcasters competed for the same frequencies, a situation that would mean ruin for the traditional corporate broadcasters they were so close to. But regulation for the public good rather than corporate convenience was deemed suspect.
Fowler vowed to see the Fairness Doctrine repealed, and though he would depart the commission a few months before the goal was realized, he worked assiduously at setting the stage for the doctrine’s demise.
He and his like-minded commissioners, a majority of whom had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan, argued that the doctrine violated broadcasters’ First Amendment free speech rights by giving government a measure of editorial control over stations. Moreover, rather than increase debate and discussion of controversial issues, they argued, the doctrine actually chilled debate, because stations feared demands for response time and possible challenges to broadcast licenses (though only one license was ever revoked in a dispute involving the Fairness Doctrine--California Lawyer, 8/88).
The FCC stopped enforcing the doctrine in the mid-’80s, well before it formally revoked it. As much as the commission majority wanted to repeal the doctrine outright, there was one hurdle that stood between them and their goal: Congress’ 1959 amendment to the Communications Act had made the doctrine law.
Help would come in the form of a controversial 1986 legal decision by Judge Robert Bork and then-Judge Antonin Scalia, both Reagan appointees on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Their 2-1 opinion avoided the constitutional issue altogether, and simply declared that Congress had not actually made the doctrine into a law. Wrote Bork: “We do not believe that language adopted in 1959 made the Fairness Doctrine a binding statutory obligation,” because, he said, the doctrine was imposed “under,” not “by” the Communications Act of 1934 (California Lawyer, 8/88). Bork held that the 1959 amendment established that the FCC could apply the doctrine, but was not obliged to do so—that keeping the rule or scuttling it was simply a matter of FCC discretion.
“The decision contravened 25 years of FCC holdings that the doctrine had been put into law in 1959,” according to MAP. But it signaled the end of the Fairness Doctrine, which was repealed in 1987 by the FCC under new chair Dennis R. Patrick, a lawyer and Reagan White House aide.
A year after the doctrine’s repeal, writing in California Lawyer(8/88), former FCC commissioner Johnson summed up the fight to bring back the Fairness Doctrine as “a struggle for nothing less than possession of the First Amendment: Who gets to have and express opinions in America.” Though a bill before Congress to reinstate the doctrine passed overwhelmingly later that year, it failed to override Reagan’s veto. Another attempt to resurrect the doctrine in 1991 ran out of steam when President George H.W. Bush threatened another veto.
Where things stand
What has changed since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine? Is there more coverage of controversial issues of public importance? “Since the demise of the Fairness Doctrine we have had much less coverage of issues,” says MAP’s Schwartzman, adding that television news and public affairs programming has decreased locally and nationally. According to a study conducted by MAP and the Benton Foundation, 25 percent of broadcast stations no longer offer any local news or public affairs programming at all (Federal Communications Law Journal, 5/03).
The most extreme change has been in the immense volume of unanswered conservative opinion heard on the airwaves, especially on talk radio. Nationally, virtually all of the leading political talkshow hosts are right-wingers: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Reagan, to name just a few. The same goes for local talkshows. One product of the post-Fairness era is the conservative “Hot Talk” format, featuring one right-wing host after another and little else. Disney-owned KSFO in liberal San Francisco is one such station (Extra!, 3-4/95). Some towns have two.
When Edward Monks, a lawyer in Eugene, Oregon, studied the two commercial talk stations in his town (Eugene Register-Guard, 6/30/02), he found “80 hours per week, more than 4,000 hours per year, programmed for Republican and conservative talk shows, without a single second programmed for a Democratic or liberal perspective.” Observing that Eugene (a generally progressive town) was “fairly representative,” Monks concluded: “Political opinions expressed on talk radio are approaching the level of uniformity that would normally be achieved only in a totalitarian society. There is nothing fair, balanced or democratic about it.”
Bringing back fairness?
For citizens who value media democracy and the public interest, broadcast regulation of our publicly owned airwaves has reached a low-water mark. In his new book, Crimes Against Nature, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. probes the failure of broadcasters to cover the environment, writing, “The FCC’s pro-industry, anti-regulatory philosophy has effectively ended the right of access to broadcast television by any but the moneyed interests.”
According to TV Week(11/30/04), a coalition of broadcast giants is currently pondering a legal assault on the Supreme Court’s Red Lion decision. “Media General and a coalition of major TV network owners--NBC Universal, News Corp. and Viacom—made clear that they are seriously considering an attack on Red Lion as part of an industry challenge to an appellate court decision scrapping FCC media ownership deregulation earlier this year.”
Considering the many looming problems facing media democracy advocates, Extra! asked MAP’s Schwartzman why activists should still be concerned about the Fairness Doctrine.
What has not changed since 1987 is that over-the-air broadcasting remains the most powerful force affecting public opinion, especially on local issues; as public trustees, broadcasters ought to be insuring that they inform the public, not inflame them. That’s why we need a Fairness Doctrine. It’s not a universal solution. It’s not a substitute for reform or for diversity of ownership. It’s simply a mechanism to address the most extreme kinds of broadcast abuse.
Media was required to allow space for opposing viewpoints ------it was not allowed to state as is in Baltimore------THAT COSTS TOO MUCH. Today, as national NBC or CBS earns billions of dollars in profits----our local NBC and CBS are telling us it costs too much to televise all Democratic primary candidates----or allow a morning talk show of local public policy discussions coming from all Baltimore communities----AS WAS WHAT BABY BOOMERS HAD IN MEDIA.
Of course from the time Fairness Doctrine and FCC was created----the fight between Democrat and Republican as to controlling political policy discussions raged---Republicans always called national media LIBERAL MEDIA because social Democratic policies of equal opportunity and access created voice for citizens above corporations. Republicans always saw media as profit lost on public voice and policy discussion.
These few decades of global corporate control of politics brought not the fight between Republican and Democratic voice----but made US media into Global Chamber of Commerce----it now will only support a global corporate voice and block all voices that fight it. This is why I am on FB or the internet talking policy and never in the media. It is why we use the term THIS REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED-----this global corporate capture and the dismantling of Federal Fairness Doctrine.
AUTOCRATIC STATE MEDIA IN DEVELOPING NATIONS LIKE CHINA ALWAYS HAVE ONLY POLITBURO PEOPLE SPEAKING-----TELLING THE PEOPLE WHAT THE GREAT LEADER IS UP TO.
That is what we have today as media at all levels are pushed to only allow the incumbent politicians and the talking points of those pols by aired in media.....and they all work of course for global corporations....Clinton/Obama neo-liberals and Bush/Hopkins neo-conservatives.
'The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows or editorials'. “The Supreme Court unanimously found [the Fairness Doctrine] advances First Amendment values. It safeguards the public’s right to be informed on issues affecting our democracy, while also balancing broadcasters’ rights to the broadest possible editorial discretion.”
This is what spawned the FCC election laws requiring that citizen voters go to the polls educated on the platforms of candidates and knowing who those candidates are. Below you see Obama and his FCC 'tossing the Fairness Doctrine'=====but it was Clinton who hit is hard all with the goal of ending open flow of information and handing control to corporations as has happened these few decades----Baltimore probably never enforced the Fairness Doctrine and this is why no one knows public policy at any level.
FCC Drops 'Fairness Doctrine'
Published August 22, 2011
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (AP)
The Fairness Doctrine and 83 other "outdated and obsolete media-related rules" were tossed Monday into the regulatory dust bin of the Federal Communications Commission, in a move that the agency said helps it achieve the FCC's "reform agenda."
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that the decision to eliminate the Fairness Doctrine was part of a larger mandate proposed by the Obama administration to ease regulatory burdens by getting rid of duplicative or outdated measures. Genachowski informed Congress in June of the pending action.
"The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead," Genachowski said in a statement on the FCC website.
"The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books," he added.
The Fairness Doctrine has been in place since 1949, and required licensed broadcasters to share airwaves equally for competing political points of view. At the time of its creation, only 2,881 radio stations existed, compared with roughly 14,000 today.
While great fanfare to ridding airwaves of all that Fairness Doctrine ------what has not been eliminated is the Equal Time Rules that are tied to our primary and general elections at Federal, state, and local level. States like Maryland want to pretend a media outlet can create their own slate of candidates in any election race----but it cannot. The equal opportunity laws state that a media outlet can choose NOT TO PARTICIPATE AT ALL AND EXCLUDE ALL CANDIDATES DURING A PRIMARY-----but as you see the FCC rules that stations SHOULD MAKE TIME AVAILABLE.
The FCC laws state that if one candidate is given media time-----all candidates must as no harm to a candidate can be done.
I am not going to spend much time on FCC and IRS election laws---but I did want to remind citizens that the dismantling of Fairness Doctrine has nothing to do with Equal Time laws for media during elections.
OF COURSE MARYLAND IGNORES THESE FEDERAL LAWS----BUT AN FCC HEADED BY A BERNIE SANDERS APPOINTMENT---ENFORCING FEDERAL LAWS WOULD. AGAIN, SIMPLY BECAUSE AN OBAMA FCC DOES NOT ENFORCE FEDERAL LAWS---DOES NOT MEAN FEDERAL LAWS CANNOT BE ENFORCED IN BALTIMORE CITY.
'The equal opportunity law does not demand that a station afford a state or local candidate any air time. However, under the public interest standard of the Communications Act, the FCC has said that stations should make time available for candidates for major state and local offices'.
EQUAL TIME RULE
U.S. Broadcasting Regulatory Rule
It is the closest thing in broadcast content regulation to the "golden rule." The equal time, or more accurately, the equal opportunity provision of the Communications Act requires radio and television stations and cable systems which originate their own programming to treat legally qualified political candidates equally when it comes to selling or giving away air time. Simply put, a station which sells or gives one minute to Candidate A must sell or give the same amount of time with the same audience potential to all other candidates for the particular office. However, a candidate who can not afford time does not receive free time unless his or her opponent is also given free time. Thus, even with the equal time law, a well funded campaign has a significant advantage in terms of broadcast exposure for the candidate.
The equal opportunity requirement dates back to the first major broadcasting law in the United States, the Radio Act of 1927. Legislators were concerned that without mandated equal opportunity for candidates, some broadcasters might try to manipulate elections. As one congressman put it, "American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations." When the Radio Act was superseded by the Communications Act of 1934, the equal time provision became Section 315 of the new statute.
A major amendment to Section 315 came in 1959 following a controversial Federal Communications Commission (FCC) interpretation of the equal time provision. Lar Daly, who had run for a variety of public offices, sometimes campaigning dressed as Uncle Sam, was running for mayor of Chicago. Daly demanded free air time from Chicago television stations in response to the stations' news coverage of incumbent mayor Richard Daley. Although the airtime given to Mayor Daley was not directly related to his re-election campaign, the FCC ruled that his appearance triggered the equal opportunity provision of Section 315. Broadcasters interpreted the FCC's decision as now requiring equal time for a candidate anytime another candidate appeared on the air, even if the appearance was not linked to the election campaign.
Congress reacted quickly by creating four exemptions to the equal opportunity law. Stations who gave time to candidates on regularly scheduled newscasts, news interviews shows, documentaries (assuming the candidate wasn't the primary focus of the documentary), or on-the-spot news events would not have to offer equal time to other candidates for that office. In creating these exemptions, Congress stressed that the public interest would be served by allowing stations the freedom to cover the activities of candidates without worrying that any story about a candidate, no matter how tangentially related to his or her candidacy, would require equal time. The exemptions to Section 315 have also served the interests of incumbent candidates, since by virtue of their incumbency they often generate more news coverage then their challengers.
Since 1959, the FCC has provided a number of interpretations to Section 315's exemptions. Presidential press conferences have been labeled on-the-spot news, even if the president uses his remarks to bolster his campaign. Since the 1970s, debates have also been considered on-the-spot news events and therefore exempt from the equal time law. This has enabled stations or other parties arranging the debates to choose which candidates to include in a debate. Before this ruling by the FCC, Congress voted to suspend Section 315 during the 1960 presidential campaign to allow Richard Nixon and John Kennedy to engage in a series of debates without the participation of third party candidates. The FCC has also labeled shows such as The Phil Donahue Show and Good Morning America news interview programs. However, appearances by candidates in shows which do not fit under the four exempt formats will trigger the equal opportunities provision, even if the appearance is irrelevant to the campaign. Therefore, during Ronald Reagan's political campaigns, if a station aired one of his films, it would have been required to offer equal time to Mr. Reagan's opponents.
Section 315 also prohibits a station from censoring what a candidate says when he or she appears on the air (unless it is in one of the exempt formats). Thus, a few years ago when a self-avowed segregationist was running for the governorship of Georgia, the FCC rejected citizen complaints over the candidate's use in his ads of derogatory language towards African-Americans. More recently, the FCC has also rejected attempts to censor candidate ads depicting aborted fetuses. However, the Commission has permitted stations to channel such ads to times of day when children are less likely to be in the audience.
The equal opportunity law does not demand that a station afford a state or local candidate any air time. However, under the public interest standard of the Communications Act, the FCC has said that stations should make time available for candidates for major state and local offices. With regard to federal candidates, broadcast stations have much less discretion. A 1971 amendment to the Communications Act requires stations make a reasonable amount of time available to federal candidates. Once time is made available under this provision, the equal time requirements of Section 315 apply.
The 1971 amendments also addressed the rates which stations can charge candidates for air time. Before 1971, Congress only required that the rates charged candidates be comparable to those offered to commercial advertisers. Now, Section 315 commands that as the election approaches, stations must offer candidates the rate it offers its most favored advertiser. Thus, if a station gives a discount to a commercial sponsor because it buys a great deal of air time, the station must offer the same discount to any candidate regardless of how much time he or she purchases.
As this Republican article shows------the drive to end Fairness Doctrine installed by social Democrats to make sure citizens were not silenced by media corporations led to soaring right leaning talk shows and media outlets all with talking heads saying anything they wanted----while national media went corporate allowing only a global corporate voice to be heard. Even National Public Radio and American Public Radio went global Chamber of Commerce after Obama's FCC killed the Fairness Doctrine. So, today------the left-leaning groups have absolutely no voice outside former journalists axed from national media outlets. This is why the Republican voters are far more aware of where all these global policies and Obama's Executive Orders lead while Democratic voters have no clue. This is why our local news has WBAL touting the bond market with no one shouting ----THE BOND MARKET IS CRASHING----and why Baltimore passed a bond referendum on school building bonds with no one shouting----THE BOND MARKET IS CRASHING
This has allowed all of the corporate frauds these last few decades pass without anyone knowing the policies led to fraud. That was the goal of Reagan/Clinton/Obama in ending the Fairness Doctrine. NO POLICY STANCE FROM THE LEFT-----
Keep in mind----the Fairness Doctrine did not keep Republican view out-----so that argument of Liberal media was never true----it simply kept corporate policy stances from being the only ones aired.
With Clinton neo-liberals being global corporate right-leaning policy-----all we have on national media is right-leaning news....and it is why Americans have no idea where all these global policies and austerity are going and how Clinton neo-liberals can keep posing progressive over and over and over with no one exposing them as lying.
'The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 set the stage for the meteoric rise of conservative talk radio, which was thenceforth unencumbered by the logistical nightmare of trying to determine which media messages were "fair" (thus requiring no ideological counterbalance), and which were "controversial" (thereby requiring equal time for opposing views)'.
My politicians will not only not give me an appointment to see them-----they are now rejecting my emails-----so we want to move away from making our public voices heard more and more remotely! I was told by one government official who I tried to push to talk with me in person------WE ONLY DO EMAIL OR PHONE. So, whether Republican or Democratic------your ability to have any voice in media is becoming Bush neo-con/Clinton neo-liberal global policy only.
Where does that leave media outlets that give everyone a voice? Well, in autocratic corporate societies they don't want to hear you!
Please glance through-----it shows where people's access to public policy and having a voice in media will go ========this is just a clip of an article.
Government Information Quarterly
Volume 30, Issue 4, October 2013, Pages 351–358
Connecting citizens and local governments? Social media and interactivity in major U.S. cities ☆
AbstractChanging the relationship between citizens and government is often cited as a goal for digital government, and new tools such as social media have the potential to improve interactions with citizens through dialogue. Citizens are most likely to participate at the local level (Berry, Portney and Thomson, 1993; Oates, 1972; Oakerson, 1999), and the largest cities have traditionally been at the forefront in the adoption of e-government innovations (Moon, 2002; Ho, 2002). We examine the use of social networks and other interactive tools in the 75 largest U.S. cities between 2009 and 2011. During this period, the adoption of Facebook skyrocketed from just 13% of the cities in 2009 to nearly 87% in 2011; similarly, the use of Twitter increased from 25% to 87%. We further explore three case study cities through analysis of discussion on social networks, and interviews, and find that one-way “push” strategies (Mergel, 2013a) predominate, although there are some signs of greater openness toward dialogue with citizens.
How has local e-government in the U.S. changed in the past few years? Measured by the scale of change, the unequivocal answer is social media. While not as widespread, other tools designed to improve citizen and government interactions, such as open data portals, have developed at the local level as well. Changing the relationship between citizens and government is often cited as a goal for digital government (Chadwick, 2009, Coursey and Norris, 2008, Ho, 2002, Moon, 2002, Tolbert and Mossberger, 2006, Welch et al., 2005 and West, 2004), and new tools such as social media have the potential to improve interactions with citizens through dialogue and greater transparency (Bertot, Jaeger, & Grimes, 2012). We examine the use of social media and other interactive tools in the 75 largest U.S. cities between 2009 and 2011.
Local government is an important subject for the study of social media and interactivity because of traditions of citizen participation at the local level. Peters (2001) argues that local governments tend to use more mechanisms that permit direct citizen involvement, in part because they are more manageable at that scale (see also Fung, 2004, Briggs, 2008 and Sirianni, 2009). And, the largest cities, which we examine here, have generally been at the forefront in the adoption of e-government innovations (Ho, 2002, Moon, 2002 and Scott, 2006).
In this article, we examine social networks within the context of other interactive tools being implemented by local governments online by constructing an index of interactivity and focusing on how social networks are utilized in three case study cities. We track the use of social media and other interactive tools using content analysis of local government websites during spring 2009 and spring 2011, capturing a period of remarkable growth. The rapid adoption of social media in particular has the potential to provide convenient venues for dialogue between citizens, and with government. Even in 2009, channels for two-way interaction online were markedly limited in major cities, so this is a development that is worth further investigation. In addition to tracking trends for the 75 largest cities, we provide more in-depth analysis of social media, more specifically social networks, for three cities that have been early adopters of these new digital media, using Mergel, 2013a and Mergel, 2013b typology of push, pull, and networking strategies. Interviews with local government officials from the three case study cities provide further insight on opportunities and challenges for social media use. Given the evidence from the content analysis and case studies, we further explore implications for the future adoption of social media tools for facilitating citizen knowledge and engagement.
2. Social media and interactive tools
The Obama administration's Open Government Directive called for greater transparency, participation, and collaboration through information technology (Deckert et al., 2011, Ganapati and Reddick, 2012 and Obama, 2009), and interactive tools such as social media have the capacity to advance such goals. This may be particularly true at the local level, where there are traditions of citizen participation (Berry et al., 1993, Oakerson, 1999 and Oates, 1972). Previous studies have indicated, however, that digital government has a limited record of use for democratic participation, and this has been true at the local level as well. Scott (2006) concluded that local government websites have a better record for civic information than participation, and the channels that did exist for citizen input were one-way. A more recent study by Holzer, Manoharan, Shick, and Towers (2008) gave the 100 municipal governments in its sample a poor grade for e-government use to advance online citizen participation; the study found that only 11% of the local government websites studied had mechanisms for citizen feedback. These studies did not include evidence on the use of social networks. Is this pattern of limited participation online changing over time, with the advent of social media, Web 2.0 and open government?
Tim O'Reilly coined the term Web 2.0 in 2005 to distinguish internet technologies that feature generation of content by the user, participation-enabling web structures, collective intelligence, and scalability (O'Reilly, 2005). Some examples of Web 2.0 relevant for citizen participation include wikis, blogs, open data portals, and tools for crowdsourcing and ranking ideas (Leighninger, 2012, Noveck, 2009, Robinson et al., 2010 and Smith, 2010). Social media1 can be thought of broadly as an extension of Web 2.0 and is described by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) as a “group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content,” (p. 61). User Generated Content is the aggregation of all media within Web 2.0 which is readily available to the public and is created by the end users, here citizens. Unlike traditional media types, social media provide the means for a “many-to-many” interaction (Bertot et al., 2012).
Social networks fall under the umbrella of social media and are defined by several characteristics, which include creation of a public profile within a defined system, the ability to connect with others, and user-generated content (Boyd and Ellison, 2008, Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010 and Mergel and Greeves, 2013). Further, social networks foster “collaboration, joint learning, and the speedy exchange of information between users” (Bonson, Torres, Royo, & Flores, 2012, p. 123). Thus, social networks have the potential to provide a new platform for communication between citizens and government officials, or for deliberation and discussion among citizens. By soliciting ideas on social media, governments can gather diverse viewpoints and different types of expertise from citizens to craft more effective policy solutions (Noveck, 2009, 14, 38).
Social networks may be particularly appealing for interaction with citizens because of the increased participation of the population on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. A survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (Hampton, Sessions, Rainie, & Purcell, 2011) found that 59% of American adults used at least one social networking site. This percentage has more than doubled since 2008. The most recent growth has occurred among adults over age 35, who now account for over half of social network users. Prior to 2008, social media networking sites were most popular in the under-25 age group. Social networks have come of age, and so has their use for connecting with governments. In December 2009, 31% of internet users reported using social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter or other interactive tools such as text, email alerts or blogs, to obtain government information (Smith, 2010).
6. Three cities: Seattle, Louisville, and Chicago
The rapid diffusion of social network use among local governments, and the emergence of open data portals present new possibilities for transforming relationships between government and citizens through more open government and citizen participation. We are currently conducting case studies in three of the cities from our 2009 and 2011 studies in order to find out more about how social media and other web features have been used by citizens and officials. All three of the case study cities, Seattle (#1), Louisville (#3), and Chicago (#10) are ranked relatively high on the interactivity index (see Appendix A), and all three have open data portals. The case study cities also represent different regions of the country, cities of varied size, and different histories for civic engagement. Seattle, for example, is well-known for its neighborhood planning and citizen participation (Sirianni, 2009). While Chicago is famous for its history of machine politics (Simpson, 2001), there have been instances of more participatory policies such as community policing in recent years (Briggs, 2008 and Fung, 2004). Chicago's ranking in the 2011 study reflects the state of the city's digital government practices before Rahm Emanuel took office, and the new mayor has held online townhall meetings and has used Twitter to solicit budget ideas. The Louisville mayor, Greg Fischer, has held regular online question and answer sessions, according to our interviews. The three case study cities are therefore likely among those that are more actively using social networks, and they are among the only one dozen cities that had open data portals as of summer 2011.
In the following section, we compare the use of social networks in several departments that employ social media in all three cities. We then examine the content of the open data portals, and conclude with some observations from interviews. We conducted confidential interviews with officials in the three case study cities, asking about goals, strategies and challenges for implementing social media and data portals. The five officials interviewed included chief information officers, chief technology officers, and other staff members who were responsible for policies regarding the implementation of these tools in the three cities. The phone and face-to-face interviews typically lasted 1 h in length. The interviews were also recorded with supplementary detailed notes and then analyzed for content based on interviewee responses.
More and more Americans are sitting in libraries for their only access to internet-----and with the movement of global education, global health care------ending net neutrality means that only corporations doing business will be afforded access to the internet with people's access becoming more and more marginal. So, as media takes away all voice on public policy that is not the media's editorial voice-----and they push us into a medium for discussion that will not last----we see where global corporate pols have as a goal of not having citizen voice at all in media---or in access to government officials seeing themselves simply as global corporate executives---and not politicians.
Think about the coming decade after the economic crash -----with health care costs climbing and if education becomes more and more for-profit-------people will be faced with choosing internet access as the expense to drop.
26 Million Americans Can't Afford the Internet
Written by Brian MerchantSenior Editor
August 19, 2013 // 11:25 AM EST Motherboard
Copy This URLIn the United States, universal internet access has become a utopian goalpost, like universal healthcare or universal equality. As with those other ambitions, we've run into a big fat wall in our progress towards achieving it. One-fifth of the nation remains offline, missing out on crucial job opportunities, a thriving hub of modern culture, and YouTube videos about disabled pets overcoming adversity.
Over the weekend, The New York Times examined the years-long push by the Obama administration to get the country's online holdouts plugged into the internet. The focus was a recent Department of Commerce report, “Exploring the Digital Nation,” which quietly laid out the failures of Obama's drive to increase connectivity. Infrastructure improvements can get you part of the way, but some obstacles—particularly those pesky cultural and socioeconomic ones—are a bit tougher to surmount. The following numbers reveal rather bluntly the problematic state of the American internet.
It starts out rosy enough. 98 percent of Americans technically have access to the internet. And 90 percent have access to high-speed internet. That means there are 31 million Americans without high-speed internet access, and around 6 million Americans with no internet access at all right now.
But access is one thing, and actual connectivity is another. For the last five years, the percentage of Americans who are connected to the internet has plateaued at 80 percent. That's 63 million Americans that aren't using the internet. That's about where it was before Obama took office and spent $7 billion on internet infrastructure projects designed to bring broadband to more citizens. And indeed, the access is there, oftentimes, anyway. So why aren't folks plugging in?
48 percent of Americans without internet say they just don't want it. This group appears to be largely comprised of older people who would rather not learn to interface with a new technology, for one reason or another. That's understandable. When I'm old, I might not want to bother to learn to use the ocular implants that allow me to access the holonet everyone's using to share 3D cat pics with retinal movements, either.
More disconcerting is the next group: 28 percent of Americans say they can't afford the internet, and 13 percent say they don't have a computer good enough to get them online. That means that a full 41 percent of Americans that aren't online can't afford the internet. 26 million Americans can't afford the internet. That's a problem.
Unsurprisingly, it's minorities who are losing out. 76 percent of white households use the internet, while just 57 percent of black households do. As the report points out, this precipitates an ugly self-perpetuating cycle. Much of modern job-hunting occurs online, and many jobs can only be properly researched and applied for online. Without the internet, the already disadvantaged are disadvantaged further. Tale as old as time: folks with money get the tools to make more of it, the folks without are further marginalized. It's Dickens 2.0.
The problem is economics—the internet is still expensive; in my largely working class Brooklyn neighborhood, the best available internet comes from a painfully slow Verizon connection. It costs upwards of $50 a month. That's prohibitively costly; over the year, that's $600. That's a full month's rent.
And that's pretty typical. As of last year, the average cost of internet of any speed was about $40 a month across the US, according to a report from the White Fence Index. Compare that to South Korea, which provides its citizens with the fastest internet connections in the world—at a cost of $26 a month.
Much has been written about the digital divide, but not enough. There's a reason that the UN has declared the internet a fundamental human right—information access has long since joined the ranks of energy, food, water, and health care as a pillar of high-functioning modern society. That 26 million citizens of the wealthiest country in the world don't have it is deplorable.