“This TV discussion by two political consultants on C-SPAN today reveals many unpleasant truths about political ads and our current media scene and democracy! What it misses is that the airwaves and the electronic spectrum they use belong to the public, and in many other democracies, all candidates for political office get free and fair equal time on media to present their messages free of any advertising!
This free airtime and equal access with our US political ads was also the rule in the USA until the 1980s.
Then the powerful media and broadcasting lobby, the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) got repeal of the original Communications Act of 1934 which gave all political candidates free and fair access to the voters in the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time Provision. This created today’s free for all of political advertising and huge new profits for broadcasters, and the advertising, public relations and political consultants industries stepped in. In turn, this led to the enormous flood of money into buying this access to media which used to be free, together will the repeal of campaign-spending limits under the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United, 5-4 decision which held that money is speech and corporations are persons!
Not only was none of this discussed on this TV program, or raised by any callers, but there seemed to be acceptance of today’s untenable situation, now exacerbated by the baleful effects of toxic and false content on all the hugely-powerful social media sites! My article “The Future of Democracy Challenged in the Digital Age“, CADMUS, Oct, 2018, to be posted shortly, covers some of these issues.
Today, we need to stop pouring money into corrupted politics, playing into divisiveness and call for the necessary reforms to restore US democratic processes: e.g. abolish the Electoral College, gerrymandering, overturn Citizens United; restore and re-shape the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time Provision to address all media including social media platforms and make it easier, not harder for US citizens to VOTE !
~Hazel Henderson, Editor“