1. Restore the fairness doctrine.
The broadcast airwaves are unique because they belong to the people. That's why, in 1934, Congress passed the "Fairness Doctrine." It recognized that radio and TV broadcasters have a responsibility to provide equal time for disparate viewpoints and fair reporting to the public.
But in 1987, the Federal Communications Commission gutted the Fairness Doctrine; today, they say the "public interest is whatever the stations say it is."
So if you have felt radio and TV talk and news has changed in the last ten years, you are right. We're changing it back.
2. Dismantle the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Companies and corporations hold licenses to broadcast stations. There used to be the 7-7-7 law, meaning no one company could own more than 7 radio stations, 7 TV stations, and 7 newspapers. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave corporations the power of owning many more stations; today, only about ten corporations control all we see and hear. This is dangerous, as the flow of information is impeded by the agendas of a few powerful companies. It's time for the needs of the people to supercede those of the monopolies.
3. Eliminate all 30 second political advertising
Today, billions of dollars are poured into 30 second political advertisements which tell us little or nothing about candidates' positions on issues. Whoever hires the best ad agency, wins! (It's like choosing between Coke and Pepsi.) We want to see candidates appear on TV, but in longer formats of 2 to 4 minutes, so they'll be forced to talk about the real issues. Not just media reform, this is an excellent way to bring about real campaign finance reform.
Plus, since the airwaves belong to the people, the airtime for these spots to do the people's business should be provided free of charge as a condition of the station's license to broadcast over the airwaves.
4. Restructure ratings and commerce of newscasts
Most television producers are driven by the quest to bring ever higher ratings to their newscasts. As a result, they sensationalize and often skip over important information for fear of losing audience share.
We want the ratings of newscasts to be based on the cumulative ratings of the station, not on the newscast itself. In that way, the stations can still earn the money they need for producing the shows, but the individual producers' incentives will change from trying to sensationalize to trying to best inform.
We just want to hear both sides of the story;
that's not too much to ask!