Thursday, August 28, 2008

Here we go again

Blurb in one of the broadcasting trade newsletters this morning:

DNC seeks free radio for candidates

As part of its campaign finance reform agenda, the Democratic National Committee this week ratified a platform calling for "free television and radio time" for politicians. There's also a nod in the document to potential public service obligations and a renewed effort to fight for more diversity in media ownership.

I realize that our campaign finance system is broke and only leads to candidates finding ways to fudge. Fudge to the tune of millions of dollars. I know things about the Federal Election Commission--the body that is charged with keeping national-office campaign finance on the up-and-up and distributes those wonderful taxpayer contributions--that would curl your hair.

But you tell me: do you have access to about all you want to know about the candidates. With Fox News, CNN, CNN Headlines, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CSPAN, CSPANII, PBS...the initials go you really not have plenty of opportunity to see who the candidates are and what they say? And that does not even get into print, radio, or...whooooo!...the Internet.

So now, we need FREE radio and TV time to allow the candidates to tell us what they intend to do and why they are the ones deserving of our votes?

You know, I might be all for free radio and TV time--if the government also mandated free newspaper space, magazine space, Internet web coverage, billboards, text messaging, sandwich boards, skywriting...

No! What am I saying? Of course I'm not in favor of government-mandated free access for candidates on any level. If the people want to see more of the candidates, they'll demand it and the media will have to give it to them. Simple as that.

What's your opinion?

(PS: I am absolutely and unequivocally in favor of increased minority ownership of media. But I think government's role there is to enforce any discrimination laws that prevent minority investors from having the same chance anybody else has to acquire media outlets.)

Don Keith

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