Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.
March 1, 2008 8:00 AM
Posted by Ryan Blethen
What are the presidential candidates policies for the press, media, the Internet, broadband, cable and telecommunications? I touched on this question in my column yesterday, which can be found here.
I heard from some readers about a quote I used from Hillary Rodham Clinton:
"I'm not saying anything against any company in particular. I just want to see more competition, especially in the same markets."
I called it the classic non-answer. Why? Because it does not tell me anything about what she plans to do about media concentration. Barack Obama has talked at some length during the campaign about media policy. Clinton has not. The above quote came from a voter in Iowa. I would have liked to Clinton to move from this comment into a substantive discussion about consolidation, and net neutrality. She has only done so with glancing political speak.
Clinton is also worrisome because of what happened to the media during her husband's presidency. He signed the incredibly damaging Telecommunications Act of 1996, which gutted local content on the radio almost overnight. Bill Clinton's former spokesperson, Mike McCurry, has been working for the telecommunication companies to oppose net neutrality.
Clinton tied herself to her husband's presidency and the decision he made while in the White House. It would be helpful for her to explain to voters her media policies. If she does not, we are left to overlay what happened when she was the wife of a president.
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