Thursday, December 30, 2004

Joe Trippi on Chicago panel 1/16 on media, democracy with me

This is pretty cool.

A new group called Media Democracy Chicago (their website is here) is hosting a forum on Sunday, January 16th at Columbia College from 3 - 6 pm, where the keynote speaker is Howard Dean's campaign manager Joe Trippi. (Chris Rhodes, the info is here).

I'll be on a panel discussing how we can have a greater say in our government and what we can do to ensure that our corporate broadcast media adequately serves the public interest.

A couple of ideas that I like are requiring each station to run a 30 second public service commercial every half hour, even during prime time, instead of repeating the same inane promotion for an upcoming show, where the public service commercial is from the state or local government promoting a particular program; another is requiring stations to devote at least two hours of programming every week to civic affairs to help educate the electorate.

If the federal reps are squeamish about making these improvements a condition of getting their broadcast license from the Federal Communications Commission, then we could say that as a condition of getting our taxpayer dollars to buy commercials for the army or the dumb anti-pot messages or tourism promotions, those stations must abide by the regulations for free public service ads and/or two hours of civic programming.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why would we want to force private businesses to run government propaganda messages every half hour?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

The greatest good for the greatest number. If we're all better off with these public service messages (promoting organ donation, explaining government services, promoting school attendance, etc.), then we want those messages to get out. If Disney and General Electric and take a tiny hit on their profit margins so that ABC and NBC help to get those messages out, that's a good trade-off for everyone. Plus, it's not like government is *forcing* a private business to do that. The business applies for a license from the government to broadcast over the spectrum. If one of the conditions of that license is to broadcast public service messages for 30 seconds every 30 minutes, and they don't like that condition, then they don't have to apply for the license.

Anonymous said...

What if the government "public service" message is information on how to donate to faith-based charities or celebrities promoting abstinence or discouraging abortions among the poor by telling them how they can make money by offering their babies to loving (wealthy) couples. All good things for society in general, but not exactly what DJW has in mind, right? 30 seconds every thirty minutes is 24 minutes a day - or basically a government sitcom each day every day. Are they going to talk about organ donation every day? How long before political goups like the Sierra Club start lobbying government for "public service" announcements about logging or over-development? Teachers unions already have those annoying announcements reminding you to thank a teacher. The public service announcements during Saturday Morning Cartoons were annoying enough when we were kids (remember "don't drown your food"?). Let's skip the government proclamations about how we should live our lives. - CF

Chris Rhodes said...

Hey...that link to their site doesn't work.

I need more specifics. Trippi in town, means **Thumbdealie** "this guy" needs to be there.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Those Saturday morning commercials were awesome. Information is a good thing, and if the government (you know, the one powerful institution that the people control) wants to make a pitch to people to live healthier lives, all the better. If the Sierra Club (of which I'm a dues-paying member) wants to lobby for an environmental message, those elected officials can decide whether or not to back it. How many Will and Grace commercials do you need to see in a day, CF?

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, DJW. But don't post a weepy complaint on this blog when you see a government "public service" announcement promoting SUV use because they're safer for families (which they are). I don't want to see any outraged posts about the energy and car lobbies ruining democracy by "influencing" elected officials. I'd rather see Will & Grace adds; much less potential for misuse. - CF

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Weepy! I love it. Hey, I like information. If the SUV people want to make their case that they are safer for families, let them. (And they already do -- automobile manufacturers are the biggest advertisers for commercial television. Even bigger than the drug companies and the beer companies). We taxpayers already subsidize those private commercials, since the bill for buying commercials is deductible off the corporations' income tax returns.