Common Cause Asks for Real Campaign Coverage Promoting Political Discourse

Do your local broadcasters do an “outstanding job promoting political discourse during the campaign season?”

Download the toolkit here: /atf/cf/{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/pio_tool_kit_070904.pdf

Common Cause doesn’t think so. But that’s how Eddie Fritts, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, describes local TV coverage of our elections and their issues.

Fritts’ letter was in response to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, who challenged national and local broadcast news outlets in June to spend more time and resources serving the public interest by providing more coverage of elections, and better-quality coverage, leading up to Election Day in November.

Common Cause shares the concerns of McCain and Powell, who wrote that broadcasters should provide communities “with significant information” on local political issues, candidates’ campaign platforms, and candidate debates during this election year. “Stories on campaign platforms and in-depth coverage of candidate debates truly assist voters in making an educated choice,” McCain and Powell wrote.

In other words, real campaign coverage is more than just reporting who’s ahead in the polls or who is raising the most money.

Common Cause, as part of the Public Interest, Public Airwaves Coalition, has developed a took kit that you can use to encourage your local broadcasters to provide better local coverage and do a better job fulfilling their public service obligations. This tool kit contains a variety of information on the issue, as well as sample press releases, letter to the editor, and the Public Interest, Public Airwaves Pledge that we are asking broadcasters to sign. This pledge demonstrates the commitment of local broadcasters to our democracy – a democracy that thrives only when people are educated and knowledgeable about critical public issues.

Download the toolkit here: /atf/cf/{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/pio_tool_kit_070904.pdf

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