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Media & Democracy 01.21.2021

Broadcasting & Cable: D.C. Applauds Rosenworcel Pick as Acting FCC Chairwoman

Michael Copps, former FCC acting chair himself and currently a special adviser to Common Cause called Rosenworcel an "ideal" choice for the job. "I know, because we worked together when she led my staff while I was a commissioner there. She knows the FCC from the bottom up and she understands how to make good things happen there. She was called from my staff to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, where she was responsible for telecom and media policy. Then she was appointed a commissioner at the FCC and has demonstrated a mastery of the issues that has been seldom matched. Whether it’s bringing broadband to every home in America, encouraging internet availability for our schools, making wise decisions for the utilization of spectrum, contesting telecom and media monopolies, battling mis- and dis- information, she has a combination of vision and practicality that make her perfect for the chairmanship."

Money & Influence 01.21.2021

Los Angeles Times: After Capitol assault, corporate America rethinks its role in politics

“These recent moves by corporate America to distance themselves from President Trump are a good thing, but also a predictable PR move,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a watchdog group focusing on money in politics. “Their commitment to this will really be shown in coming months and years,” he said, “whether or not they return to funding not only Donald Trump, but also those who enabled Donald Trump to do what he’s done.”

Money & Influence 01.19.2021

The Independent: UnTrump America: The fastest things Biden can do to rid the country of the former president

Other democracy advocates are focused on efforts to take money out of the electoral process. Beh A Rotman, director of money in politics and ethics at Common Cause, has argued for publicly funded political campaigns to level the playing field between ordinary citizens and wealthy interests. “Citizen-funded election programs step in to create space for policies that favour large swaths of everyday Americans. Particularly when combined with restrictions on lobbyist and government contractor contributions, these reforms represent the best way to prevent government capture by the wealthy,” she told The Independent. “In states and cities with these programs, ordinary citizens are more empowered to participate in democracy and better represented by those elected to office. Races are much more competitive, and the legislature is more representative of the state; local small donors matter. “Citizen-funded elections are the best instrument we have to combat the problem of money in politics. The future of our democracy may depend on it,” she added.

Voting & Elections 01.17.2021

Associated Press: Actions by GOP attorneys general could damage credibility

Sylvia Albert, the director of voting and elections for the liberal advocacy group Common Cause said the filings were so troublesome that she believes there are grounds to disbar the attorneys general who made them. “When you submit something in court, you’re saying: ‘To the best of my knowledge, the information I’ve given you is true and valid,’” she said.

Media & Democracy 01.16.2021

Salon: Despite Parler backlash, Facebook played huge role in fueling Capitol riot, watchdogs say

Larger companies were eager to single out Parler to avoid the "potential legal implications" from "associating yourself with an app or platform that is encouraging and inviting actions that will lead to violence," said Yosef Getachew, director of the media and democracy program at the watchdog group Common Cause. Parler played a role in the "organizing" of the siege and amplified calls to violence but "it wasn't just Parler, it was social media platforms across the board," Getachew said. Facebook in particular has "done a poor job of consistently enforcing their content moderation policies," he added. This isn't just a case of "one platform is a bad actor," Getachew said. "All platforms have not done what they need to do to prohibit this type of disinformation and incitement of violence." ... These groups didn't just spread misinformation but actively "encouraged people to attend the riot last week and to potentially arm themselves and to potentially engage in other violent acts," Getachew said. "These are the types of things from a public interest side that make it harder to monitor because the groups are closed, right? You need permission to enter and Facebook isn't doing a good enough job of actually facilitating or moderating these groups to prohibit this type of content, or to ban these groups altogether."

Media & Democracy 01.15.2021

Inside Sources (Op-Ed): Our Democracy Needs Robust, Quality, Diverse Media

As the nation grapples with the violent insurrection fueled by President Trump’s lies and divisive rhetoric, as well as a surging pandemic and economic upheaval, the local broadcast media’s job of providing communities with reliable news and information has never been more important. Communities deserve a diverse array of voices and perspectives in the media on critical issues such as economic and racial justice and investigative reporting that holds power accountable. Who owns and presents the media matters. It makes a world of difference when it comes to who appears on local television and who does not, what news is covered, and what issues are presented for our civic dialogue. Ownership by women and people of color means that they can control the narratives of their own stories. As former Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission, we have seen firsthand how massive waves of media consolidation impact our democracy. Newsrooms are shuttered and thousands of journalists fired; investigative reporting is on life support; and with less locally-originated programming, the diverse needs and interests of our communities are not met.

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