May 27, 2003  ·  Lessig

Dean: “”In my travels around the country, I have discovered that this proposed
deregulation is one of the foremost issues on peoples’ minds. I am asked
about it everywhere–in small towns in New Hampshire, and in major cities
across the nation.”

Read his letter to Chairman Powell.

  • Gabriel in SF

    He also discusses the issue in this part of a recent interview. The full interview is at

    PITT: For a great many people across the political spectrum, the number one issue of concern is the vast and growing power of corporations within government, and even more so within the media. It can be argued that one of the main reasons why the Bush administration continues to enjoy the approval ratings it does is because the news media has been demonstrably derelict in its duties. Where do you stand on the power of corporations in America, particularly within the media? Do you have any thoughts or ideas on how that might be dealt with?

    DEAN: I do. I think, first of all, it is true that the media has a conservative bias, and is being well-funded by conservative people like Rupert Murdoch. There is no question about that. But I also believe that part of the fault belongs to the Democrats, because the Democrats don’t stand up and therefore there is no other side to cover. We’ve got to do that. Now, some of them are doing it during election time, but it’s a little late. Here’s what we need to do. In politics, sometimes one single event can crystallize what the problem is. For me, when the Cumulus Corporation, which owns a lot of radio stations, kicked the Dixie Chicks off their networks � a couple hundred radio stations � I realized that media corporations have too much power. What they were doing was using a public resource, i.e. the airwaves, and removing the ability to view and represent both sides of an issue.

    When you have that kind of power, you have too much power. I believe we need to re-regulate the media, go back to limiting the number of stations that can be controlled in one particular area, so we can be sure that the American people get moderate, conservative and liberal points of view.

    PITT: You’re talking about reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.

    DEAN: Yes, reinstating controls over how many outlets you can own in any particular media market. The media has clearly abused their privilege, and it is hurting our democracy. Deregulation in many areas has simply proved to be bad for America, bad for the American economy, bad for the average working person, and bad for democracy. We need to take a different view. Some deregulation is a good thing. We went too far, and now we need to cut back.

    PITT: Given the fact that the Republicans control Congress, if you were to win the election in November, how will you go about getting these kinds of policies through a Republican-controlled Congress?

    DEAN: I won’t have to. I’ll simply appoint different kinds of people to the FCC, and they’ll be more pro-consumer and pro-average American than they will be pro-corporation.

  • Mark Kraft

    You might also be interested in this email I got back from Barbara Boxer on this issue:

    Dear Mr. Kraft:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding media
    diversity. I appreciate the opportunity to
    review your comments.

    I share your concerns regarding the
    upcoming release of revised media ownership
    rules. What is so troubling is that the Federal
    Communications Commission (FCC) is releasing
    these changes without giving Congress –or
    anyone– the opportunity to review them. These
    changes could shift the structure of our media
    marketplace and severely limit the diversity of
    media outlets.

    You will be pleased to know that I have,
    along with several of my colleagues, written to
    Chairman Powell of the FCC expressing our
    concerns surrounding this process. As a
    representative of so many California constituents
    and companies that could be affected by these
    changes, I feel it is imperative that we be given
    time to review and discuss any proposed changes.

    Thank you again for contacting me. I look
    forward to hearing from you in the future.

  • Outlandish Josh

    Have you seen Britt Blaser’s proposal?

    In spite of Leiberman’s recent “end to end” Press Release, I think Dean is the internet candidate. Not only in policy but in demeanor and force of personality he embodies the values of transparency and fact-based decision-making. I’d really be pleased to see this support consolidated and organized over the course of the summer.