Tuesday, July 27, 2004

   I am a fortunate person. I was able to watch the entire Democratic Convention last night on C-Span 1 without talking-head commentary and I could also pop over to CNN from time to time and check out their coverage.  I was very moved and inspired by the spirit of the people and the proceedings.  It was great to see Gore, Carter, and the two Clintons being themselves and speaking their minds.  Also the reaction of the crowd was thrilling.  When I switched briefly over to late night local news (Channel 4) to catch the flavor of their treatment of the convention, I was appalled to learn that the broadcast networks are covering only a few hours of the conventions of both parties. I think they said one-hour per night for three nights.  Then I heard a local (SLU, I think) professor of political science explain that the broadcast networks were not covering the conventions because they were NOT NEWS!  He said that the parties just wanted to get free advertisement by having the broadcast networks cover their conventions.  As though this was some sort of "rip-off" of the networks!  I was really shocked and angered.  I know there are many people who don't have (can't afford?) cable or satellite feed for their TV viewing.  I thought about the impoverished coverage of this election that will be available to these people, people who likely can't access the internet and may not even be able to afford newspapers.  Of course, most will have radio and so can access Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.  It is the pure greed of these broadcast networks that impels them to force the political parties to "break the bank" raising scandalous amounts of money to pay for expensive TV ads.  The need for these large amounts of campaign money contributes to the corruption of our political system.  Someone needs to remind the broadcast networks that they only exist because the government has granted them the licenses that allow them to use the people's airwaves and get rich.  It is apparent that the time is long past for increased regulation of these greedy, unpatriotic corporations.  We must press the FCC to establish stringent requirements for news coverage of important political events, free coverage in the interest of a free and informed populace. 
Jeannette Ward 


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