08.02.2004 12:00 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
FCC’s Copps slams broadcasters on election coverage

Contending that the majority of Americans are not getting what they should out of today’s media, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has called on America’s broadcasters “to step up to the plate and correct this terrible mess.”

Speaking July 19 before the Public Interest, Public Airwaves Coalition in Washington, D.C., Copps said “Big Media is not fulfilling its role — or pulling its weight — in our society. In this election year when so many important issues confront us, we see dramatically less news coverage.”

From 1996 to 2000, he said coverage of the presidential race on the network evening news dropped by one-third. The average presidential candidate sound bite in 2000 was eight to nine seconds. In the 2002 election, more than half of the evening local newscasts contained no campaign coverage at all.

He called on broadcasters to make a meaningful commitment to cover real issues that confront citizens in 2004.

Copps said if the majority of Americans are not getting what they should out of today’s media, minority groups and family programming are faring even worse.

He called on the group for a rededication of efforts to prevent further FCC attempts to loosen media ownership rules.

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