Bernie 2020

August 27, 2019

Sanders Releases Media Reform Plan To Protect Journalism From Billionaires, Monopolies & Trump

The Vermont senator is the first candidate to release a comprehensive media reform plan - it builds on his congressional work to protect the Fourth Estate from corporate consolidation and mass layoffs
WASHINGTON -- Bernie Sanders today released a comprehensive plan to reform the media industry, and protect journalists from billionaire influence, corporate consolidation and Donald Trump’s assault on the free press. Sanders plan is designed to halt the ongoing mass layoffs of journalists, and rebuild a vibrant independent free press that is so crucial to American democracy.
“Walter Cronkite once said that ‘journalism is what we need to make democracy work.’ He was absolutely right, which is why today’s assault on journalism by Wall Street, billionaire businessmen, Silicon Valley, and Donald Trump presents a crisis—and why we must take concrete action,” Sanders wrote in an in-depth Columbia Journalism Review article outlining his plans. “We need to rebuild and protect a diverse and truly independent press so that real journalists can do the critical jobs that they love, and that a functioning democracy requires. When I am president, my administration will put in place policies that will reform the media industry and better protect independent journalism at both the local and national levels.” 
Sanders’ new plan includes proposals to:

  • Institute an immediate moratorium on approving mergers of major media corporations; more stringently enforce antitrust laws against tech giants like Facebook and Google to prevent them from using their market power to defund news organizations; and direct federal agencies to study the impact of consolidation in print, television, and digital media to determine whether further antitrust action is necessary.
  • Require major media corporations to disclose whether or not their proposed major corporate transactions and merger proposals will involve significant journalism layoffs. Also require that before any future mergers can take place, employees must be given the opportunity to purchase media outlets through employee stock-ownership plans.
  • Block media-related merger and deregulation decisions at federal agencies that adversely affect people of color and women.
  • Reverse Trump’s moves that have gutted longstanding media ownership rules, limit the number of stations that large broadcasting corporations can own in each market and nationwide, and substantially increase funding for programs that support public media’s news-gathering operations at the local level.
  • Explore new ways to empower media organizations to collectively bargain with tech monopolies, and consider taxing targeted ads and using the revenue to fund nonprofit civic-minded media.
Sanders has worked for decades to halt media consolidation and protect independent media. He was one of only 16 House members to oppose the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which accelerated consolidation. He has also consistently spoken out against efforts to weaken media ownership rules.