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How effectively does the American press (print and broadcast) fulfill that role or not in practice rather than theory?

What is the free press in the US doing right and what should be done to better support the media in advancing democracy in America?

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In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission removed the fairness doctrine, a regulation that had been implemented in 1949 to insure that broadcast news aired more than one point of view. The fairness doctrine contained two parts: first, controversial news topics had to be given air time and, second, different perspectives on a given controversy had to be allowed a voice.

The removal of the fairness doctrine has had a polarizing effect on American politics. Certain dominant news networks, such as Fox News, unabashedly promote one political point of view, and if their viewers do not imbibe other media, they are likely to come away with a skewed picture of American politics.

Further, with the collapse of small newspapers since the 2008 recession and the growing conglomeration of print media under the control of just a few companies, there is concern that news is disseminated in a way that is biased toward ruling class objectives—and also that some news is simply not covered because of a lack of small papers.

Essentially, while we theoretically have a free press in this country (and we do have multiple news outlets, one sign of a free press), more and more concerns have been raised that monied interests have too much control over dominant media outlets.

The free press is doing well in having many different responsible outlets on the internet. What it could do better would be to push to reinstate the fairness doctrine, so that American citizens could make informed decisions based on hearing different sides of controversies (this is important because a viable democracy depends on informed, not misinformed, citizens)—and also to crack down on irresponsible web sites and media platforms that disseminate misinformation.

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