Posting for my friend Sue Wilson who is a committed, passionate media reform activist.
Our democracy thrives on the free exchange of competing ideas as memorialized in our First Amendment. In this age of disinformation, centralized national news channels, and confirmation bias, the necessity for diverse local information is greater than ever. You can have a direct impact, helping ensure that a variety of local newsrooms will be allowed to continue to serve our local communities.
On January 19, 2021, the U. S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in FCC v Prometheus. Prometheus Radio, which has successfully defended local control of TV and Radio in the courts since 2004, is encouraging Sue Wilson, an Emmy winning producer and advocate for the publicly owned airwaves since 1998, through the Media Action Center, to submit a Public Interest Amicus Curiae brief. Sue, with the help of a former Federal Communications Commission attorney, Media Action Center volunteers, and a member of the Supreme Court Bar are all donating their skills and time to bring this brief before the Court.
40 copies of the Amicus Curaie brief must be specially formatted, printed and bound for filing with the U.S. Supreme Court. The cost is estimated at $2,500. We are asking for your help in covering the cost of printing and delivering the brief to the Court by December 23. Our deadline to send this to the printer is December 17.
Why is this brief important?
Congress passed the Telecommunications Act which provides that local broadcasters “serve the public interest” in our local communities. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with making the rules so local TV stations do indeed serve our local interests. But in 2017, that Federal agency changed the rules so just one single corporation could own both a local newspaper and every commercial TV station in any town in the United States.
What happens when a single multi-billion dollar corporation is granted license to take over all the news reporting in your town? We are seeing that in many communities across the country, competing newsrooms are shuttered, resulting in less available local information – and loss of jobs. It is great for corporate profits, but not so great for our democracy, which depends on a free flow of information.
It is easy to get national news from a wide variety of sources online, but local news can only be covered by local reporters who live in our communities. Citizen reporters are valuable, but as volunteers, can only do so much.
What if a local politician were indicted, but the one news operation left in your town just never told you about it? What if your only local news show reports the views of one candidate for Mayor, but never even interviews the opposing candidate? What if hospitals in your town were overflowing with Covid patients but local news didn’t tell you? Would that be serving your interest, as a member of your community?
This is the time we must make a stand to preserve diverse local information, especially in an era where local news viewers – and profits – are rising. Once gone, it will be gone forever. We must not allow local news to devolve into the misinformation and disinformation and fake news all too common today.
The Media Action Center Amicus Curaie brief (also called a “Friend of the Court” brief) will provide the Supreme Court Justices with relevant information not already brought to their attention by the parties, information that directly concerns your ability to have access to local and diverse news and opinions.
It is through these grassroots efforts that We the People can continue to ensure freedom of speech and access to information.
Will you please contribute to have the Public Interest represented at the Supreme Court?
EVERY DONOR WILL BE LISTED in the AMICUS BRIEF! (Per legal requirements.)
Your country thanks you.