Friday, October 24, 2008

Nader In 1994: `Establish Audience Network!'

In an essay that appeared in State Of The Union 1994 [2008 Independent U.S. Presidential Candidate] Ralph Nader proposed that the U.S. mass media system be reformed in the following way:

"To give the audience access to the airwaves that it already owns, the [Democratic] Clinton administration should support the establishment of a new broadcast vehicle, the Audience Network. This national, nonprofit, non-partisan membership organization would be granted one hour of prime-time television and one hour of drive-time radio on every commercial channel each day. It would function as a separate licensee, airing diverse programming shaped by the membership. It would be open to all citizens over age sixteen for a nominal fee, such as $10 annually, and be democratically controlled. Finally, Audience Network would represent consumer interests before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress and the courts. This would redress the longstanding disenfranchisement that millions of viewers and listeners have suffered under the current regulatory regime.

"Audience Network and its professional staff would be managed by persons accountable to the membership through a direct elective process...Major abuses that are not publicized for years by the commercial media would receive more prompt attention free of the constraints of corporate advertisers.

"Over time, Audience Neetwork would gradually transform a powerless, voiceless audience, which has been conditioned to accept a debased regime of programming, into an active audience with the ability to initiate new, innovative, and consequential programming..."

(Downtown 1/24/96)

LaFollette's Third-Party Platform Similar to Nader-McKinney Platforms

Nearly 17 percent of all people who were allowed to vote in 1924 supported Robert LaFollette's third-party presidential candidacy, which (similar to the platforms of 2008 alternative presidential candidates like Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney) favored "reduction of federal taxes...particularly by curtailment of the 800 million dollars now annually expended for the army and navy in preparation for future wars" and "such amendments to the Federal Constitution as may be extend the initiative and referendum to the federal government, and to insure a popular referendum for or against war except in cases of actual invasion." According to LaFollette's Progressive Party of 1924, an alternative third party was needed by U.S. anti-war and anti-corporate progressive folks in the United States for the following reasons:

"The necessity for an independent Progressive movement lies in the failure of the two old parties to purge themselves of the influences which have caused their administrations repeatedly to betray the American people.

"...Both party organizations have fallen under the domination and control of corrupt wealth, devoting the powers of government exclusively to selfish special interests...

"To break the combined power of the private monopoly system over the political and economic life of the American people is the one paramount issue of the 1924 campaign...

"From 1912 until the present time no honest or continuous effort has been made by a single administration, either Republican or Democratic, to protect the American people from the exactions of private monopoly by enforcement of the criminal sections of the antitrust laws...

"Popular government cannot long endure in this country without an aggressively progressive party..."

(Downtown 10/18/95)