Issue 1 Transparency in Journalism

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 I believe that a free press is oxygen for a republic like ours and that truth in reporting is a lost art.

We must find a way to bring credibility back to American journalism and avoid it being hijacked by political ideologies who seek to attain more power by dividing us. While I am not in favor of outright regulation, we need to take a step back and look at the technologies currently on the market and on the horizon and decide how to best assure the press is used to enrich our lives and transparently inform us and not mislead and divide us.

“I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.”
― Frank Lloyd Wright

I call on Congressional leaders to introduce a bill called The Transparency in Journalism Act.

Although there will be many important considerations here, American news consumers need transparency. This is no different than what we provide to grocery shoppers buying food. For every morsel of food we provide our citizens, we ensure they can easily find and understand the nutritional content. Then, they can use their own discretion about whether or not to consume the item or how much to consume.

We should expect no less for the companies purporting to report the news to our citizens. The successful implementation of this act will provide a highly visible, easy-to-understand label on all producers of news media at the point of consumption. This proposed digital label will provide the consumer with a clear understanding of the source’s ownership, political affiliations, and political donations. Pure and simple, the consumer needs to understand what the source has to gain by telling the story.

Further, a successful label will allow the consumer to gauge how much of a news piece or media outlet is actual journalism versus opinion based on what potential political and/or financial interests that organization and its employees may have. I realize that this may be hard to gauge, but we will use our country’s best minds to help us develop a fair and transparent method of labeling news media.

This task will be difficult and not without pushback, but it is essential for our republic and its citizens to know what happens behind the curtain at a company claiming to inform the public. There will be bumps along the way. We need to keep in mind the end goal is an informed citizenry. Informed citizens can then make their own choices about political policy, parties, and candidates. This starts with transparent news and journalism in our country.

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