Executive Speech 224: Regulation of the Television Industry

President Cincinnati Eleden gave this speech on August 8, 2007 to the American public on primetime television.

"Since the television industry was deregulated in the 1980s, we have seen a precipitous decline in the quality of local programming, journalism, public service programming and the doctrine of fairness. When television was deregulated, a Federal Communications Commission Chairman said “The Television is just another appliance,” and “It’s a toaster with pictures.” But in a nation where our attitudes towards other Americans, where our understanding of the world, where our very perspective towards reality, is shaped by this appliance, we are compelled to admit that the television is a much more powerful, and dangerous device, than a toaster.

Federal deregulation of the television industry has directly led to a state of communications today, which is playing havoc on our public discourse. By loosening restrictions on how many stations an entity can own, we have seen the rise of a few enormous media empires, which, between them, exert control over our Democracy’s public square. By loosening licensing restrictions, television stations are not now expected to become a part of their localities, and gain the trust of their audience, which has led to the slow demise of investigative journalism and strong local coverage. The abolition of minimal non-entertainment programming guidelines has led more companies to scramble for profits and cut the budgets of news departments in an effort to save money.

When the Communications Act of 1934 was passed, television broadcasters were expected to act in the “public interest”. This idea has now become an antiquated one, in an era of celebrity fascination and game show banality, but it need not be. Television should serve Americans, rather than Americans serving the television industry. Television should be a tool to make this nation a better place, while also entertaining us. A communications system disinterested in serving the people it reaches is a dangerous example to set, especially as we have seen other nations following the lead of Americans in deregulating their communications industry. America must move forward, and change the poor state of our public airwaves.

Therefore, it shall henceforth be the policy of the Executive Branch of the Government of the United States to appoint FCC Commissioners who will pursue regulation of the television industry, and I call upon the Senate to confirm these appointments when they should be necessary.

Thank you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America."