|For Immediate Release
May 20, 2010
Washington, D.C. – This morning, Craig Parshall, Sr. Vice President and General Counsel for NRB, addressed a Progress & Freedom Foundation event and answered the question: “Can Government Help Save the Press?” Parshall focused on the role the government should – and should not – play in media institutions, saying, “I see grave constitutional problems with the federal government presuming that it can, or should help a flagging media industry.”
Dr. Frank Wright, President & CEO of NRB, has consistently stressed the importance of this issue. “Having met with FCC officials on this matter, I would not call into question the rectitude of their intentions. But it seems to me that the words ‘excessive entanglement’ do not begin to describe the danger of allowing the government to set standards for and provide funding to the very people tasked with holding that same government accountable.”
NRB has been a strong voice providing solutions that support free market principles and aid a free press. “The best thing the government can do, particularly regarding non-commercial broadcasters, is to un-strap them from the yoke of unreasonable or illogical regulations that impact their ability to raise revenue, and to serve the public interest,” said Parshall during his remarks this morning. “As for commercial broadcasters, the FCC should refrain from additional regulations, like localism, or expansion of the ‘public interest’ obligation, that intrudes into the content of broadcasters.”
“The Founders envisioned a horizontal relationship between the press and the people – the media being among the people, responsive to them in the pragmatic economic sense, and being on the same plane as them in terms of being privately owned and operated,” continued Parshall. “But the idea of creating a form of super-funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a means of insuring adequate coverage of news and information would be anathema to our Founding Fathers. At best, it smacks of a vertical relationship with the public, where one special form of press is viewed as an adjunct of the government. And at worst, it gives the specter of a 21st century version of Pravda."
Adam Thierer, President of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, moderated this morning’s discussion. In addition to Parshall, other participants included: Ellen P. Goodman, Distinguished Visiting Scholar for the FCC Future of Media Project; Charlie Firestone, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program; Kurt Wimmer, Partner, Covington & Burling; Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Sr. Vice President and Policy Director, Media Access Project; and Robert Corn-Revere, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to keep the doors of electronic media open for the spread of the Gospel. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
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