WASHINGTON – On Thursday, Free Press Action released the “Right to Connect Voter Guide,” an analysis of presidential candidates’ positions on vital media-and-technology policies.
The voter guide is organized around six issue areas: Net Neutrality, affordability, media ownership and mergers, surveillance and privacy, reliable networks, and journalism. It analyzes the positions on these issues of all Democratic and Republican presidential candidates polling at 3 percent or above in recent national polls.
The guide weighs each candidate’s positions against Free Press Action’s Right to Connect policy platform. Free Press Action sent the platform to each of the presidential candidates. We also gathered information from their own campaigns and from credible reports from the press, academic researchers and other sources.
Free Press Action Co-CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:
“Free Press Action analyzes policies but does not endorse candidates. But one bright spot in the runup to the 2020 election is the breadth and depth of policy proposals on media and tech put out by many of the leading presidential contenders in the Democratic primary. So far, across a range of media and tech priorities, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stand out for their detailed and innovative proposals to expand broadband access, make internet access affordable and confront corporate power. Sanders has also offered the most detailed ideas about addressing the crisis in journalism. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, also receives high marks in most categories.
“The records of the other candidates are mixed or incomplete. Notably, all of the leading Democratic candidates but two — former Vice President Joe Biden and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg — have strongly and publicly endorsed Net Neutrality on the campaign trail. Can’t say the same for the Republicans. Fortunately, it’s not too late for any of the candidates to speak out on these issues, though some have far more work to do than others. Based on his record in office, President Trump failed in every subject.”
Free Press Action Policy Manager Dana Floberg, who conducted the research, made the following statement:
“The next president of the United States must foster diverse media ownership while rethinking ways to support local, noncommercial and independent journalism. They must also defend and expand people’s communication rights by confronting gatekeepers and promoting networks that are open, equitable and affordable for all.
“Over the past three years, politicians and regulators in Washington have done more damage than good — dismantling vital parts of our communications infrastructure and demeaning our press corps. They’ve stood by as corporate giants in the cable, wireless, internet, tech and media industries have neglected or outright harmed people of color, poor people, immigrants, refugees, women and the LGBTQ+ community.
“The Right to Connect Voter Guide will allow people to assess the positions of candidates across the political spectrum. The next president must not only reverse the relentless attacks on communication rights, but also put forth a bold vision for a just and equitable media system — and concrete steps toward achieving it.”