Senator Highlights Importance of a Free and Viable Press to a Healthy Democracy
Click here for a video of the discussion.
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today hosted a panel discussion on the current state of the media and the future of the free press. You can view a video of the discussion HERE.
The panel was moderated by Director of Public Relations for the Newseum, Sonya Gavanker and panelists included Alison Bethel McKenzie, Executive Director for the Society of Professional Journalists; Kate Nocera, DC Bureau Chief for Buzzfeed; Amy Mitchell, Director of Journalism Research for Pew Research Center; and Dave Lougee, President and CEO of TEGNA Inc., a broadcasting company. The discussion explored issues such as disinformation, “fake news,” and threats to the First Amendment.
“Our nation’s founders understood that self-governance requires an independent press to allow citizens to engage in free debate, exchange ideas, make informed decisions, and hold government accountable,” Senator Hassan said. “But we’ve seen day in and day out, the freedom of the press is under attack. There has been a rise in claims of ‘fake news’ against legitimate news organizations, and also a rise in actual disinformation, created by provocateurs, partisans, foreign nations, and conspiracy theorists. There has also been a depletion in newsrooms – particularly at the local level – and perhaps most troubling of all, our President has called the press the ‘enemy of the American people.’
“Despite the significance of the threats facing the free press, it has been nearly ten years since the United States Senate conducted a serious review of the state of our media and considered how best to sustain a free and vibrant press in the future,” Senator Hassan continued. “I am glad to host this forum today on how we best address the challenges facing the media.”
The last time the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee examined issues in the media was in 2009. Last year, Senators Maggie Hassan and Tom Udall (D-NM) urged the Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing on the topic and given that no hearing has been scheduled, Senator Hassan convened today’s panel discussion.