Sen. Rockefeller’s shared some thoughts that were not in his prepared remarks today. The West Virginia Democrat gave a mini-lecture on communications and journalism during a Senate hearing on retransmission consent:
Mr. Rockefeller spoke broadly about the ways he believes television is ailing, and in doing so he singled out the “endless barking” of cable news.
He said: “There’s a little bug inside of me which wants to get the F.C.C. to say to Fox and to MSNBC, ‘Out. Off. End. Goodbye.’ It would be a big favor to political discourse; to our ability to do our work here in Congress; and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and, more importantly, in their future.”
There is little the Federal Communications Commission can say about Fox News or MSNBC since the channels are on cable, not delivered over the broadcast airwaves.
Additional transcript from The New York Times:
When it comes to developing content, our entertainment machine is too often in a race to the bottom. Even worse, our news media has all but surrendered to the forces of entertainment. Instead of a watchdog that is a check on the excesses of government and business, we have the endless barking of a 24-hour news cycle. We have journalism that is always ravenous for the next rumor, but insufficiently hungry for the facts that can nourish our democracy. As citizens, we are paying a price.