Demand Fair News Coverage of Political Parties


Target: Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide

Goal: Provide fair news coverage of third parties and their chosen candidates in U.S. politics

The U.S. has many glaring, nationwide problems that have gone unaddressed for decades because of our two party system. Democrats and Republicans have traded off control of the federal government for about 150 years without a single significant threat to their dominance. Voters who prefer third party candidates are often told they will be “throwing away” their votes. More importantly, the news media in the U.S. goes so far as to mock third party candidates just for running for office. If our major news providers showed due respect to third parties by giving their candidates and platforms even a fraction of the coverage they give to Democrats and Republicans, the public would be much better informed about different possible ways to address national issues.

In the Communications Act of 1934, the “equal time” provision states that all news broadcasters must allocate equal coverage time to every political party during any given campaign. Over the years this provision has undergone numerous revisions and alterations, and is essentially null as a law today. Although practical considerations made this law difficult to enforce, the sentiment is extremely important. The intention was to ensure that the public received crucial information about all political candidates, so that the two dominant parties would not hold a monopoly over the news media. Clearly, this goal has never been realized.

Most industrialized democracies have as many as six major political parties vying for power. Communist China has one, and the U.S. has only two. Our political spectrum looks more like totalitarian communism than representative democracy. If we want to achieve the separation of powers that our founding fathers outlined in the Constitution, we need more than two parties to choose from. Sign the petition to tell the news media giant CNN to provide adequate coverage of third party political candidates.


Dear Mr. Zucker,

The Communications Act of 1934 requires news media outlets to provide equal coverage of political candidates from every party. Although this law has been gutted and more or less nullified over the years, the intention of the bill could not be more pertinent in our current political climate. The voting public is constantly pressured, intimidated, and overwhelmed with messages telling us to choose between just two political parties. Third parties are marginalized, dismissed, and even mocked by news providers for no other reason than being different from the Democrats or Republicans. Regardless of the law, it is your journalistic duty to provide equal and adequate coverage of candidates from all parties.

Most industrialized democracies have five or six major political parties. The U.S. has only two, which is only one more than in communist China. Our political spectrum is uncomfortably close to outright totalitarianism. You can do your part to heal American democracy by providing fair and equal coverage of third party politicians and their platforms. The voting public can only make the right decisions if they have all the essential information, and neglecting to so much as mention third parties in the news deprives voters of such information. Do the right thing as journalists and as Americans by promising better coverage of third parties.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

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