In Search of Regulatory Equilibrium
Suggestions for how to reform the media obviously depend on what we think most needs reforming. But they also depend on our views of the most appropriate and constitutionally viable regulatory models for achieving reform. There is no dearth of analysis of modern media’s failings. Such media criticism is joined by a vocal and apparently bourgeoning grassroots movement to improve the media landscape. Yet there is also a school of thought that rejects regulation as a workable solution to media’s identified failings. And, with the decline of what was once an almost visceral belief in broadcast exceptionalism, there is now an increasing tendency among lower federal courts to see electronic media owners as First Amendment rights-holders, indistinguishable from their print counterparts. Thus, suggestions for media reform today are made against a backdrop of fundamental conflict—of disagreements both as to normative goals and empirical assessments of regulatory effectiveness. With this Article, I hope to stake out a middle ground in today’s media debate, devising a workable program to improve media performance.