WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution calling for increased diversity in American media with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Leading the resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives are Reps. Val Demings (D-FL) and Jennifer González-Colón (R-PR).
“In order for Americans to be informed and engaged, it is important to have access to strong and diverse media,” said Senator Rosen. “We must make an effort to ensure that our newsrooms, production offices, and media boardrooms are reflective of America’s diversity, in terms of background, identity, and ideology. This is critical now, more than ever. This resolution encapsulates these sentiments, allowing us to empower individuals to break through barriers and to ensure our nation realizes that diversity is our strength. I’m proud to join my colleagues in taking steps toward building a more diverse media landscape.”
“Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of working with local media outlets across the state of Florida,” said Senator Rubio. “These outlets are ingrained in our communities, offering unique and important insight. We must continue to support small, diverse media outlets that are instrumental in preserving local culture, and serve as an invaluable resource for our communities.”
“I am glad to join with Representative González-Colón, Senator Rosen, and Senator Rubio to introduce this legislation,” said Rep. Demings. “It is invaluable for our children and our democracy to have a cross-section of perspectives that reflect various cultures and voices, in news and entertainment. America is at its best when every American can read, listen, and watch vibrant media that reflects the diversity of our great country.”
“Our nation is comprised of people who represent a plethora of thoughts, heritage and upbringing that is not always represented in the media, making some of these groups invisible to others,” said Rep. González-Colón. “The media should be a reflection of the society they serve, which is not homogeneous. Learning about other experiences, listening to different opinions, and getting to know other’s backgrounds strengthens our nation and leads to inclusion. As a Latino woman, I take great pride in being a part of this bipartisan initiative that seeks to eliminate barriers that prevent media diversity.”
BACKGROUND: The resolution reaffirms Congress’ commitment to increasing media diversity. It also pledges Congress to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common-ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity. The resolution reaffirms that with increasing media experience and sophistication, it is even more important to have minority participation in local media to strengthen social cohesion among different communities and build understanding on important community issues that impact residents’ daily lives.
The resolution expresses that “an informed and engaged electorate is critical to a vibrant democracy that is deeply rooted in our laws of free speech and underpins the virtues on which we established our Constitution,” and that “having independent, diverse, and local media that provide exposure to a broad range of viewpoints, along with the ability to contribute to political discourse, is central to sustaining informed engagement.”
Fifty years after the Kerner Report said that ‘‘the painful process of readjustment that is required of the American news media must begin now,” the industry continues to struggle with efforts to diversify.