The Government Channel


I have an idea.

When I lived in Denmark around 1990, they had at least seven political parties, and for campaigning, each party had an equal time slot on the same television channel to present themselves, and I’m pretty sure that’s all they were allowed to do for campaigning on television, in order to keep it fair.

So I can’t claim all the credit for this idea. But I will claim credit for trying to think of an American version that might help address some of the issues we’re dealing with around campaigning.

I would like to see a Government Channel here in the U.S. First of all, it should be a network channel, because then every voter can get it who at least has access to a television set. It should be nonpartisan and make every attempt to be unbiased and give equal representation to all parties. I think it would be more likely to fly if it were owned by a private entity (rather than being government owned). It would be great if there were no commercials on this channel. I don’t have that part quite worked out yet.

Obviously it would be nearly impossible to make this the only outlet for campaigning. But once established, maybe some and hopefully most American citizens would make it their first choice for becoming informed. Subsequently they can choose to ignore the smear advertisements that sometimes seem to be the only turds that achieve floating above all the other noise.

What would be on the Government Channel apart from equal time campaign presentation slots? How about summaries of government activities, such as Congressional hearings? I can picture Sarah Palin as an anchor, explaining what has passed each day and what the nuances are. I guess if you want to follow entire hearings they could air them, though those seem to get pretty boring after a while. Maybe they’d be good with simultaneous color commentary (like the director commentaries you can listen to on a DVD), or with interactive chat commentary from the public live in real time on the screen like MTV does for some of their shows.

Of course there would be a website too.

What do you think?

Kris Britt lives in Brooklyn and owns a multimedia development company called silente.


  1. Moderator Said,

    December 14, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

    I think that’s a great idea. Then third parties might actually have a voice too, instead of being silenced by the mainstream media and two-party, special interest controlled Commission on Presidential Debates. If you haven’t seen the movie called “An Unreasonable Man” about Ralph Nader, you should watch it if only for the scene where he is refused entrance to the DNC. It’s pretty disturbing. When I was in journalism school, we were still taught that it was required for candidates in a political race to get equal time. This election provided the most biased coverage I’ve ever seen. How can we make Government TV a reality?

  2. Edward Said,

    December 15, 2008 @ 7:12 am

    Interesting concept, although I am not sure how one could limit political campaigning in other media. Freedom of speech and therefore political speech being part of the cornerstone of our constitutional system. Some type of public financing to level the playing field as well as creating a venue where opinions could be heard by all has a positive democratic feel. The TV advertising community would not be happy at the loss of revenue. Still, talk radio, internet blogs, and biased or incomplete mainstream journalism will continue to have a huge impact as will lobbyist and special interests. The entrenched political entities could take this noble concept and control it a la police state. In several ways, the current administration showed a penchant for such anti democratic tactics.

    Although she read the sports news on a local television station in Anchorage, you totally loose me with suggesting Sarah Palin as an anchor person. Palin is a partisan politician, not an unbiased journalist, which disqualifies her. In my opinion she is also a poorly educated, mendacious, narcissistic, unscrupulous self promoter whose main function in the last election was to galvanize the most regressive and undemocratic elements of the Republican party. In other words, I do not trust her and I think that the person chosen to anchor such a forum would have to be honest, intelligent, well read and believably unbiased by a vast majority of the plebiscite. A descent speaking voice would be a bonus.

    We have C Span covering the congress. Perhaps its mandate could be expanded. With all broad cast going digital, C Span should be available to all very soon.

  3. kris Britt Said,

    December 16, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

    Who would you suggest for reporting that would appear trustworthy?

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