June 4, 2015

Roger Ailes
Chairman and CEO, Fox News
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
David Rhodes
President, CBS News
524 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Deborah Turness
President, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
James Goldston
President, ABC News
47 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
Paula Kerger
President and CEO, PBS
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Mr. Ailes, Mr. Rhodes, Ms. Turness, Mr. Goldston, and Ms. Kerger:
As the country heads into a critical election season, we hope your news and interview programs
significantly increase coverage of the growing national movement working to elevate solutions
to the epidemic of the unbridled influence of money in politics. Thanks to a series of Supreme
Court decisions relaxing campaign finance reform laws, spending by candidates and outside
groups leading up to the 2016 election is poised to approach $10 billion. Much of that will be
secretive “dark money” that runs counter to American values of accountability and transparency
that give voters the information they need to make informed decisions. Now more than ever
before, an elite few can exercise disproportionate influence in elections and the democratic
process at-large.
More than 150 organizations have endorsed a Unity Statement of Principles defining the values
that should govern solutions Americans are seeking as they grow more and more weary of
business and politics as usual. Millions of Americans are coming together across party-lines from
all walks of life to demand solutions and in those places where solutions have been enacted -they’re already working. A recent New York Times and CBS poll found that "Americans of
both parties fundamentally reject the regime of untrammeled money in elections made possible

by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other court decisions and now favor a
sweeping overhaul of how political campaigns are financed.”
Because of this growing citizens movement, it is no longer a question of if Citizens United will
be overturned and a series of reforms to modernize our democracy put in place, it is a question of
how and when.
A bipartisan majority of Americans support a constitutional amendment that would overturn the
Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. However, after the Senate proposed a campaign
finance reform amendment in September 2014, a Media Matters analysis indicated that the
amendment was largely ignored by the networks' evening news broadcasts and Sunday political
talk shows, other than PBS NewsHour. Some may justify that based on the “political chances of
it moving out of the Congress,” but how often does our country face a crisis of this magnitude?
How often does the Senate cast an historic first vote in the long process that is required to amend
the constitution, as nearly every generation has to address the major issues of their day?
This lack of coverage has persisted as new campaign finance reform stories have emerged and it
is dangerous to civic engagement and our democracy. A Media Matters analysis of broadcast
Sunday show and nightly news programs found that these major outlets have largely failed to
educate viewers about this crisis. For example:

When Doug Hughes landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn to draw attention to
solutions that already exist to address the “corrosive influence of money in our political
system,” only one of the 17 segments devoted to Hughes and the gyrocopter landing
provided substantial coverage to the message behind Hughes' protest.

When a coalition of 50 campaign finance advocacy groups called on President
Obama to sign an executive order that would require federal contractors to increase
their campaign spending disclosures, broadcast evening news and Sunday shows did
not cover the letter at all. Nor have they covered the 700,000 petition signatures or
nearly 90 rallies that took place in 30 states urging the President to act.

When the Federal Communications Commission board blocked congressional
Democrats’ proposal to strengthen political advertisement disclosures in advance
of the 2016 election, broadcast evening news and Sunday shows did not cover the

Heading into a critical election cycle, the stakes could not be higher. Now more than ever before
Americans deserve to know about the need for campaign finance reform. We urge you, as the
heads of the major broadcast news networks, to take greater action in the future to ensure that
Sunday political talk shows and nightly news devote appropriate attention to campaign finance
reform. We are glad to meet with you to offer constructive solutions to improve the quality and
quantity of your coverage.


The Agenda Project Action Fund
Ben Cohen and Stamp Stampede
Center for Media and Democracy
Common Cause
Courage Campaign
Every Voice
Free Speech For People
Greenpeace USA
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Money Out Voters In
National Priorities Project
Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes
People For The American Way
Public Citizen