A resolution with the strong support of two members of the Florida delegation—U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.—“calling for increased diversity in American media” is gaining traction on Capitol Hill.
Back in September, Rubio and Demings were joined by U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and U.S. Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, R-PR, in championing the resolution.
“Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of working with local media outlets across the state of Florida,” Rubio said when Rosen introduced the Senate version of the resolution. “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.”
“In order for Americans to be informed and engaged, it is important to have access to strong and diverse media,” Rosen said. “We must make an effort to ensure that our newsrooms and media companies are reflective of America, both in terms of ideas and of media figures. This is critical now, more than ever. This resolution engenders these very real sentiments, allowing us to break through barriers and realize that diversity is our strength. I’m proud to join my colleagues in taking steps toward building a more diverse media landscape.”
“I am glad to join with Representative González-Colón, Senator Rosen, and Senator Rubio to introduce this legislation. 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, ” Demings, who introduced the House version, said.
“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. 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,” said González-Colón.
Rubio’s office offered some of the rationales behind the resolution.
“The resolution reaffirms Congress’s 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,” Rubio’s office noted.
“The resolution also expresses that ‘an informed and engaged electorate is critical to a vibrant democracy 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 and the ability to contribute to the political debate is central to sustaining that informed engagement,’” Rubio’s office added.
Reeling in more than 70 cosponsors, Demings nailed down the support of fellow Florida Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Donna Shalala and Frederica Wilson.
While Rosen’s resolution has been stuck before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee since September, on Wednesday, Demings got her resolution through the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“America is the greatest country in the world, and we can realize our exceptionalism when America’s greatness is accessible to everyone. At a time when America feels more divided than ever, now is the time to promote a diversity of artistic voices and journalistic enterprises, to ensure that every American has the opportunity to have their stories told, their songs sung, and their experiences valued. Who tells the story matters. I want to thank Chairman Pallone for his support to move this legislation towards the floor, and look forward to a vote of the full House,” Demings said on Thursday.
“I’m proud to co-lead this legislation to allow for better representation of minorities in our media. The media must represent our reality as a nation, and that is a nation that allows men and women from diverse religions and cultures, to coexist among one another. I thank the committee for approving this bipartisan and bicameral legislation,” said González-Colón.
With the resolution clearing the committee, it is now headed to the House floor.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.