The Unelected: The Lobbies & The Media
By Hedrick Smith Productions

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Behind the facade of official Washington, beside our elected representatives, there is a shadow government that claims to represent us. It is the unelected government of media and lobbies -- now deeply entrenched in our system. But are the media and lobbies serving the public interest, or undermining public confidence in our system?

Correspondent Hedrick Smith takes you behind the headlines and the network news to see how print and broadcast journalists operate in a news world increasingly dominated by network ratings and tabloid-driven news stories.

Selected Program Excerpts:
Peter Jennings, ABC News
Dan Rather, CBS News
Eric Engberg, Correspondent, CBS News
Paul Taylor & Richard Harwood, Former Washington Post Reporters
Tom Rosensteil, Media Analyst
Tom Patterson, Former Professor Syracuse University
Brit Hume: Correspondent, ABC News

Business, labor and other special interest groups have traditionally had a close money relationship with the federal government, but in the Republican-controlled Congress that relationship has taken on special new meaning. Hedrick Smith takes you inside the new lobbying game with a close look at several highly successful lobbying campaigns.

Selected Program Excerpts:
Tom Delay: Majority Whip (R-TX)
Charles Blixt: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Henry Waxman: Congressman, (D-CA)
David Rehr: Lobbyist, National Beer Wholesalers Association
George Miller: Congressman, (D-CA)
Chris Shays: Congressman, (R-CT)
Ben Goddard: Political Media Consultant, Creator of Harry & Louise Campaign
Mike Pertcshuk: Co-Director, The Advocacy Instititute


We have looked into several organizations that are examining the role of the media/lobbies in politics.


The Annenberg School of Communications at The University of Pennsylvania has been tracking the 1996 campaign and has produced a series of in-depth reports documenting how the media covered the 1996 election. These comprehensive reports, called "APPC Tracking the Quality of Campaign Discourse" can be found on their site.

The Minnesota News Council: The Minnesota News Council, now in its 26th year, promotes media fairness through public accountability. It encourages the public to insist upon responsible reporting and editing and conducts public hearings on complaints against news outlets. It helps the media avoid behavior that leads to complaints.

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) is the national media watch organization that offers well-documented criticism in an effort to correct media bias. In particular, FAIR scrutinizes media practices that slight public interest and minority viewpoints. FAIR seeks to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater plurality and diversity in the press.

So You Want to Buy a President? - Frontline - information and resources about politics, campaign financing and reform from the PBS series, Frontline.

Campaign Finance/Lobbying

Center For Responsive Politics: The Center's Website offers a wealth of information on Campaign Finance. The Center is a non-partisan research group that specializes in the study of the role that money plays in federal elections and actions. Contact the Center for campaign finance profiles of members of Congress, industries,and interest groups and for information on which campaign contributors are "cashing in" at public expense and how. The Center also follows activities of the campaign finance regulatory system, holds seminars and workshops for issue activists and journalists, and offers trainings on how to undertake research. The array of Center publications on the problem of money in politics ranges from reference books to a free bimonthly newsletter.

FEC Info is not the official site of the Federal Election Commission, though it offers useful FEC data on the 1996 elections.

Checkout FEC Info's list of all individuals who have made contributions of $200 or more:

FECInfo also has the scoop on who's on top, money-wise, in each congressional race:

If you don't recognize a name on a list of big givers, you may find more about that contributor on Mother Jones magazine's MoJo 400 site, which gives a detailed portrait of the top 400 political contributors.

And where there are big givers, there are big takers. Mother Jones picks the "dirtiest dozen" (in terms of campaign contributions) in the 104th Congress.

Get Involved: This is a link to a list of various groups that are working on Campaign Finance Reform

The Full Transcript of The Unelected:The Lobbies & The Media

The Full Text of Hedrick Smith's AOL Live Chat

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