Today, Reps. Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and Senator Ben Ray Luján (NM) led 20 members of the House and Senate in a comment urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate rulemaking that would require licensees and regulatees in broadcast, cable, and satellite services to collect diversity data from their content vendors. Establishing this requirement would allow the FCC to create a new content vendor diversity report to accurately measure market diversity and allow the public to understand how major media corporations are engaging -- or failing to engage -- diverse voices.
In the comment, the lawmakers write:
"The media and entertainment industry is the dominant narrative-creating and image-defining institution in the United States. As such, Congress and the public have an interest in transparency from the industry, including the demographic information of content vendors in the video marketplace. When Congress has complete and accurate information about the industry, Congress can create informed legislation. When the public has this information, the public can make informed decisions about which content to consume.
For years, Congress has sought demographic information about the media industry. In 2020 a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the lack of Latino representation in the media and entertainment industry found that Latinos as well as Black and Asian Americans were uniquely underrepresented in the media and entertainment workforce compared to other industries. In 2020, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing that examined the lack of diversity of people of color in the media. Hearing witnesses underscored that "the United States of America is a melting pot representative of many cultures and traditions, yet one of its most powerful sectors [the media] does not fully reflect this. The lack of diversity in the media means that many of our best and brightest -- our creatives -- are left out of storytelling opportunities and their voices are rendered irrelevant in multicultural depictions.
The media and entertainment industry is notorious for excluding people from historically underserved backgrounds. The FCC should initiate rulemaking to establish new content vendor diversity reporting requirements to bring transparency to the media and entertainment industry."
The lawmakers' comment was filed in support of a petition for FCC rulemaking submitted by Fuse Media and a coalition of advocacy groups including Common Cause, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Public Knowledge, and the United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry.
Additional Congressional co-filers on the comment include Senators Cory Booker (NJ), Robert Menendez (NJ), Alex Padilla (CA) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), André Carson (IN-07), Nannette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), and Juan Vargas (CA-51).