News Releases
News Coverage
News Media
PFF Highlights
Media Advisory
CONTACT: Mike Wendy
March 30, 2010
(202) 289-8928
PFF Releases Second Essay on Government's Role
and the Future of Media

Essay Says Broadcast Spectrum Taxes to Support Public Media Unfair and Unnecessary

WASHINGTON D.C. — Traditional media has undergone immense, disruptive change wrought by the digital revolution. As a result, some policymakers believe the market has become irretrievably broken, justifying taxpayer support. In the think tank's second essay examining government's role in "saving the media," PFF president and essay author, Adam Thierer, says one such proposal—taxing broadcast spectrum to subsidize struggling media outlets—is neither needed nor desirable.

In the essay, "The Wrong Way to Reinvent Media, Part II: Broadcast Spectrum Taxes to Subsidize Public Media," Thierer argues that such a tax would be fundamentally unfair to broadcasters, who are struggling for their very survival in the midst of unprecedented marketplace turmoil. Moreover, he argues, "such a tax is unnecessary in light of the many other sources of 'public interest' programming available today." And, "even if the government creates or subsidizes wonderful, civic- and culturally-enriching content, there's no way to force people to consume it," he argues. "Nor should government force such media choices upon the public. There's no good reason for government to be socially-engineering media choices through taxes," he concludes.

The ideas within this and other essays in the series will be worked into a major PFF filing in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proceeding on the "Future of Media" on May 7th. The paper may be viewed online here. For further information, please contact Mike Wendy at

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. PFF is a 501(c)(3) research & educational non-profit.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation