Just how impactful, dangerous, or convincing is a “fake news” allegation, especially when “Tweeted” by iconic figures like President Trump? Regardless of where one might stand on that question, most would agree that there has never been a more significant and divisive tool than media coverage of political, economic, and environmental issues. Media coverage of these topics, to name a few, is just about the most potent tool to affect public perception shaping our world. As some of us might remember from the Bush vs. Gore election, it was a widely held view that Gore would be the victor over Bush during the 2000 election. Among many factors taken into consideration, one author notes that media coverage and biases have an enormous effect on the likelihood and favorability of a candidate’s success.  In his example of analysis, Thompson invokes inadequate knowledge about domestic and foreign policy as a major factor of polarization among voters. It is no surprise then, that Thompson states “choice is also less free to the extent that it is less informed.”  Much like this year’s Presidential election, media coverage of both candidates was geared towards scandal and trivial matters not pertaining to public policy.
In addition to the growing shift in less relevant and rigorous public discussions regarding topics of national and local governmental policy, an another factor of consideration is the Echo Chamber effect. A Harvard University preliminary study, titled Echo Chambers on Facebook,  used statistical data to display the interaction users have with various social and scientific conspiracy theories they encounter on social media. Proving the confirmation bias theory; where users focus, study, and share information which validates or confirms their preexisting notion and beliefs, the study concluded: “We find that intentionally false claims are accepted and shared, while debunking information is mainly ignored. As a result, exposure to debunking information may even increase the commitments of users who favor conspiracy theories. We also compare the reception of scientific information to the reception of conspiracy theories, showing how Facebook users create communities of like-minded types.”  Consequently, members of a particular belief or agenda will regurgitate and simply spit back information which confirms their biases in a confined virtual space. This space is known as an “echo chamber.” Regarding the effects of echo chambers on social media, the study showed how political and scientific articles skewed in one direction: “the majority of shares pass from users with similar polarization, i.e. users belonging to the same echo chamber. In particular, the average edge homogeneity (measuring the users’ similarity) of all cascades shows that it is highly unlikely that a path might include users from different groups.” 
Another author raises an apparent trend in congressional and presidential elections, and the media trends of a given time period, as variant factors of partisanship assessment. The author, Levendusky, demonstrates how the abolition and abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine, coupled with widespread media illiteracy, positively correlates with an increase in partisan politics. Broadcasters are now free to input content into what once was content-neutral reporting. In turn, this sort of deregulation is effectively the “demise of the fairness doctrine… helping set the stage for the growth of partisan outlets.”  If the American public are the direct consumers and benefactors of such partisan resources; accumulating and disseminating their views on public social and economic issues with these sources as a base, it should be no wonder why polarizing figures are elected into office: “Subjects who used to agree or disagree with a policy will now strongly agree or disagree with it, thereby polarize the electorate.” 
But public dilemmas relating to partisanship and polarization are nothing new to American Politics. The celebrated Founder, Benjamin Franklin, wisely stressed the importance of political literacy: “A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district–all studied and appreciated as they merit–are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty.”  These hallmark words are seldom internalized by the American public; Franklin’s words echo a remedial and optimal path to personal and public moral character. His affinity towards the bible was likely one of civil and personally moral content recognition: “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”  However, what drive or motivating principle led Franklin to endorse and encourage reading of the Press to the degree of biblical study?
In my view, Franklin, along with many of the Founders, believed that literacy of rhetoric, speech, and the press, were as vital and fundamental to a functional democracy as was the study of the revered bible.  This sort of parallelism may even be found in the structure of the First Amendment; outlawing congressional respect and infringement of religion and press, respectively. It will also be made clear how contemporary technological advancements in the modern media effectively perpetuate confirmation bias, the echo-chamber effect, and other polarizing tendencies brought about by media unbundling. As Justice John Paul Stevens famously noted, when broadcasting rights are subject to strict profitable means; delegated to the highest bidder for its use, the underpinnings of a well-informed society are lost: “The marketplace of ideas is not actually a place where items—or laws—are meant to be bought and sold, and when we move from the realm of economics to the realm of corporate electioneering, there may be no “reason to think the market ordering is intrinsically good at all… A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” 
A nation which prides itself on open and free dissemination of all information should not be suffering from historical levels of partisanship and distrust in the media. According to multiple Gallup polls,  aggregate trust levels in the media have decreased by 40% since 1972; strongly correlating to partisan positions voters might have against their rival party members. With an already poor trust rate of 41%, Republicans since 1997 have lost trust in media reports by a staggering 27% average (currently at 14%). The author of the study, Art Swift, suggests that the rapid decline of Republican trust in the media, especially during this past election cycle, is largely due to ostensible biases in reporting coverage of both candidates: “With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more.”
In an era where variety and plurality of social, economic, and political information are as abundant as the water of the Pacific, polarization, misinformed held views, and media distrust ratings, are almost inexplicably and irrationally high. Thus, it may be concluded that quantitative improvements in disseminating information about candidates and various political figures and ideologies are not the root cause of the aforementioned social dilemmas; qualitative improvement is lacking to ameliorate the modern partisanship status quo. In fact, Congress first attempted to stabilize potential polarization via broadcasting monopolies by passing the Radio Act of 1927,  and again with the passage of the Communications Act of 1934. Until 1996, these provisions outlawed “common carrier” regulation, and restricted those corporations and individuals with broadcast licenses to operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” Effectively, this made broadcasters into private stakeholders of the commodity known as airwaves. This status of federal ownership would allow the FCC, or preferably, a neutral third party appointed by and confirmed by members of Congress, to enforce their standards accordingly. 
Although these clauses are not clearly defined within the text of the acts, their constitutionality and vitality were reaffirmed by the Supreme Court to be properly carried out by the FCC.  Because it is the prerogative of the Executive branch to execute these Acts accordingly; to ensure that media communications of the time were to serve “public interest, convenience and necessity,” Congress assigned President Coolidge the Federal Radio Commission, later modified to the Federal Communications Commission under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In pursuance thereof, the FCC has stated that: “[Although] the conscience and judgment of a station’s management are necessarily personal… the station itself must be operated as if owned by the public… It is as if people of a community should own a station and turn it over to the best man in sight with this injunction: “Manage this station in our interest.””  Thus, the FCC has since held that broadcasting stations may not air “for the private interest, whims or caprices [of licensees], but in a manner which will serve the community generally.”  Ultimately, these enactments of the FCC formulated the Fairness Doctrine. The Reagan administration’s abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine will be discussed further below.
With the aforementioned historical and statistical analysis in mind, two selective and potent reforms may be derived as an antidote to contemporary partisanship. The Founders certainly did not intend to mislead or misinform the public via the freedoms and privileges of the First Amendment. They intended to create a well-read and informed public, one with clarity and truth on its side. As education was the medium to achieve this goal in the Union’s early years, our medium should be the same; implementing civic and media literacy as a part of the national standards for rudimentary education. Although it would be most wise for Congress to formally enact a Fairness Doctrine act of some form, the Fairness Doctrine should be enforced by the current and future administrations as a means of utilizing their broadcasting ownership for the truthful edification, social improvement, and promotion of bipartisanship among the American people.
In fact, while the Fairness Doctrine was never signed into law; only being implemented via the FCC’s executive enforcement, a bill of similar content was proposed in the Congress in 1987. The bill, known as the Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1987, called for promulgation of the Doctrine. The proposed bill “Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require broadcast licensees to provide a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.”  What is of special significance is that the proposed bill not only passed the House and Senate by margins of 302-102 and 59-31 respectively. While the congressional party affiliation of the 100th Congress was slightly skewed towards Democratic affiliation, the bill gained remarkable bipartisan support, with cosponsors like the outspoken Newt Gingrich. In June of that year, President Reagan, in line with his anti-regulatory political stances, vetoed the bill, stating that “the doctrine is an unnecessary and detrimental regulatory mechanism,” and that it “simply cannot be reconciled with the freedom of speech and the press secured by the Constitution.” 
Thus, while measures to reinstate media reform have been taken; to better educate the public by presenting multi-faceted data relating to current events and sciences, a presidential veto blockading such implantation should not be viewed as a permanent impediment, especially when the constitutionality of such First Amendment restrictions have been upheld by the Court on numerous occasions.  It should also be noted that Congress effectively amended portions of the Communications Act of 1934 in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, whereby telecommunication media would no longer be monopolized and regulated in full capacity by the FCC; they would become tools of the collective public. The FCC currently states about the 1996 Act: “The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years. The goal of this new law is to let anyone enter any communications business — to let any communications business compete in any market against any other.” 
The 1996 Act would have to be amended by a new bill to achieve proper implementation of the Fairness Doctrine again; transferring ownership of telecommunication airwaves and cabling back to the FCC. Doing so would allow the FCC to set their own standards and restrictions on users that wish to make use of their airwaves, including content-neutral reporting, equal time for opposing views, etc. Lest one believe that it would be impossible to obtain radio towers and cable networks across the country from private corporations (which was a consequence of the Telecommunications Act of 1996), the U.S. Constitution provides a remedy of public benefit. Under the Public Use clause of the Fifth Amendment, a person may be deprived of his property when transformed or used for the public: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” 
Even the narrowest interpretations of this Clause, as Justice Clarence Thomas notes, agree that “the Public Use Clause is most naturally read to authorize takings for public use only if the government or the public actually uses the taken property.”  The Justice provides further case examples from the late colonial era: “[M]any States did have so-called Mill Acts, which authorized the owners of grist mills… Those early grist mills “were regulated by law and compelled to serve the public for a stipulated toll and in regular order,” and therefore were actually used by the public. Lewis §178, at 246…”  Conclusively, it is in light of these proposals that the Fairness Doctrine would be most optimally implemented again.
Appropriately, another reform that will lower levels of partisanship and polarized politics is that of civic and media literacy. On an abstract level, it seems commonsensical to gear the American public with the suitable tools they need to assess the validity of the information they are taught, especially when the primary source of political information on which Americans rely comes from news outlets and social media. In fact, multiple surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center  reveal that cable news continues to be the most popular mode of news consumption for American adults. Over the course of a month, the report indicates that 71% of American adults watch their local news networks, 65% view network TV news, and 38% of adults view cable news. Average viewing time for viewers is approximately 19 minutes a day. Interestingly so, the report also states that “Cable viewers—particularly the most engaged viewers—spend far more time with that platform than broadcast viewers do with local or network news.” If such a large portion of the American public continue to inform themselves on matters of political, social, and economic policy, through TV and internet-based resources, it is crucially important for the public to be educated enough to serve as a check and balance on what news outlets report. Special stress should be placed on having the public informed of the structure and role of government, the history and development of social policy, and the efficacy of various economic reforms.
On a global scale, social media continues to grow in user numbers; climbing to the top of news outlets for hundreds of millions across the globe. Another Pew survey  indicates that almost 67% of Facebook users obtain their news from their newsfeeds and shared posts, nearly 60% receive news information from Twitter, and approximately 70% of Reddit users receive news on their Reddit newsfeeds. This information is immensely important in order to properly put into perspective the percentage of misleading, biased, and categorically false data that news networks share. When there is no system to check or validate the authenticity of TV or internet-based news, corporate giants will capitalize on such openings as vultures do with rotting spoils. As one National Public Radio report relates: “What most algorithms are trying to do is to increase engagement, increase the amount of attention you’re spending on that platform…”  In other words, as media outlets become commodities for capitalistic gain; losing its status as a common good of mankind, the central objective of media outlets is no longer pure authenticity. As is the case with any functioning corporate entity, its central goal is to maximize its gross profit. More than often, consumers are inclined to purchase and invest for their personal gain, which is exactly what universal algorithms do. Thus, the moral goal of the unbiased and truth-seeking consumer of media news is to sift through the content for himself.
With proper educational initiatives coming from local and federal school planning, a new generation of well-informed and independent voters may emerge. After all, the ultimate solution to any public dilemma arises when we the People rise to make that change, usually by voting for that change. One CIRCLE study indicates a relatively strong positive correlation between voters’ civic education proficiency levels and voter turnout levels. In this 2013 study, approximately 60% of the respondents who voted in the past presidential election had some degree of civic education, while approximately 43% of those who voted previously said they had no formal civic educational background”  But baby steps are being taken to improve the current status quo. Founded by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics is the paradigm of modern educational programs to have students engage in their political environment while being well-informed of the functioning roles and duties of various branches, sectors, and departments of government. With almost three million users, “iCivics, Dubé stressed, based on a four-pronged definition of civic ed: “skills,” like teaching kids how to write effective argumentative essays using primary sources; “knowledge,” which has to do with facts and understanding how the system works; “dispositions,” such as being able to engage in dialogue about difficult issues while managing their socioemotional behaviors; and “actions,”—putting these tools into effect by going to the polls, for example” 
In a clairvoyant fashion, early opponents against President Reagan’s measure abolishing the Fairness Doctrine viewed it as a form of unchecked corporate overreach. John Corry of the New York Times restates these concerns with simplicity and totality: “Causes, no matter how odious, may be legitimized by media exposure. Under the Fairness Doctrine, a radio or television station that advocates an odious cause may be held accountable if it does not present a countervailing view. In the absence of the Fairness Doctrine, there is no necessity for it to do so. Indeed, in the absence of any restriction, an odious cause may not only be heard; it may control the radio or television station itself.”  The same holds true when assessing the consequences of media and civic illiteracy. As one writer on the other end of the political spectrum would have it; “It fuels the political and cultural polarization that is tearing our country apart.” 
Currie argues that without knowledge of past policy decisions, and the historical and political contexts behind the decision-making process of those policies, individuals are often lead to more reactionary states of mind. This is often manifested in the form of partisan politics. Take the issue of executive power and national security: whether one looks to Lincoln during the Civil War, suspending habeas corpus, to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to put thousands of Japanese Americans in internment camps during WWII, or to Jimmy Carter’s decision to nullify all Iranian visas and further Iranian entry into the U.S. during the Iranian hostage crisis, “it’s hard to have any real perspective on the actions that George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump have taken in the war against Islamic terrorism [and illegal immigration].” These reforms are far from perfect, but they are fundamental and intuitively sensible solutions to some of the largest problems that face the national mind of our nation.
 Thompson, Dennis. Just Elections: Creating a Fair Electoral Process in the United States. University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition. July 15, 2004.
 Ibid P.10.
 Quattrociocchi, Walter. Scala, Antonio. Sunstein, Cass R. Echo Chambers on Facebook. Laboratory of Computational Social Science, IMT Lucca, 55100, Lucca Italy. Institute of Complex Systems, CNR, 00100, Rome Italy. Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, US. June 13, 2016.
 Ibid P.2.
 Ibid P.9.
 Levendusky, Matthew. How Partisan Media Polarized America. University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (September 3, 2013), P.9.
 Ibid P.51.
 The Ellensburg Dawn. The Ellensburg dawn., January 18, 1902, Image 1. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085012/1902-01-18/ed-1/seq-1/. January 18, 1902.
 Franklin, Benjamin. Works of the Late Doctor Benjamin Franklin. Dublin: P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. More, and W. Janes, 1793, p. 149.
 See Meyer v. State of Nebraska (262 U.S. 390, (1923), McReynolds, J.) referring to biblical studies in school as part of “common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (558 U.S. 310 (2010), Stevens, J., dissenting).
 Swift, Art. Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low. http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx. Gallup, Inc., September 14, 2016.
 As the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 309(h)(1) (1982) states: “station license shall not vest in the licensee any right to operate the station nor any right in the use of the frequencies designated in the license beyond the term thereof.”
 See CBS v. Democratic Nat’l Committee (412 U.S. 94 (1973), Burger, C.J.). Despite the many flaws and shortcomings of the Fairness Doctrine, as noted in the Opinion, the Court held that “The Fairness Doctrine’s requirement of full and fair coverage of controversial issues is, beyond doubt, a commendable and, indeed, essential tool for effective regulation of the broadcast industry. But, standing alone, it simply cannot eliminate the need for a further, complementary airing of controversial views through the limited availability of editorial advertising.”
 The Federal Radio Commission and the Public Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees. 11 Fed. Com. B.J. 514 (1950), as quoted in Emord, Jonathan W., Freedom, Technology and the First Amendment, p. 176.
 Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 93rd Congress Second Session, Volume 120, Part 17, P. 23192.
 H.R.1934 – Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1987 100th Congress (1987-1988). https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/1934.
 Pagano, Penny. Reagan’s Veto Kills Fairness Doctrine Bill. http://articles.latimes.com/1987-06-21/news/mn-8908_1_fairness-doctrine. June 21, 1987.
 The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission, (395 U.S. 367 (1969), White, J.). See Ward v. Rock Against Racism, (491 U.S. 781 (1989), Kennedy, J.), stating that a regulation on the time and location of speech must be “narrowly tailored to serve significant governmental interests.” the restrictions do not need to be of the least restrictive sort of reform: “If these standards are met, courts should defer to the government’s reasonable determination.”
 Telecommunications Act of 1996. https://www.fcc.gov/general/telecommunications-act-1996.
 U.S. Const. Amendment V.
 Kelo v. City of New London, (545 U.S. 469 (2005), Thomas, J., dissenting).
 Olmstead, Kenneth. Jurkowitz, Mark. Mitchell, Amy. Enda, Jodi. How Americans Get TV News at Home. http://www.journalism.org/2013/10/11/how-americans-get-tv-news-at-home/. October 11, 2013.
 Gottfried, Jeffrey. Shearer, Elisa. News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016. http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016. May 26, 2016.
 National Public Radio. The Reason Your Feed Became An Echo Chamber — And What To Do About It. http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/07/24/486941582/the-reason-your-feed-became-an-echo-chamber-and-what-to-do-about-it. July 24, 2016.
 The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. High School Civic Education Linked to Voting Participation and Political Knowledge, No Effect on Partisanship or Candidate Selection. http://civicyouth.org/high-school-civic-education-linked-to-voting-participation-and-political-knowledge-no-effect-on-partisanship-or-candidate-selection/?cat_id=17. January 17, 2013.
 Wong, Alia. Why Civics Is About More Than Citizenship. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/09/civic-education-citizenship-test/405889/. September 17, 2015.
 Corry, John. TV View; Why The Fairness Doctrine is Still Important. http://www.nytimes.com/1985/09/15/arts/tv-view-why-the-fairness-doctrine-is-still-important.html?pagewanted=all. September 15, 1985.
 Currie, Rachel Dicarlo. How Historical Illiteracy Fuels Political Polarization. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445334/trump-american-history-how-knowledge-helps-solve-polarization?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=currie&utm_medium=social&utm_content=polarization. March 1, 2017.