The Journalism Ratings Board: An Incentive-Based Approach to Cable News Accountability

The American establishment media is in crisis. With newsmakers primarily driven by profit, sensationalism and partisanship shape news coverage at the expense of information necessary for effective self-government. Focused on cable news in particular this Note proposes a Journalism Ratings Board to periodically rate news programs based on principles of good journalism. The Board will publish periodic reports and display the news programs’ ratings during the programs themselves, similar to parental guidelines for entertainment programs. In a political and legal climate hostile to command-and-control regulation, such an incentive-based approach will help cable news fulfill the democratic function of the press.