DES MOINES, Iowa — Congressman Steve King says airport travelers don’t have enough options when it comes to how they get their news, and that CNN has too much control. Congressman King has submitted an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, that he says would allow for greater broadcast choice for the nation’s travelers.
CNN programming airs on the television screens at some 60 airports across the country, including Des Moines International Airport.
“I`m all for all different views, news at airports,” said Mark Berthelsen, a traveler from Oregon. “I always see CNN here, at all airports, and so seeing some Fox News would be good with me. I`m for that.”
“I think you should have both ends of the spectrum,” said Chet McDonough, a traveler from Florida. “You should have the liberal side, the conservative side, and let`s go from there, right? The right side, the left side, and, maybe somebody in the middle.”
The travelers we caught up with at Des Moines International Airport said they’re all for diversity of viewpoint when it comes to the news, but they don’t think the government should get involved.
“I think the market should play to that,” said Berthelsen. “I don`t think it has to be any government mandate to do that, but I`d like to see just diverse news.”
Diane McDonald, a traveler from Ames, says there’s especially no need for regulation, because of all of the different options people already have: in their own hands.
“I think that there is no need for the government to regulate when there is the access for social media,” said McDonald. “People have the option to use their phones and access any station or any outlet for opinions, news, opinions that they can, they want.”
But Congressman King says that CNN has an ‘airport monopoly’ and that travelers are a “captive audience.”
“I’m a captive audience,” admitted McDonald. “I don’t usually use my phone, except to check personal information, but if someone feels strongly about it, they can always…choose not to watch and use their own devices to get a different viewpoint.”
On Congressman King’s Facebook page, opinions on this matter vary, but some question whether the congressman getting involved in this issue is the best use of his time and energy.
One airport that does not have an agreement with CNN is the one in Sioux City: Sioux Gateway Airport. That airport is located in Congressman King’s district: Iowa’s 4th congressional district.