Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

"Don't Count Us Out"

May 10, 2004
Press Release

Chicago, IL. ---- I  want to thank the Dont Count Us Out Coalition of Chicago for inviting me here today.

 As a member of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, I stand here today deeply concerned about how truthful Nielsen Media Research is when it comes to counting African-American and Latino television viewership.

 If African American and Hispanics are undercounted as television viewers, it would be devastating to minority programming.  Television shows geared to minority audiences would see their ratings fall,  leading to a cancellation of minority programs.  Advertisers would  not have vehicles  to reach the African American consumer.  Minority jobs would definitely be lost, damaging an already fragile minority job economy.  Further, this under counting  would single-handedly set back the cause of equal representation in the television industry ----  a industry already grossly under represented. 

 The Local People Meters (LPMs), a new Nielsen technology,  seriously undercounts African-American and Latino viewership. Since LPMs have been used in New York City, top-rated shows among African-Americans saw a  60% drop in viewership, and the largest Spanish-language networks saw their viewership drop when LPM data gathering techniques were used.

 Now, Nielsen wants to introduce this flawed technology in Chicago.  We do not want Local People Meters in Chicago!

Local People Meters are DOA Dead on Arrival in Chicago!

The issue of Local People Meters goes BEYOND the media. 

Its about Fairness, its about Truthfulness, and its about EQUALITY!!!!
Television is our national town hall.  Any viewer information produced by Nielsen Media Research should be accurate and it should be  flawless.

As a member of  Congress, I have an obligation to ensure that this system works ---- not just for some viewers ---- but for ALL viewers.
Thank you.