What Could Go Wrong? FCC Wants to Police Content in Newsrooms

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 at 8:03 am
Barack Obama

You would think this would be a bigger story, but judging by the lack of coverage of this outrage apparently most in the media are all for it. It’s clearly another clumsy, heavy-handed attempt at stifling news outlets that don’t fall in line with the 99% of slanted, leftist liberal news delivery. So it makes sense why only Fox is covering this story.

News organizations often disagree about what Americans need to know. MSNBC, for example, apparently believes that traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., is the crisis of our time. Fox News, on the other hand, chooses to cover the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi more heavily than other networks. The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch.

But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.

Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, where I am a commissioner, does not agree. Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

So the government now wants to investigate the process of story selection and “perceived” bias? This is ludicrous.

The new project also will include newspaper and Internet content and is expected to start this spring with a field test in Columbia, S.C.

“This is an extremely troubling and dangerous development that represents the latest in an ongoing assault on the Constitution by the Obama administration,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. “The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”

Sekulow should know what this is all about as he represents some of the group under asssault by Obama’s IRS stormtroopers. This is certainly along the same lines. What’s really insane is that someone actually thought this is a good idea. Now ask yourself if George Bush had suggested something this insane, what would the reaction have been?

The FCC should keep its alternative approaches to itself, as even the posing of these questions carries an intimidation factor. The government has no business meddling in how journalism is practiced. And if George W. Bush’s FCC had tried this, it would be a front-page story.

Indeed. We surmise this story will begin to get more coverage, but the angle will be that Fox is simply being paranoid. But anyone who’s taken Journalism 101 should recoil at this:

There are also a number of questions that they pose in the study to news managers and staffers, including the following:

  • What is the news philosophy of the station?
  • How do you define critical information that the community needs?
  • Who decides which stories are covered?
  • Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers (viewers, listeners, readers) that was rejected by management?

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6 Responses to “What Could Go Wrong? FCC Wants to Police Content in Newsrooms”

  1. VoteOutIncumbents on 21/21/14 at 8:07 am

    Obama is accomplishing controls that Richard Nixon only dreamed about.

    What is especially scary with this latest reach is the lack of reaction by the mainstream media. I would have thought they’d be jumping up and down demanding congress look into this power grab.

    Nothing much from the big networks or papers like the WaPo or Times. I think this speaks to the rot that is already in the system. It seems to be filled with fellow travelers.

    These boot lickers in the Washington press corps are amazingly sedated. The “Justice” department has tapped into the private conversations of reporters, the IRS suppressed the Tea Party…and nobody in the national press seems to care.

    The Republic is in a lot of trouble.

  2. sound awake on 21/21/14 at 10:08 am

    sure, put the federal government in the newsroom…

    the feds were so good in fast and furious, the irs, benghazi, obamacare, the stimulus, just to name a few…

  3. Drumwaster on 21/21/14 at 11:01 am

    I think that citizens ought to start showing up with cameras and recorders in the faces of FCC employees, demanding to know how they decided which stories need to be run, and how they determine what a bias is.

    In fact, they ought to start showing up at every government office, demanding such information. Politely, but insistently.

    “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” — T. Jefferson

  4. PersonFromPorlock on 21/21/14 at 12:06 pm

    Is it time to create federal journalism licenses yet? After all, Heller establisher that constitutionally-guaranteed individual rights can be subject to state approval before being exercised.

  5. PersonFromPorlock on 21/21/14 at 12:07 pm

    Is it time to create federal journalism licenses yet? After all, Heller established that constitutionally-guaranteed individual rights can be subject to state approval before being exercised.