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FCC Looking to Insert Government Officers to Monitor Newsrooms

A means of getting around the First Amendment. Also see Susan L.M. Goldberg at PJ Lifestyle: FCC Monitors Your News, Komrade

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

February 20, 2014 - 6:19 am

In its most radical move in decades, the Federal Communications Commission is looking to insert its officers into newsrooms around the country. Fox reported Wednesday that the FCC says that it has identified eight “underserved populations” and is now looking for ways to make sure that those communities get more new coverage.

The Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CINs) initiative was proposed last May. The FCC explained that it wanted information from television and radio broadcasters “to ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CIN’s and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

The FCC has identified eight CINs, or key topics that the government believes should be covered.

The possibility of the FCC even suggesting topics for media news coverage is chilling.

The FCC claims that the study is “voluntary,” but the commission licenses the broadcasters that it seeks to monitor. The threat of penalties and even license revocation is real.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai warns that the study has the potential to become a heavy-handed means of pressuring reporters into making editorial decisions that fall in line with government wishes.

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.”

The study was supposed to begin this week, but so far the FCC’s officers have not shown up. Republicans in Congress are urging the FCC to scuttle the monitoring plan.

The study comes at a time when the Department of Justice has been caught tracking the movements of reporters and bugging their phone lines. It comes after Americans have learned that the National Security Agency has been scooping up information on our online and social media activity and our cell phone metadata. The FCC has repeatedly sought to expand its authority over the Internet via “net neutrality,” and over newspapers, which have never been subjected to FCC scrutiny before. The FCC was created to regulate broadcast transmissions via radio, television, wire, satellite and cable, but not content of media reports. FCC commissioners are presidential appointments. All of the commission’s five members were appointed to their posts by President Obama, but only three may belong to the president’s political party at any one time.

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech individually and for the media, stating that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of the press.” The FCC’s CIN study appears to be a means of getting around the First Amendment. Congress is not being tasked with passing a law allowing the monitoring of newsrooms. No such law would get through both houses of Congress, and if one did, it would never stand up in court.

The United States under President Barack Obama has fallen to 46th place in the world in press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders.

****

Also see Susan L.M. Goldberg at PJ Lifestyle: FCC Monitors Your News, Komrade

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Let me see... I don't watch TV, I don't read newspapers, I don't listen to radio news (except for weather conditions and such,) I form my opinions mainly reading selected Internet outlets.

Now the totalitarians, having used the media to install themselves in power, want to subject them to totalitarian control.

Do I care?

I don't even remember ever seeing the free press here or anywhere. Television news came AFTER the press was bound and gagged. This in my view is merely another internal purge. There are more purges coming, Alte Kameraden. Learning the goose-step is not far in the future.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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'All my CINs Remembered'
http://www.amazon.com/All-Sins-Remembered-Joe-Haldeman/dp/0380393212

It is not enough that one is forced to do evil, one must admit one's guilt,
or be punished by the evildoers.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
And where have commentators, lawyers and judges been for the past how many decades is it now that the abrogation - Unlawful Repeal - of the First Amendment Protections of Citizens Rights has been institutionalised?

And Enforced by "law enforcement" agencies and personnel, ie. lawyers and judges, despite its being manifestly Unlawful.

Law enforcement personnel from bottom to top who, don't they, swear/affirm on Oath to Uphold and Defend the Constitution of the United States? The Supreme of the Land.

Enfirced even in the extension to "Hate" crimes. "Hate" crimes? THOUGHT crimes.

WHERE does it say in the First Amendment that its protections of the Rights of Free Speech, etc. is confined to the Press?

Of course the point is that POLITICAL Correctness is an unlawful abrogaton of the Rights of ALL American citizens.

CHANGE, transformation or tweaking REQUIRING a FORMAL AMENDMENT, via due process of the Law of the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND, that pesky Constitution.

Formal being direct application to and CONSENT from the citizens via their local, i..e State Representatives.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The statists have been turning up the heat under the pot of water and We The Frogs. Little by little - bit by bit. But they have to turn it up faster now - the 2014 mid terms are coming and they may get tossed from power if We The Frogs have our way.

Sounds like The Fairness Doctrine redux.


35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why do you complain? Zampolits are here only to help you to do your job properly.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I have said before, the coup was in '08. Everything that follows is just mop-up operations.

Please welcome your new Progressive Masters.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All this will do is shut down Comcast when the tax payers cut off the intrusion of lies into their homes. Who will pay for the trolls to have free cable?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Am I the only person completely freaked out about this? Wow - we're most definitely not a free republic anymore.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope we aren't the only ones. Every time I think there is nothing left that would surprise me, I get surprised. Again.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Considering the press supports taking away the rights of all non leftists, all smokers, all soda drinkers, all gun owners and anyone else they're in the mood to target, why do I care if their rights are removed? I don't read them anymore anyway.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All the media want to take away other's rights? Really?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The FCC claims that the study is “voluntary" ...

Sure, it's just a study, no need for alarm. I'm sure they have no agenda or plan behind this. So if the study does prove this or that, will they not act on that information? If the study does not support whatever they are trying to prove, will they be able to adjust their findings? If they have no agenda but are perceived as having one, won't their study unfairly and unconstitutionally skew the news while they are in the newsroom? The reporters will all be trying to ascertain what the FCC wants to hear and what they think are good news stories and will modify their content for the duration of the "study".

Content is determined by advertising dollars. We don't need every station sounding like PBS.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let me see... I don't watch TV, I don't read newspapers, I don't listen to radio news (except for weather conditions and such,) I form my opinions mainly reading selected Internet outlets.

Now the totalitarians, having used the media to install themselves in power, want to subject them to totalitarian control.

Do I care?

I don't even remember ever seeing the free press here or anywhere. Television news came AFTER the press was bound and gagged. This in my view is merely another internal purge. There are more purges coming, Alte Kameraden. Learning the goose-step is not far in the future.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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