A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
First, allow me to offer this warning: Do not, for one moment, believe the FCC has backed off it's CIN (Critical Information Needs) initiative. It WILL be back, in another guise, most likely as a study to determine if minority ownership of broadcast stations is at a satisfactory level. Of course, it is not -- at least not in the eyes of the Democratic Party.
It has been a while in coming but, as an old retired broadcaster, I have been expecting this move by the government for a very long time. Once "The Dictator," Obama, moved into the White House it was but a matter of time.
Ajit Pai, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, was so upset about this move by the government to filter the news we get daily from the broadcast -- AND -- print media that he wrote an article about if for the Wall Street Journal Online. Here are HIS words:
"... The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories." --SOURCE: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304680904579366903828260732
Commissioner Pai continues: "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.
How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of "critical information" such as the "environment" and "economic opportunities," that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their "news philosophy" and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information." -- SOURCE: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304680904579366903828260732
Before we go on, allow me to explain for those of you who have never been involved in the broadcast business -- the FCC is basically the same to broadcasters as the IRS is to all taxpayers. Only worse. The FCC holds the life of a broadcast station in it's hands. They can revoke the station's license when they choose and that station, that business, is kaput!
So. Understand this: When the FCC makes a "suggestion" it is taken as a commandment from on high. If they say: Jump." The station licensee says: "How high?" Then, without waiting for a reply, jumps as high as he can.
I was in broadcasting in one of the training areas of the FCC for nearly two decades. I had far more dealings with FCC inspectors than I ever --- ever --- wanted. Working in pairs they'd hit a station in the early morning and spend most of the day going over that station's logs -- transmitter logs, program logs, and such. The entire building became a pressure cooker during those hours.
In a training area, as we were, we knew the "new guy" was going to attempt to impress his trainer, so, we expected, and got, everything short of a body cavity search by the trainee. It was brutal.
So when the FCC says they are going to ask the station personnel to "tell the government about their news philosophy and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information." That's not EXACTLY how it will work. Allow me to translate that for you into the language every broadcaster knows: It means the FCC is going to tell the broadcaster that these are eight categories of critical information the licensee WILL begin covering immediately, and, I am sure, make reports to the FCC as to what was aired, when it was aired , the name of the person broadcasting the coverage, etc.. As I said above -- a suggestion from the FCC is understood to be a commandment.
Commissioner Pai goes on: "Participation in the Critical Information Needs study is voluntary—in theory. Unlike the opinion surveys that Americans see on a daily basis and either answer or not, as they wish, the FCC's queries may be hard for the broadcasters to ignore. They would be out of business without an FCC license, which must be renewed every eight years." --SOURCE: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304680904579366903828260732
The democrats have been trying to reestablish the old Fairness Doctrine which shackled broadcasters for decades -- dating back to 1949. The FCC stopped enforcing the policy in 1987 and finally took it off the books in 2011. There had been scads of lawsuits filed by broadcasters and broadcasting associations pleading that the Fairness Doctrine did not serve the public interest and did, indeed, infringe upon freedom of the press. What it DID do was cause a lot of dial turning as people switched stations to get away from the dry public affairs topics and banal discussions of topics they hadn't the slightest interest in.
You may remember that near the beginning of this piece, I noted that this policy would affect both the broadcast and the PRINT media. Note please: the PRINT media. The FCC has no control over the print media, only the broadcast media. So, if this is just a fact finding incursion into the broadcast newsrooms, then what, pray tell, is a broadcast regulation agency doing in a newspaper newsroom?
No. There is more here, dear reader, than meets the eye. It is, I believe, the first step in the government take over of the news organizations in America. The government bureaucrat dreams of control of the press. THAT'S where this is all headed.
This is, in my opinion, a violation of the First Amendment. But it doesn't matter. The Obama Regime has already completely trashed the constitution.
If the FCC is allowed to carry through with this plan, it will not be long before government monitors will take up residence in newsrooms all across America and every piece of script, every article of news for print, will be approved or disapproved by them! America's free press will be dead.
I would hope this would be a wake-up call for the liberal media in America. We have warned for many, many, decades that the progressive Marxists they (the liberal media) run interference for, for which they shuck and jive on a daily basis, once in control of the government would come after them – FIRST! They didn’t believe us. I suspect they will not believe it when those government “minders” take up positions in their newsrooms and dictate to them the news they will -- and will not -- broadcast or print.
This is another glaring reason we need to clean out the US Senate in November and put a conservative in the Oval Office in 2016. As long as a Democrat occupies the Oval Office, the Democratic Party will have control of the FCC. That's the way it works. Control changes with the party in the Oval office.
In the meantime, I intend to speak with my Congressman and insist that he do what he can to stop this government takeover of America's newsrooms.
I think Byron York of the Washington Examiner summed it up best. He said: "If the FCC goes forward, it's not clear what will happen to news organizations that fall short of the new government standards. Perhaps they will be disciplined. Or perhaps the very threat of investigating their methods will nudge them into compliance with the administration's journalistic agenda. What is sure is that it will be a gross violation of constitutional rights." -- SOURCE: http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2544363?slideout=1
J. D. Longstreet
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