FCC Laying Grounds for New Fairness Doctrine?

Warner Todd Huston, Breitbart, November 4, 2013

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This year the FCC is launching a wide-ranging study that will require news agencies to inform the government on what stories they cover.

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A study, titled “Research Design for the Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” was released in April. The study was produced by a company called Social Solutions International, Inc.. SSI has been awarded hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in federal contracts.

One of the goals of this new project is to conduct a “media census” on just what is being broadcast in the electronic media and published in magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet.

“Researchers will analyze the content of broadcasts, newspaper articles, and website postings to determine the extent to which eight defined ‘Critical Information Needs’ (CINs) are being covered,” reported Eve Reed.

In a May 24 announcement of the project, Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said that the FCC has a “duty” to find out what news is being broadcast.

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To determine if the media is fulfilling these CINs, media outlets will be required to fill out a very long survey to report to the government about what stories they are airing or publishing in the several categories being assessed.

Among other criteria, the study will ascertain: what “news philosophy” is pursued by the media outlet (i.e. it’s ideological direction); how the media outlet defines “critical information”; see if the media includes “community input” into its stories; and review the “decision making process” to find out how the media outlet determines what stories to cover.

Critics of this study, however, worry that with this government-enforced, intrusive survey into what stories the media is covering and how they are covering them, some freedoms will be lost.

Chuck Sweeny, for instance, wrapped up his recent report on the FCC’s study saying, “When ‘Big Brother is watching’ over reporters’ and editors’ shoulders, freedom of the press will be gone, and our liberty with it.”

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: It appears the FCC is not requiring media to report on their content for purposes of this study. Most data will be obtained through public sources, but there will be some in-depth interviews with management and support staff.]

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  • sbuffalonative

    Orwellian is an understatement.

    • dukem1

      The FCC really has no say over anything except what is sent out over the public airwaves…NBC, CBS, ABC, and a few others…maybe 5 or 6 outfits in a typical metro area….
      So this is large quantities of taxpayer dollars spent to study and regulate some enterprise that every day is more dead than the day before.

      Sheesh!…Is there no adult supervision over such idiocy?

      Eh…I guess it only bothers me when I think about it,

  • IstvanIN

    Pravda or Izvestia, take your pick.

  • dd121

    Stalin must be smiling.

  • MekongDelta69

    The ‘Fairness’ Doctrine is one of the biggest ‘oxymorons’ of all.
    The name was probably thought up by a whole bunch of ‘morons’ on ‘oxy’contin.

    *ba-dum-bum

    “Thank you, thank you one and all – I’ll be here all week in the Lizard Lounge for your dining and dancing pleasure.”

    • dukem1

      and don’t forget to tip your waitress

  • Spartacus

    “When ‘Big Brother is watching’ over reporters’ and editors’ shoulders,
    freedom of the press will be gone, and our liberty with it.”

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    These people are saying it like the press is still “free”. Idiots…

    • me

      It’s a game that Marxists like to play. Orwell’s ‘1984’ was meant as a work of fiction, not a totalitarian regime’s playbook.

  • Jesse James

    If the FCC has a “duty” to find out what news is being broadcast then we patriotic citizens have the duty to dismantle this agency for the crime of totalitarian over-reach.

    • Sick of it

      The FCC does not have any basis in the Constitution, so why not dismantle it on general principle?

      • me

        Kill it with fire, and everyone that condones the FCC’s draconian grab for power.

  • JohnEngelman

    This is likely to further suppress the reporting of news stories, however factual and relevant, that put blacks in a bad light.

    • me

      I don’t think that Bantu crime can be suppressed any more than it is already.

  • Actually, when the original Fairness Doctrine was in effect, there were more opportunities for people of our point of view to be on the public airwaves.

    I hardly expect this new iteration, if it even comes to pass, to have the same effect.

  • sbuffalonative

    “Researchers will analyze the content of broadcasts, newspaper articles, and website postings to determine the extent to which eight defined ‘Critical Information Needs’ (CINs) are being covered.”

    When I was in school, we were taught about how monarchs used to censor the news. I was told this was a bad thing.

    The government is getting around this censorship issue by using a soft intimidation to steer the media making it an arm of the government.

    We need to find out who came up with this idea and why.

    • IstvanIN

      No monarch was ever as bad as today’s elected leaders. Monarchs had to take the long view, politicians are only in it for what they can steal in their lifetimes.

      • me

        Even worse, only in their term of office. Hence, the rapid decent of our country down the craphole of oblivion.

  • bigone4u

    The mainstream media are already covertly in bed with Obama. Lincoln arrested newspaper editors he didn’t like. Obama would love the same power.

  • Pelagian

    This is especially stupid, because of the timing: the Internet is in the process of “blowing up” traditional media. The fairness doctrine was based on there being only so much available bandwidth/community tolerance for radio waves.

  • Ex Machina

    All true, save the Voltaire attribution.

  • ms_anthro

    Mignon Clyburn? What kind of name is that?

    Oh.

    • me

      She has crazy eyes!

      • IstvanIN

        She looks like a mignon that was overdone.

  • SFLBIB

    “…the study will ascertain: what “news philosophy” is pursued by the media outlet (i.e. it’s ideological direction);…”

    Sounds like they are targeting Fox News.