One More Step On The Road To Serfdom?
President Barack Obama is floating a plan with the FCC that would put government researchers in newsrooms. The stated purpose is to “identify and understand the critical information needs of the American public, with special emphasis on vulnerable-disadvantaged populations.”
Dissenting FCC commissioner Ajit Pai wrote that the actions were aimed at giving the government the ability to “grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.” He went on: “Everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”
The FCC says it wants the information, “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.”
Senior Judicial Analyst at Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano opined, “This is a radical new era of tyranny for the White House. I can’t imagine it getting to first base,” he said.
“The FCC seems unable to keep its hands off the news media for any extended period of time,” said Jeffrey Eisenach from the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s the same generic concern of needing a news nanny to make sure we’re all well informed.
The FCC is sending out “voluntary” questionnaires to news organizations. “Participation is voluntary — in theory,” Pai wrote. “[But] the FCC’s queries may be hard for the broadcasters to ignore. They would be out of business without an FCC license.”