Freedom of the press- no more

The Federal Communications Commission which has jurisdiction over electronic airwaves for the purpose of making sure that people don’t broadcast over somebody else’s license. In the 1930’s responded to the new technologies and the proliferation of radio & TV with the idea that there needed to be a referee. That was then and this is now. An FCC commissioner named Ajit Pai wrote in the Wall Street Journal “last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country with its ‘multimarket study of critical information needs or ‘CIN’.’” The Commissioner goes on to say, “The measure plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, South Carolina 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 population.’”

The FCC has already selected eight categories to define what this means in terms of critical information, the kinds of information that the FCC believes local newscaster should cover. That is right, the Obama administration has developed a formula of what they believe the Free Press should cover.- And it is going to send government monitors into newsrooms across America, to stand behind the shoulders of the press as they make editorial decisions.

If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, of the steady and increasing erosion of our basic rights this may get you. The federal government under the Constitution has absolutely no business, influencing or determining what story should or should not be run. It is absolutely critical that the press be free, now they will show their bias individually and increasingly so and people know that and understand.

To meet these needs, communities need access to the following eight categories of essential information, in a timely manner, in an interpretable language, and via media that are reasonably accessible, including information about:

● emergencies and risks, both immediate and long term;

● health and welfare, including specifically local health information as well as group specific health information where it exists;

● education, including the quality of local schools and choices available to parents;

● transportation, including available alternatives, costs, and schedules;

● economic opportunities, including job information, job training, and small business assistance;

● the environment, including air and water quality and access to recreation;

● civic information, including the availability of civic institutions and opportunities to associate with others;

● political information, including information about candidates at all relevant levels of local governance, and about relevant public policy initiatives
affecting communities and

But Pai’s assessment of the FCC’s new program becomes more ominous:

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.

A frank acknowledgment, coming from an Obama nominee! If a broadcast media outlet is dependent on not running afoul of FCC bureaucrats in order to keep its license and remain in business, what we have, in effect, is a fascist system not too different from what existed in Italy under Mussolini. Though fascism has multiple characteristics, a hallmark of the system is that instead of openly nationalizing private property, as did the communists, fascists allowed private property to exist in name — while controlling it via regulation. Under fascism, entrepreneurs have only the illusion of free speech , since the government dictates how their stories are to be written.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.” By the way Reporters Without Borders is an international group that ranks countries by their freedom of the press: the United States ranks 46 this year. Freedom of the Press is so a part of our culture, part of our vocabulary that the press should be free but is it really. Also, since the Obama administration took office the rating has dropped 13 places in this global ranking of free press.



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