An attempt to ‘monitor’ the news
Published: Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Recently, the U.S. government through its Federal Communications Commission made a blatant attempt to control what comes out of America’s newsrooms. If this latest brainstorm by the FCC had come to fruition, we would have entered an era where the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press and speech would have been a thing of the past on our nation’s airwaves.
The Democratic majority (three) of five FCC members came up with this brilliant idea which would have established grounds for government censorship of news media in this country. We recently learned about this plan only through an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal written by an angry Republican FCC member, Ajit Pai.
Apparently the Orwellian plan was hatched behind closed doors and did not include the two Republican FCC members in the discussion. The “Critical Information Needs” study would have had “monitors” in every American newsroom to “ask questions” about how and why editors and reporters come up with their ideas for certain news stories and not others.
These so-called “monitors” would represent the federal agency that has the power to issue, renew or shut down a radio or television station’s license. This plan did not include the nation’s newspapers that viewed this censorship attempt as the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. For sure, the print media would have been next in line for some government agency to attempt to silence or censor us.
You don’t suppose the Obama administration had anything to do with pursuing this obvious attempt at control of the media, do you? After all, the president and his minions have been the object of a number of scandal investigations like Fast and Furious, Benghazi and the IRS targeting conservative groups that don’t seem to be going away any time soon. Maybe this is because nobody in this administration is forthcoming with answers to what Obama once called “phoney” scandals.
Thanks to an outrage of conservative newscasters and talk show hosts, the FCC had to retreat, for the time being, on their obvious un-Constitutional plan. Now that their plan has seen the light of day, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler admitted the previous “draft” announcement may have overstepped its bounds. People like Wheeler always seem to say something like this when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
Now the FCC plans to “modify” its original idea with a demographic survey that will try to discover “underserved” listeners and viewers in a variety of media “ecologies.” The original plan was reportedly promoted by Mignon Clyburn, eldest daughter of Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. We hope Miss Clyburn and her Democratic cohorts on the FCC will drop this idea all together and concentrate on more important matters than targeting conservative media outlets in this country.
We never thought we would ever come to a point in America where a government agency would blatantly seek to control news content coming out of television and radio outlets, but that’s what the FCC just tried to do. Thankfully, the American people spoke and our elected representatives listened and this attempt was squashed.
We trust lessons were learned and this attempt at news censorship by the government won’t happen again.
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