Thursday, July 9, 2009

FCC Discussing Ways To "Reform" Free Speech and Free Press

According to a CNSNews report, the FCC is having internal discussions about ways in which they can further manage the transmission of information in American society. Funny, but that sounds more like something a government agency in China, Venezuela or Russia would be involved with. I can't find a place in the U.S. Constitution that mentions the Federal Communications Commission, much less give it the power to determine winners and losers in the telecommunications industries.

The FCC was created to manage the finite number of radio frequencies available when that technology was new. Today, there are infinite sources for news and entertainment through a plethora of media. The FCC's purpose was technical, but today it believes itself to have the power to program media outlets and even use the tax code to save those who cannot make it in the free market.

According to an FCC official, who spoke with on background because the report has yet to be made public, the document focuses on the availability of news and information to the American public.

The official said the report examines the decline of broadcast journalism over the past several years and tries to explain why traditional forms of journalism have declined while other, newer forms have been on the rise.

The report also examines the different business models used by different types of media outlets, comparing Internet and broadcast and print business models, the official said. The report looks at which business models seem to be succeeding and which ones are not.

The decline of traditional print and broadcast outlets is the primary focus of the report, which analyzes which new outlets are picking up the slack -- and why they might be eclipsing traditional news outlets.

Journalistic quality also is an issue, according to the official, who said the report would look at whether the Internet and other news sources have been able to fill the gap in journalism left by the declining print and broadcast outlets.

Note to FCC: those things are truly none of your business. We have something called the free market in America. "Traditional" outlets have declined because of competition and an unwillingness to meet the needs of their customers. Individuals do not need the approval of a committee of arrogant bureaucrats to decide if they are able to "fill the gap." Media consumers will make that call.

The second part of the report examines possible ideas for addressing these issues. Among the ideas discussed in the report are things like a potential government response to the decline of older media outlets.

Another idea examined in the report is whether the federal government could possibly use the tax code to aid struggling outlets, giving them tax breaks to help them survive.

A major issue the report details is the possibility of “behavioral rules” for broadcasters, according to the official. Behavioral rules might include guidelines that broadcasts serve the public interest.

Bringing back Cold War-era guidelines mandating that broadcasters do “non-entertainment” programming is another idea being examined, according to the official.

So, the FCC will decide what media outlets are "legitimate." And how will they do that? And what gives five bureaucrats that power? "Public interest" is a verbal distortion. That is a term used by a ruling class to decide what information they want people to receive. The only public interest that matters in a democratic republic is the ratings book. The result may be garbage, however I would rather endure free market trash than propaganda regulated and improved by the Kremlin on the Potomac.

Media and journalism are personal issues for Michael Copps (FCC commissioner), who has publicly lamented the rise of “infotainment,” blogging, and the disappearance of “investigative” journalism.
So, does that mean he would forbid networks from spending a week and a half covering a celebrity funeral? Copps is a Leftist in a powerful position. News networks and newspapers have the freedom to do investigative journalism if they choose. They choose not to do so. It is often the bloggers Copps so laments who do the real analysis and in-depth research he claims to desire. Remember, Rathergate? It was bloggers who uncovered Dishonest Dan's phony letter that he was using to influence the 2004 campaign. It was bloggers who helped expose some of the more unpleasant aspects of Barry Vladimir Hussein Soetero Obama's background. Could that be the real problem? That bloggers are bringing information to light that the "traditional media" ignores?

“Reform is never on auto-pilot, and in spite of all the marvels of twenty-first century technology, there is no GPS system that can deliver us to a new, progressive promised land,” Copps said on May 14 to the liberal group Free Press. “In communications, will ‘old media’ stalwarts like newspapers and broadcasting simply disappear—or will they adapt and survive?

“How about journalism?” asked Copps. “Will anyone figure out a business model to support in-depth, investigative journalism – or must we develop something completely new, perhaps based on philanthropy, non-profit models or public media?”

"Reform?" "We?" Is he referring to the FCC or the radical Left? What happens to the "old media" should happen organically. They have no presumptive right to survive if they do not provide a service that people will pay for. Maybe ACORN can run NBC; I doubt the news coverage would be different.

“We're not only losing journalists, we may be losing journalism,” he said. “Some blame the Internet and bloggers, and that's certainly a part of the story. All that consolidation and mindless deregulation, rather than reviving the news business, condemned us to less real news, less serious political coverage, less diversity of opinion, less minority and female ownership, less investigative journalism and fewer jobs for journalists.”
Journalism has committed suicide by becoming Leftwing partisans. Is Mr. Copps concerned that over 80% of journalists vote Democrat or is his plan to push the percentage over 90? The internet and bloggers are the solution, not the problem. They do the job "professional journalists" refuse to do. All the identity politics psychobabble tells us Mr. Copps is a dedicated Leftist who plans to use his position to attack free speech in America.

Take his complaints individually:

  • "less real news"- That is the choice of the media. Does anyone really believe Mr. Copps intends to tell CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS to stop spending so much time on celebrity news? Pure subterfuge.
  • "less serious political coverage"- Does that mean he is critical of the "traditional media's" one-sided political coverage? After all, the positive Obama stories doubled the positive McCain stories. Is Copps concerned about that? Yeah, right.
  • "less diversity of opinion, less minority and female ownership"-This is not about the media's Leftist slant. This is a shot over the bow at the one corner of the media in which Conservatives have dominated: talk radio. "Diversity of ownership" is the new linguistic shroud for what was once known as the Fairness Doctrine.

Michael Coops if a Leftwing propagandist, pure and simple. He isn't worried that people don't have access to information; he is worried they have too much. This means the state-run media has to endure competition and Leftist politicians much face an electorate that is more fully informed. We can't have that, now can we? Keep an eye on this bureaucratic weasel. It is clear he plans to use the government to restrict free speech, free press and access to information. Mr. Coops radical agenda is clearly NOT in the public interest.

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