THE FCC AND SUNLIGHT DISINFECTANT

“sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”:  Louis D. Brandeis, 1913

Yesterday I blogged about the fact that the FCC intended to nose into the newsrooms of this country to determine what news in what forms and what doses was acceptable.  I referenced  an article by Ajit Pai, in the Wall Street Journal, dated February 10th, and noted that it had barely been reported by mainstream media, and noted that the “study” was being run for the FCC by a social activist group, and was under the thumb of a hardline left wing congressperson\’s daughter.  I ended by saying:

Do you have any expectation in the world that this “study” is without an agenda?

This is freedom of the press we are talking about people.  Freedom of speech.  We either have it or we don\’t.  And “studies” like this, in my opinion, are designed to inhibit those freedoms, by channeling them into what the people in charge think they should be.    

If that doesn\’t scare the crap out of you, there\’s no hope left.

Well, it turns out that, while mainstream media remain incredibly negligent in reporting this assault on their own freedom of speech/of the press, the blogosphere is not. In addition to Ajit Pai (who deserves full credit for bringing this into the sunshine), many other blogs picked up on Mr. Pai\’s article and reported about it as well.

And, once it was out there, guess who quickly was shamed into backtracking?  That\’s right, you got it.

Excerpted from Hadas Gold\’s article at politico.com:

TheFederal Communications Commission will amend a proposed study ofnewsrooms in South Carolina after outcry over what some called”invasive questions,” the commission\’s chairman saidFriday.

Thesurvey was meant to study how and if the media is meeting thepublic\’s “critical information needs” on subjects like publichealth, politics, transportation and the environment. Now, FCCChairman Tom Wheeler said questions about news philosophy andeditorial judgment will be removed from the survey and media ownersand reporters will no longer be questioned.

Theuproar caught on fire after one of the Republican commissioners, AjitPai, penned anop-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week blasting the surveyand saying the government had no place in newsrooms. The FCC isrequired by law to conduct media studies.

That is good news…as far as it goes.  

But do you think this crew is truly finished with trying to intimidate newsrooms?  I know I don\’t.

And do you doubt for a moment which newsrooms they are most after (one very quickly comes to mind…think of a three letter word starting with F and ending with X)?

So, though it appears the FCC inquisition might be over, I would put it in the “this is over for the time being, until the furor dies down and we can get back into the shadows” category.

Let\’s all keep our eyes open.  And plenty of sunlight disinfectant ready for action.

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