Thursday, February 20, 2014

The FCC's Redder Than Red Flag

I've often commented on how many different periodicals I need to skim and news outlets I listen to to get a handle on the news.  They all come from different places depending on managements' points of view.  Somewhere among it all is the actuality of the news.

Now the FCC wants to send teams into broadcast and  newspaper newsrooms to determine just this and to see if what they deem important is being covered enough along with the sources they use. They can even pursue reporters and other staff off the clock to get the information they want. It's called the Critical Information Needs study.

This sounds an awful lot like what organizations seeking a 501c4 have gone through with the IRS where the questions have become personal, intrusive and impertinent to the subject at hand. Broadcasters may cave to this because of licensing requirements but the FCC has absolutely no jurisdiction over print journalism and they should give an emphatic and ground trembling no to such a request.  The last thing we need is this government inside our news sources.

I don't mind having to dig through information to find out what I want to know.  So far we still have a right to our opinion. If the government, however, gets a foothold next will come censorship.  You aren't covering enough of this or too much of that.  You aren't covering enough stories about racial injustice or political philosophies.  You don't have enough reporters of color to match the racial demographic of your listening or reading audience or you don't have enough stories relating to the liberal point of view or the far right point of view.

Next come fines or worse.  Criminal accusations. Remember when Justice went so far as to claim James Rosen of FOX news was a flight risk? In time it would trickle down to the local level.  How would they react to Huckleberries Online blog in the Spokesman Review, for example, where the political commentary on the local level is anything but neutral. If I don't like it I don't have to participate but I'll fight to the death the paper's right and the blog administrator's right to speak their minds.  It's called freedom of speech.  Freedom of the press.

Yesterday I was in the doldrums because everything was a fuzzy gray.  Not so today.  Everything is suddenly covered with the bright red flags of government over reach.  We should all be writing our Congresspeople and clamoring for a cease and desist order.  Now!  Don't let them get a foothold, even with their so called test case.

If the government wants to know what an outlets philosophy is and how it covers news all they need do is turn on their TV sets.  As for the reporters, if they're doing their job, their personal opinions would not be evident.  The commentators and pundits are preachers of opinion. We all know that. We accept it, digest it and form our own opinions.  We never, ever try to manipulate it and neither should the government! Just say NO!

1 comment:

Betty said...

One of the problems is that the news outlets are all owned by big corporations, and they don't hire reporters - they hire "news readers" who simply parrot the corporations' biases. This results in stories that have not been researched or any corroboration of so-called "facts."