Skip to comments.New Obama initiative tramples First Amendment protections (FCC monitors in newsrooms)
Posted on 02/20/2014 3:43:22 PM PST by smoothsailing
February 20, 2014
The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press " But under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission is planning to send government contractors into the nation's newsrooms to determine whether journalists are producing articles, television reports, Internet content, and commentary that meets the public's "critical information needs." Those "needs" will be defined by the administration, and news outlets that do not comply with the government's standards could face an uncertain future. It's hard to imagine a project more at odds with the First Amendment.
The initiative, known around the agency as "the CIN Study" (pronounced "sin"), is a bit of a mystery even to insiders. "This has never been put to an FCC vote, it was just announced," says Ajit Pai, one of the FCC's five commissioners (and one of its two Republicans). "I've never had any input into the process," adds Pai, who brought the story to the public's attention in a Wall Street Journal column last week.
Advocates promote the project with Obama-esque rhetoric. "This study begins the charting of a course to a more effective delivery of necessary information to all citizens," said FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn in 2012. Clyburn, daughter of powerful House Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, was appointed to the FCC by President Obama and served as acting chair for part of last year. The FCC, Clyburn said, "must emphatically insist that we leave no American behind when it comes to meeting the needs of those in varied and vibrant communities of our nation -- be they native born, immigrant, disabled, non-English speaking, low-income, or other." (The FCC decided to test the program with a trial run in Ms. Clyburn's home state, South Carolina.)
The FCC commissioned the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Communication and Democracy to do a study defining what information is "critical" for citizens to have. The scholars decided that "critical information" is information that people need to "live safe and healthy lives" and to "have full access to educational, employment, and business opportunities," among other things.
The study identified eight "critical needs": information about emergencies and risks; health and welfare; education; transportation; economic opportunities; the environment; civic information; and political information.
It's not difficult to see those topics quickly becoming vehicles for political intimidation. In fact, it's difficult to imagine that they wouldn't. For example, might the FCC standards that journalists must meet on the environment look something like the Obama administration's environmental agenda? Might standards on economic opportunity resemble the president's inequality agenda? The same could hold true for the categories of health and welfare and "civic information" -- and pretty much everything else.
"An enterprising regulator could run wild with a lot of these topics," says Pai. "The implicit message to the newsroom is they need to start covering these eight categories in a certain way or otherwise the FCC will go after them."
The FCC awarded a contract for the study to a Maryland-based company called Social Solutions International. In April 2013, Social Solutions presented a proposal outlining a process by which contractors hired by the FCC would interview news editors, reporters, executives and other journalists.
"The purpose of these interviews is to ascertain the process by which stories are selected," the Social Solutions report said, adding that news organizations would be evaluated for "station priorities (for content, production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."
There are a lot of scary words for journalists in that paragraph. And not just for broadcasters; the FCC also proposes to regulate newspapers, which it has no authority to do. (Its mission statement says the FCC "regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable ")
Questioning about the CIN Study began last December, when the four top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked the FCC to justify the project. "The Commission has no business probing the news media's editorial judgment and expertise," the GOP lawmakers wrote, "nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of 'critical information.'"
If the FCC goes forward, it's not clear what will happen to news organizations that fall short of the new government standards. Perhaps they will be disciplined. Or perhaps the very threat of investigating their methods will nudge them into compliance with the administration's journalistic agenda. What is sure is that it will be a gross violation of constitutional rights.
Not monitors ... political commissars ... get with it comrade
Revolt is coming.
Maybe, but not from the newsroom.
I’m waiting for CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC to start screaming foul. Will not happen. They will go along with it since they are already de facto state run media anyway.
I’m waiting for Somebody anybody in Congress to start talking impeachment.
expect more of this crap the next three years.
Obozo has his departments lined up to accomplish his Red agenda, even if Congress won’t play along.
keep your powder dry.
I read this and at first I thought it was a joke or satire.
Then, I read that it was actually true, I feel that it’s not funny at all, unless your sense of humor runs to the Pol Pot / Idi Amin / Lavrenty Beria side of the “kooky humor and satire” spectrum.
Revolt is coming.
Rather, via the internet.
Keep a close eye on May 16, 2014, Operation American Spring is going to take place in DC.
“If the FCC goes forward,”
Won’t happen. I do believe that Al Franken himself would go ballistic.
That same MSM, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, & MSNBC will NEVER let that happen.
Anyone talking IMPEACHMENT will be called out as RACIST.
“..........Im waiting for Somebody anybody in Congress to start talking impeachment.”
Don’t hold your breath, too many noodle spines in congress.
I’m waiting not only for impeachment of Obama but for the removing of the underlings who apparently see such government programs as suitable for a people under our Founders created Constitution. I don’t want any of these underlings/traitors near my freedoms. If needed such people should be treated much like rats in peoples homes.
You are prolly right. I’m not expecting the Congress to save America. What you are seeing in the Ukraine right now is likely to happen here.
Dream on little broomstick cowgirl.
boiling blood, bleeding eyes, and fury.
This is the long expected Goebbels Gestapo style move.They will not prevent speech they disagree with...yet. They will take names and addresses and send them to the Obama intel function.Then the squeeze behind the scenes begins...IRS audits......etc.
Put a chill on the way news is broadcast. You bet.
Yep, its a 1st amendment issue.
Like we have said so many times, Obama is a fascist.
Few believe it. But seriously, Obama really is a fascist and now we see more of his true face.Thought police in AMerica. Who woulda thunk it in 2008? We did.
Barack Obama; The Quintessential Fascist:
The anthers of freedom are low this night!
Thanks for the links, y’all.
It should be no surprise that the administration that has turned the IRS on its political opponents now proposes to turn the FCC on its allies in order to keep them in line. It is a sad surprise just how very supine the latter turn out to be. These, recall, are the self-styled guardians of American freedom who are offering theirs up to their master on a plate. Sad, but all too believable.