First amendment protections of free speech and freedom of the press may soon be in jeopardy after the FCC probes political speech in America. Keep your eye on Tom Wheeler, President Obama’s new FCC chairman, unanimously confirmed by the senate on Tuesday. Watch him carefully to see how he proceeds with this invasive survey and the actions that follow, based on the survey results Obama’s whim.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans an examination of political speech across a variety of media, called a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs”. The study aims to collect information on “demographics, point of view, news topic selection, management style and other factors in news organizations both in and out of the FCC’s traditional purview.” The FCC also intends to interrogate news producers in all media regarding news content and the editorial decision-making process.
Federal contractors, Social Solutions International (SSI) will execute a survey of private media companies, with questions for owners, editors, producers, managers, and reporters, including internet sites and newspapers, over which it has no oversight.
“The FCC has a duty to make sure that the industries it regulates serve the needs of the American public no matter where they live or what financial resources they have,” acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn (pictured above) said in a May announcement [pdf] of the survey. “The research design we announce today is an important next step in understanding what those needs are, how Americans obtain the information critical to their daily lives in a dynamic technological environment, and what barriers exist in our media ecologies to providing and accessing this information.”
Americans of any political philosophy should be on their guard about any government review of the press, under any guise. This is a dangerous precedent to set and will only open the door for the administration to exert control over any media outlet or reporter it finds disagreeable.
Source: The Daily Caller
Photo: The Cable Show