Congressional outrage appears to have put a halt the the FCC’s plans to conduct an intrusive study into potential bias in America’s newsrooms. The FCC finds it convenient to say it’s walking away from its plan to play hall monitor, but we’ll see. Last Friday’s “never mind” statement was as weaselly as anything we’ve heard lately.
Note the meticulous evasiveness of the words, “[M]edia owners and journalists will no longer be asked to participate in the Columbia, S.C. pilot study…the pilot will not be undertaken until a new study design is final. Any subsequent market studies conducted by the FCC, if determined necessary, will not seek participation from or include questions for media owners, news directors or reporters.”
That doesn’t translate as “We’re leaving.” It translates as, “We’ll be back.” And “we,” it’s now clear, includes that tireless guardian of our constitutional liberties George Soros.
Nobody but a complete sap would see anything but calculated intimidation in a federal agency asking reporters and editors to explain their rationale for covering one story and not another, and the priorities assigned to stories the Commission might label as “critical information needs” while an honest reporter might yawn.
This country has, inexcusably, a government-owned broadcasting network and—SHAZAM!—it functions as a distributor of “critical information” that happens to be congenial to expansive government. It is enjoined from acting as a full-blown government propaganda agency only by the existence of other choices. The FCC’s initiative was—is—a straightforward attempt to change that.
Any talk about the project being “suspended” must be judged in the context of an administration that professed outrage over IRS harassment of conservative groups, two years into its plan to step up the harassment.
Don’t fool yourself that a formerly sleepy bureaucracy of Liberals now gone wild will abandon efforts to regulate the news. It won’t happen even after the current administration leaves town.