FCC retreats a little more from editorial-bias study

posted at 8:41 am on February 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

After a few days of public outrage over its study on editorial choice in newsrooms, the FCC will “amend” the research project — but still plans to conduct it. FCC chair Tom Wheeler will remove the questions in the study relating to news philosophy and editorial judgment, the commission announced, which leaves the question of what exactly the FCC will end up studying:

Faced with an outcry, the Federal Communications Commission’s chairman said Thursday that he would amend the effort — intended to assess whether the news media were meeting the public’s “critical information needs” — by removing questions that critics had deemed invasive. …

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to the growing furor Thursday by ordering the removal of questions about news philosophy and editorial judgment.

Last week, in a letter about the study to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House committee that oversees the FCC, Wheeler said that the commission had “no intention of regulating political or other speech.”

If you read the study, though, it’s difficult to see what value it has. The entire point was “to identify and understand the critical information needs (CINs) of the American public (with special emphasis onvulnerable/disadvantaged populations).” That goes directly to news philosophy and editorial judgment, and without those questions, the study itself is pointless. That leads me to believe that the study will only remove the questions that explicitly mention those terms, and let the FCC just make assumptions based on the rest of the data.

Here are the questions asked in the study of owners/operators and editors. Try to figure out which questions will get removed.

Owners/operators:

• What is the news philosophy of the station?
• Who is your target audience?
• How do you define critical information that the community needs?
• How do you ensure the community gets this critical information?
• How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?
• What are the demographics of the news management staff (HR)?
• What are the demographics of the on air staff (HR)?
• What are the demographics of the news production staff (HR)?

Editors and mid-level managers:

• What is the news philosophy of the station?
• Who else in your market provides news?
• Who are your main competitors?
• How much news does your station (stations) air every day?
• Is the news produced in-house or is it provided by an outside source?
• Do you employ news people?
• How many reporters and editors do you employ?
• Do you have any reporters or editors assigned to topic “beats”? If so how many and what
are the beats?
• Who decides which stories are covered?
• How much influence do reporters and anchors have in deciding which stories to cover?
• How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?
• How do you define critical information that the community needs?
• How do you ensure the community gets this critical information?

The problem with this FCC study wasn’t just one or two questions. It’s that the FCC has no business involving itself in editorial judgment and news choices in the first place — especially at newspapers and Internet outlets. It’s an arrogation of jurisdiction, which would surely be followed by an arrogation of authority and power to address whatever “crises” in news reporting the study produces.

The only solution to this is ending it, not amending it.


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Comment pages: 1 2

You know…

… Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had control of the media while you spend a Country into oblivion and when the economy and financial system crashes, you could blame your enemies.

How cool would THAT be…?

Seven Percent Solution on February 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

And the polls…

… Just think of the high approval polls Obowma would instantly have:

“This just in, a new CNN/AP poll shows 95% of Americans approve of President Obama’s decision to suspend the elections and the Bill of Rights because finishing the “fundamental transformation” of the United States is too important…

… Next up, the America Idol finalists and the weather.”

Seven Percent Solution on February 21, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Anyone who actually goes out to conduct the interviews needs to be met with the business end of a shotgun.

rbj on February 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM

• Q: What is the news philosophy of [your] station?

A: Boom.

Tsar of Earth on February 21, 2014 at 1:40 PM

You know…

… Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had control of the media while you spend a Country into oblivion and when the economy and financial system crashes, you could blame your enemies.

How cool would THAT be…?

Seven Percent Solution on February 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Yeah. Even liberal members of the press are not immune to scrutiny at family dinners on holidays…and for some it starts to get to them.

__________, my insurance got cancelled but we were promised it wouldn’t be…You’re a journalist can you tell the rest of us what happened cause your mother and I are worried. What do they say at your work about it?

Um…..Dad……Ummm……

Up until now the co-operation has been beneficial for both but perhaps the Regime has become concerned about how reliable those journalistas are?

It also has the upside of shutting down the opposing critics like Conservative Talk Radio.

Clever setting precedent…The Beast testing the limits…

workingclass artist on February 21, 2014 at 1:48 PM

In today’s progressivism, suppression of conservative views is mandated as noble… a la Marcuse’s “liberating tolerance”.

Anything can happen now.

petefrt on February 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Yes, emphatically. ANYTHING can happen when the motives are righteous; the thing (the evil, the oppression) that is happening is simply necessary for “the good.” We’ve seen this to the point of mass slaughter in the 20th century. It has been origin and driving impulse of all modern totalitarianism.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive… The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
— C.S. Lewis

I recently heard David Horowitz discuss the Left’s vision of Utopia. But for the first time I took issue with him a little. That is, I don’t think these people are primarily interested in Utopia, or equality, or social justice, or fairness. Their primary objective is power. The world could be in ruin around them from their actions, and they wouldn’t care. As long as they had the power.

rrpjr on February 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I recently heard David Horowitz discuss the Left’s vision of Utopia. But for the first time I took issue with him a little. That is, I don’t think these people are primarily interested in Utopia, or equality, or social justice, or fairness. Their primary objective is power. The world could be in ruin around them from their actions, and they wouldn’t care. As long as they had the power.

rrpjr on February 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Well Y’know…Hitler was rebuilding Germany for their own good…Same with Stalin and Mao ad infinitum.

workingclass artist on February 21, 2014 at 2:37 PM

The government often contracts for phony baloney studies out to cronies and their “research” companies. The White House essentially forces government entities to undergo them – especially happens in the phoney “diversity” encouraging arenas. I’ve experienced such worthless “surveys”. I suspect this was just one of these wasteful taxpayer funded pay-offs for Obama friends, probably not meant to really control the media, but a stupid foot-shooting idea anyway.
To keep the money making contract going for the cronies they’ll try to make the questions as harmless & useless as possible in hopes of not alarming anyone. It’s just a pay-off but it should not be tolerated. The kind of “business as usual” that our Liar-in-chief promised he would end.

Chessplayer on February 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

How does conservative media ignore the soros funded National (international) Conferences for Media Reform? There have been several. Some are organized by the openly radical socialist/marxist group mis-named as Free Press, founded by openly radical Robert McChesney. Lefty robert has repeatedly said the US economy must be destroyed “brick by brick”. check it out. And…. Obama has the Free Press working in the FCC along with other plants from Soros or his Center for American Progress/destruction. Media conferences were coordinated with meetings planning how to kill the banking system.

How is this not on FOX or around the internet?

“National Conference for Media Reform” in Denver on Thursday night. The film—and Rather—contend that conservative corporate power has taken control of the American media, leaving the American people uninformed about current events. (except PBS, NPR, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC)

The conference is based on the premise that the media are not left-wing enough, and that EXTREME government regulations and subsidies are necessary to restore the concept of a “public media” that people can rely on for news and information. A big focus of this year’s conference is urging the Obama Administration to promote more federal control over the Internet, under the guise of “net neutrality, AM talk radio and FOX.”

Rather, who left CBS after being caught up in a scandal in which fake documents were used to smear former President George Bush, was hired by billionaire Mark Cuban for his HDNet channel, which is now called AXS TV. He narrates a little-watched show called “Dan Rather Reports and participated in the NCMR.”

It is telling that he has now become a hero of the radical far-left.

Presentations included films from Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, whose service to the Russians included hosting a program on the Kremlin-funded Russia Today (RT) channel, before he went into hiding from rape charges.

The rise and influence of left-wing media, including outlets such as MSNBC, was completely ignored in “Shadows of Liberty.”

Five years in the making, the film seemed strangely out of date, focusing on an alleged “media monopoly in American journalism” when one of the featured commentators, Amy Goodman, who is a star at this conference, claims to be broadcasting on 1,149 stations around the world. This figure includes dozens of public TV stations in the U.S.

The liberal tilt of public broadcasting was also ignored in the film.

Goodman, co-host of Democracy Now!, is so far to the left that she ran a special program honoring Castro collaborator Che Guevara. Her co-host, Juan Gonzalez, who also writes for the New York Daily News, was a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which spawned the terrorist Weather Underground.

SDS and SEIU and Soros control the Obama administration… why is it not talked about.

In 2008, Goodman and Gonzalez used their program as a platform for Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, so they could dispute then GOP-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s charge that they were terrorist associates of Barack Obama.

Another star at the conference is University of Illinois Marxist Professor Robert McChesney, the co-founder of Free Press.

In an article in the socialist Monthly Review, “Journalism, Democracy, and Class Struggle,” McChesney had declared, “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” (marxism)

Free Press had received at least $1 million from the Open Society Institute of Soros, a mega-capitalist who seems to have dedicated his life to overturning the system that made him wealthy.

However, a major new player at this year’s Free Press conference is the New America Foundation, another Soros-funded group. Indeed, a Friday morning session, “More Diversity, Less Consolidation: How to Change the Media,” will be moderated by marxist fan of Chavez, Obama friend Mark Lloyd, who is in charge of the New America Foundation’s “Media Policy Initiative.” A former Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Lloyd had praised the Marxist revolution in Venezuela, where the regime has attempted to control or even eliminate private media sources.

Funding for the New America Foundation includes $1 million each from:

The Ford Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Eric and Wendy Schmidt (the Google chairman and his wife)

Funding in the category of $250,000 – $999,999 comes from two Soros entities, the Foundation to Promote Open Society and the Open Society Institute. But a similar amount is also listed from the U.S. Department of State.

In an interesting development, former Obama State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter was just named as the New America Foundation’s next president, effective September 1.

As the Free Press conference was preparing to get under way here in Denver, The New America Foundation issued a release saying that its Open Technology Institute and Media Policy Initiative had “joined over 40 other public interest groups on a letter, led by former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, that calls on President Obama to appoint an FCC chairperson committed to prioritizing the public interest, not one who works for the will of corporate interests.”

Copps is on the Friday panel hosted by former FCC official Mark Lloyd.

The outgoing FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, has failed to subject Al Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera to any scrutiny at all. But that doesn’t bother the left-wing “Free Press” organization one tiny bit. They seem to welcome government funding or sponsorship of media organizations, even if the money comes from the Obama Administration, Qatar or Russia.

Al Jazeera is funded by the pro-Jihadist government of Qatar and is regarded as the voice of the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.

On Sunday, the National Conference for Media Reform will feature a panel discussion titled, “Manufacturing Terror: The Media’s Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim Problem,” with Ahmed Shihab-Eldin of HuffPost Live. He is a former producer for Al Jazeera.

https://romanticpoet.wordpress.com/tag/obama-soros/

dwall on February 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Muslim Brotherhood leaders are being tried and imprisoned in Egypt….

But are welcomed by the Administration and are working the White House and most Regulatory and Judicial divisions. How is that happening?

dwall on February 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

workingclass artist on February 21, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Power vs. Utopian vision. I think most people get sucked into the movement by the Utopian Vision… or in other words, by coveting what belongs to others. (Exceptions of course are the wealthy elite, whose motivation may be based more in business advantage, ego satisfaction, condescending altruism…)

Once espoused, the movement teaches you two dangerous things: 1) that as a prog faithful, your views have absolute moral superiority, and 2) that noble ends justify less-than-noble means. You’re certain you know what’s best for others, and your agenda is to help these others, so advancing your agenda(acquisition and use of power) is a moral imperative. People who stand in your way are not just wrong, they are evil. When you are convinced of your own infallibility and believe ends justify means, anything goes… abuses of trust, abuses of power, even atrocities become noble when they advance the cause. Whatever hardship results to the masses, it’s all for their own good.

petefrt on February 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM

petefrt on February 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Correction of C/P error: That last post was intended to reply to

rrpjr on February 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

petefrt on February 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM

rrpjr on February 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Shorter version of petefrt on February 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM:

People get sucked into the Leftist movement by Utopian vision. Once in, the ideology makes quest for power the predominant moral imperative.

petefrt on February 21, 2014 at 4:34 PM

I should have read the comments first as you beat me to the punch with less words. Oh well, my life story.

HonestLib on February 21, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Hey, it happens, these post come fastand I learned to keep them short.

BTW, welcome to the site. At least you seem right handed. ;-)

plutorocks on February 21, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Recall when GWB tried to ‘regulate’ PBS, NPR (the gov’t money part) and the circus which ensued.

It was wrong then and is wrong now.

However, the leftist media only spoke up then, the rats.

Schadenfreude on February 21, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Recall when GWB tried to ‘regulate’ PBS, NPR (the gov’t money part) and the circus which ensued.

It was wrong then and is wrong now.

However, the leftist media only spoke up then, the rats.

Schadenfreude on February 21, 2014 at 7:47 PM

…I read the whole thread…and here ^ you sum it all up… in one post!

KOOLAID2 on February 21, 2014 at 8:55 PM

The entire point was “to identify and understand the critical information needs (CINs) of the American public (with special emphasis on vulnerable/disadvantaged populations).”

Already being done:
Just watch the 6 or 11 o’clock news where the “critical information needs of the…vulnerable/disadvantaged is identified and met with news stories of every rape, murder, shooting, robbery, break in, flash-mob, drive-by, punch-out and drug deal that happened in the local communities, carried out by the local “disadvantaged”. With emphasis on grainy, but viewable security photos of the most “vulnerable”, which will allow proud moms to identify their keeds adding to the local flavor of the broadcast.
Needs met, why duplicate an effort?

AppraisHer on February 21, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Recall when GWB tried to ‘regulate’ PBS, NPR (the gov’t money part) and the circus which ensued.

It was wrong then and is wrong now.

However, the leftist media only spoke up then, the rats.

Schadenfreude on February 21, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Yes, but I wouldn’t call what President Bush tried to do ‘regulating’. He wanted government funding out of it, so it would be better called deregulating or privatizing.

slickwillie2001 on February 21, 2014 at 10:22 PM

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