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by Paul R. Hollrah, ©2014

Has the FCC really abandoned its proposed project to “interview” reporters and news editors for content?

(Mar. 8, 2014) — In a February 10 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who occupies one of the Republican seats on the commission, broke the news that the Obama administration was planning to place inquisitors in the newsrooms of television and radio stations across the nation. 

Titled the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the FCC program proposed to send researchers into TV and radio newsrooms to interview reporters, editors, and station managers about how they decide which stories to cover… or not cover.  As Pai described it, the stated purpose of the CIN was to “ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about ‘the process by which stories are selected,’ and how often stations cover ‘critical information needs,’ along with ‘perceived station bias’ and ‘perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.’ ”      

As a guideline for their research, the FCC planners selected eight major categories for their investigators to delve into:

·       Emergencies and risks – immediate and long term,

·       Health and welfare – local health information and group specific health information,

·       Education – the quality of local schools and choices available to parents,

·       Transportation – available alternatives, costs, and schedules,

·       Economic opportunities – job information, job training, and small business assistance,

·       The environment – air and water quality and access to recreation,

·       Civic information – the availability of civic institutions and opportunities to associate with others,

·       Political – information about candidates at all relevant levels of local governance, and relevant public policy initiatives affecting communities and neighborhoods.

In addition, the FCC identified two broad areas of critical information needs associated with each of these categories: 1) Those fundamental to individuals in everyday life, and 2) Those that affect larger groups and communities.

But this is all pretty boring stuff.  If the FCC was interested in conducting a study on which topics and which stories were most likely to put TV viewers and radio listeners to sleep, it’s pretty clear they were really onto something.  There have always been much more interesting stories to report. 

Although everyone but the fascist thugs of the Obama administration and the brain-dead rank-and-file of the Democratic Party were immediately horrified at what the FCC proposed, for the first time in history conservatives and the lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union threw their arms around each other.  The thought of someone marching into the newsrooms of television and radio stations and demanding to know how they conducted their business was roundly denounced by conservatives and honest liberals alike.

Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public interest law firm, cautioned: “The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”

Without doubt, Sekulow had the Obama administration in mind when he cautioned us against “repressive regimes?”

Commentary magazine equated the proposed FCC study to the dangers of, say, a federal shield law.   The principal danger of a shield law is that, in order to legislate protections for a specific group… i.e. the “press”… it is first necessary to define that group.  Therefore, the government would be placed in the position of deciding who is a journalist and who is not.  As Commentary suggests, “The government could easily play favorites and have yet another accreditation – not unlike an FCC license – to hold over the heads of the press.”  Given the Obama administration’s unprecedented use of the IRS to thwart its political opponents, is there any doubt that a shield law in their hands would be a very dangerous thing?

Commentary concluded that it is such rules that the FCC’s CIN calls to mind.  It opens the door to increased government scrutiny of the press, with an implicit threat to a broadcaster’s license.  It does so under the guise of “public service,” “quality control,” “fairness,” and other terms that usually hint the government is up to no good.  Left unchallenged, the CIN would support the premise that “news judgment is the FCC’s business.”

The FCC quickly issued a statement saying that Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler was in agreement that “survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required.”  An FCC spokesman added that “any suggestion that the FCC intends to regulate the speech of news media or plans to put monitors in America’s newsrooms is false.”

However, what is most noticeable about all of the moral indignation directed at the FCC’s CIN program, whether from the left or from the right, is that it is all premised on the notion that we actually have a free press in the United States when, in fact, we do not.  Few conservatives, the most “underserved population” of all, would deny that because of many decades of leftish propagandizing by the mainstream media, any opportunity to get inside the newsrooms at the major networks to expose them for the charlatans they are would be far too tempting to ignore. 

For example, in 2004, CBS newsman Dan Rather created a national stir when he charged that George W. Bush had been AWOL during a part of his service in the Texas Air National Guard.  Unfortunately for Rather, the documents used to support his charge turned out to be forgeries.  The documents, which Rather claimed were memos from one of Bush’s senior officers, contained superscript characters which were not available on typewriters at the time.  In truth, the documents that Rather hoped would ruin Bush’s reelection chances were created on a modern computer using Microsoft Word software, and artificially aged to make them appear authentic.

Nevertheless, the networks and major print media devoted hundreds of hours of airtime and countless lines of newsprint to the bogus story.  It would have been interesting to learn how the networks decided to spend that much time and effort on the phony Bush AWOL story.

Conversely, just three years later, when it became evident that Sen. Barack Obama would be a viable Democratic candidate for the presidency, legal scholars complained that, because Obama failed to meet the basic requirements to be a “natural born Citizen,” as required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, he would be ineligible to serve.  And although there was ample evidence to support the charge, the mainstream media all but ignored the story.

And when the Maricopa County, Arizona, Cold Case Posse, under the direction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, provided irrefutable proof that the long form birth certificate uploaded to the White House website on April 27, 2011, was a poorly crafted forgery, that his draft registration card was a forged document, and that his Social Security number was stolen and would not pass a simple Social Security Administration E-verify test, the left-leaning newsmen of ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC looked the other way.  They simply ignored the story.    

It would be interesting to have editors, producers, and reporters at our major networks explain why a few days absence by George W. Bush from his Air National Guard duty station should be a major national news story, while the constitutional ineligibility and the forged documentation of the country’s first black president deserved nothing more than to be swept under the rug.  

These are not isolated incidents; they happen every day of the week, on every conceivable kind of issue, foreign and domestic.  The only constant is the fact that the reporting is almost always slanted in favor of liberal/socialist orthodoxy and against traditional conservative views.

Given that so much of the Obama administration invites favorable comparison to Hitler’s Third Reich, it was only to be expected that the FCC’s CIN study would quickly attract comparisons.  Marilyn Assenheim, writing for the Patriot Update, suggests that, “What (Obama) is establishing is a redo of historical absolutism.  The German National Socialist government could not have aspired to better.”

Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, reminds us that “Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric goes with it.  Freedom is not free.  You have to fight for it or lose it.”  “But,” he asks, “is our generation up to fighting for it?”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming has said: “I think Obama is learning.  By the end of his presidency he’ll have gone from less than useless to achieving parity with uselessness…  In America, we love rooting for the underdogs, so maybe a gigantic decline in our nation is just what we need to believe in ourselves again.”

Perhaps a close brush with fascist dictatorship will be enough to wake us all up to the realities of the terrible dangers that Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi represent.


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  1. https://www.facebook.com/jim.garrow.1

    Jim Garrow
    Obama’s Embarrassing Rejection:

    You know that you hit the nail on the head when nobody and I mean nobody dared to acknowledge the truth of this article. Keep in mind that the advance team of the Secret Service and assistants to Michele Obama want this information squelched. It is a true embarrassment that they do not want getting out to the mainstream media and then the public. Xinhua News (the commie controlled media news service of China) has already squashed reports from coming out in Chongqing, Chengdu and Hong Kong. They want to make sure that Michele is not embarrassed. In spite of the fact that the South China Morning Post interviewed both school Principals and myself as owner of the private schools in question, no report will make it to the public about their failure to get entrance into our programs. The next thing you will hear is about how they were successful in gaining entrance into other schools. Enjoy the understanding that they were rejected from their first choice. – Dr. Jim Garrow –

    The Lives of the Rich and Famous:

    Over the years we have been asked to accept foreign students into the ranks of those of our students whose parents are the movers and shakers in the Peoples Republic of China. Of recent memory is when a friend of mine asked if this was a possibility for one of her daughters. She was the heiress of an auto parts empire and her children the recipients of private school educations in the best schools possible. Her knowledge of what I did with schools in China was marginal but she had run into one of the parts manufacturers in China who had boasted of the fine quality of international education that his two children (an indicator of his real wealth in a one child policy country) were receiving at a school which he named. This prompted the heiress to search out details of the school and eventually she called them and discovered to her surprise that Jimbillybob was the owner of the elite department of the school – a partner of renown. The long and short of this part of my tale is that her daughter attended our school for one year and boarded with a wealthy family whose daughter also attended the school. She loved her year there before moving on to another year in a swanky school in Italy.

    For those of you who don’t dabble at that level you are unaware that the rich and famous like to have their children educated in a variety of settings around the world that give them an international and what they believe to be, a well rounded education experience.

    The final chapter of this missive is here for those who have grown bored. Michelle Obama is going to tour China, her principle purpose is to find schools for her daughters to attend. Why would this happen you ask? Because at the swank Washington area school they currently attend they heard about international schools from their friends who are off to a variety of locations around the world. Sidwell is a fine school but the really elite group do the tour of international boarding schools. It is sooo in and Michelle is desperate to be “in”.

    So the Obama trailer trash are trying to fit in with the elites of the world and this is the natural next step in the process for the kiddies. And yes the pressure is on to allow the Presidents purported progeny to grace the halls of one of our schools with their presence. Thank goodness that we have a rigorous screening process and the background of the parents is looked into very carefully.

    You say you can’t produce a true birth certificate for your Father, Natasha and Malia Ann? You cannot provide proof that he is your Father? I’m sorry, that’s just not acceptable for entrance into our schools. After all we have to know that only respectable folks will influence the young people in our charge.

    Applications denied.

    We Have Standards:

    As the events unfold on the international stage I was given the almost mythical and unheard of ability to do something that Obama has never dared to do. Yes dear ones, I said no to Michelle. And I lived to tell the tale.

    As luck would have it we were confronted with a request that seemed like a heaven send. One of our partner schools in Chengdu and another one in Beijing were approached about having a visit from the First Lady of the United States. Because of the fact that we are in charge of the International Departments and English Departments of both schools, we declined the honor. I explained to our partners in China that to allow someone with such a degree of dishonor associated with her life previous to her following her husband into the White House would be an embarrassment to myself and the reputations of our school and its students. I explained further that the media in America are cheerleaders for the communist Obama. Words have a way of opening dialogue in such a wonderful way. Communist? Obama is a communist? The explanations flowed…

    Apparently the schools were not aware that both Michelle and Barack were forced to surrender their law licenses to avoid criminal charges. This information was the cause of a minor scandal which the Chinese officials tried to contain. Unfortunately for them a number of parents called me in Canada to ascertain what the truth was. The Presidents of both Parent Councils agreed with our decision and soon the word will flow across China of the truth of the less than peachy keen reputation of the frauds in the White House. God does have a sense of humor.

    I am your humble servant – Dr. Jim Garrow –

  2. One of the big problems is that the “F” in “FCC” stands for “Federal”. The Federal Government has no business controlling the content of our news. One can easily see what a great job they are doing controlling the content of sitcms.

    What would have been really good is if when the investigation was done if every news person said: “Yes, I asked the station to cover the ineligibility of Obama and they said I couldn’t do that”.