The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in yet another of their attempts to “back door” a reprise of the Fairness Doctrine, enacted a program which they carefully named the, “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.” This would allow the FCC to destroy any that didn’t meet the government’s approval.
It was meant to hunt out “station bias” and to ensure that the desires and interests of special interest minority subcultures were being fully met by television news programing. Such aims were to be accomplished through a combination of interrogating station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and reporters, and by placing government monitors in stations’ news rooms.
The program was scheduled to begin this spring in the “problematic,” Southern market of Columbia, SC., possibly to influence the coverage of 2014 election campaigns.
We Want To Ask You About Your Station Bias
But this has been put “on hold” due to the outrage over it expressed by the American people.
To be clear, media 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.
— FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
This sounds both reasonably good and like it’s another victory for we, the People over government tyranny. But, while this is an important victory for the First Amendment, it’s only a partial victory in one small battle in the war we must wage to keep the government from controlling all the information we are allowed access to.