Fox Up Front

Fox News will be moving to the front row of reporters in the White House briefing room. They’ll be taking over the seat vacated by AP who will be taking over the seat the forced retirement of the anti-Semite Helen Thomas emptied.

White House Briefing Room
Press Corps In White House Briefing Room

Many will be tempted to ask if this indicates a thawing of the “relationship” between President Obama and Fox News. Others will choose to see it as President Obama capitulating to Fox News. They would all be wrong since the Obama Regime has little or nothing to do with Fox’s being granted a prime front row seat in the briefing room.

The decision of how the seating would be rearranged in the wake of Helen Thomas’ unlamented departure was solely in the hands of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), an organization represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration on coverage-related issues and which is made up of reporters and journalists, not necessarily White House flunkies.

The WHCA has a nine-member board of directors, elected annually by correspondents, which addresses access to the POTUS;  press coverage arrangements; reporters’ work space arrangements; logistics and costs for press travel to accompany a president while on the road.

WHCA Officers 2010-2011

  • President: David Jackson, USA TODAY
  • Vice President: Caren Bohan, Reuters
  • Secretary: Steve Scully, C-SPAN
  • Treasurer: Doug Mills, New York Times

WHCA Board Members 2010-2011

  • Carol Lee, Politico
  • Michael Scherer, Time Magazine
  • Julie Mason, DC Examiner
  • Don Gonyea, NPR
  • Ed Henry, CNN

It was the decision of those nine members of WHCA’s Board of Directors to move Fox News to the front row, not that of anyone directly associated with the Obama Regime.

The board of the White House Correspondents Association has agreed, by consensus, to move the Associated Press to the front row, center seat in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.

The board further agreed to move Fox News to the front row seat previously occupied by AP, and relocate NPR into the second row seat previously held by Fox, next to Bloomberg News.

It was a very difficult decision. The board received requests from Bloomberg and NPR in addition to Fox for relocation to the front row and felt all three made compelling cases. But the board ultimately was persuaded by Fox’s length of service and commitment to the White House television pool.

Fox News being moved to the front row of the briefing room might be construed as slap in President Obama’s face and loss in his war against unsympathetic press coverage. If it is such, however, it is likely just a delayed punishment for President Obama’s failed attempt last October to ban Fox News from the White House press “pool” entirely, an attempt that somewhat surprisingly the WHCA refused to allow to succeed.

On the other – and I think more likely – hand, it could just be that the WHCA actually has some basic standards for such things and could maintain the respect of their membership if they sat those standards aside to Fox’s detriment – even if they might otherwise have wanted to do so.

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Those 7 Dirty Words

Comedian George CarlinThe seven dirty words are seven words in the English language that were considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for broadcast on the public airwaves – television or radio – in the United States. Comedian George Carlin first listed them in 1972 in his monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”.  The words were avoided in scripted material, and”bleeped out”  in those rare instances in which they were used.

That sort of censorship was true then in 1972, and it remained largely true throughout the intervening years, but it looks like it has now changed, possibly dramatically.

On Tuesday, July 13, 2010 a federal appellate court threw out the FCC’s rules on indecent speech. This is a big win for broadcasters that could lead to a new Supreme Court test of the government’s power to control what is said on television and radio. For now, the court’s ruling will likely end the commission’s campaign to keep the airwaves clean of even spontaneous vulgarisms with the threat of punitively large fines.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A federal appeals court threw out the FCC’s rules on indecent speech Tuesday, in a big win for broadcasters that could lead to a new Supreme Court test of the government’s power to control what is said on television and radio.

A three-judge panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency policies violate the First Amendment and are “unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.”

The decision doesn’t mean broadcast TV and radio shows will now be littered with profanity, because advertisers and viewers would likely complain. But the ruling will likely end, for now, the commission’s campaign to cleanse the airwaves of even spontaneous vulgarisms with the threat of hefty fines.

“I think the notion that broadcasters are going to be dropping f-bombs in prime time is ludicrous,” said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters. “If we wanted to do that we could do that from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” when FCC indecency standards don’t apply.

Ashby Jones and Joe White discuss the ruling by a federal appeals court that struck down the FCC’s indecency policy. The court said the agency’s efforts to punish broadcasters for allowing “fleeting” expletives was “unconstitutionally vague.”

The judges found that the agency’s decision to sanction broadcasters’ airing of one-time or “fleeting” expletives is unconstitutional, and suggested the FCC’s broader indecency enforcement efforts are unconstitutional as well.

Fox along with other broadcasters sued the FCC in 2006 after the agency said the networks had violated indecency rules when airing “un-bleeped” profanities of celebrities during live televised events and levied heavy fines and penalties against them. Since the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York affirmed the broadcasters’ lawsuit President Obama’s FCC will have to take this the US Supreme Court if they wish to continue continue to police the language used in broadcast media as they have been doing.

Read the rest of this entry »

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