In just the first two hours of the petition’s launch yesterday, the organization claims that the number of signers against the government’s plan to watch newsrooms reached 10,000. Last year, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) made an announcement about a Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CINs).
It explained that it’s goal was to understand how stories were chosen, news station priorities, production of content, populations it reached out to, perceived station bias as well as the percentage of news out toward the content to every part of the “critical information needs” in a region, according to what Fox News reported.
However, chief counsel of the ACLJ Jay Sekulow is highly concerned that it could be utilized as a tool of intimidation for specific news agencies to cover issues that state and federal officials feel are vitally important.
“This is an extremely troubling and dangerous development that represents the latest in an ongoing assault on the Constitution by the Obama Administration,” Sekulow said in a statement, “We have seen a corrupt IRS unleashed on conservatives. We have seen an imperial president bypass Congress and change the law with executive orders.”
Presently, the FCC has jurisdiction over the broadcast sector and does not have power over cable news or print. Local stations, networks, and the majority of radio stations would be subject to the monitoring project the federal agency wishes to carry out in the future.
“Now we see the heavy hand of the Obama administration poised to interfere with the First Amendment rights of journalists,” Sekulow said in an article on theblaze.com, “It’s clear that the Obama administration is only interested in utilizing intimidation tactics – at the expense of Americans and the Constitution. The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”
During press time, it was noted that an FCC spokesperson did not make a comment in regards to the plan. Various objectives are outlined for the research initiative. In a statement released on May 28, 2013 the goals are “collect data to inform: the access (or potential barriers) to CINs as identified by the FCC; the media that makes up media ecologies (i.e., what media is actually included in that ecology; ownership of that market; what specific type of content dominates those media ecologies; what is the flow of information within the ecology, etc); the use of and interaction between media that makes media ecologies (i.e., how do different layers of the ecology interact to provide for CINs; how do individuals of diverse neighborhoods/communities differ in terms of access to CINs); validate data collection tools/templates and protocols; demonstrate high internal validity and reliability of measured constructs.”
The Obama administration has come under harsh critique for how it has treated the press in the past. Reporters Without Borders’ group put the United States in the 46th place in the world for press freedom. It noted that government investigations into a variety of news agencies in national security incidents are what put the country in that ranking.
“The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” the international journalists report states.
“US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak,” the report noted, “It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a ‘shield law’ to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level.”
Hooray for our glorious state-run media!
Behold the Obama administration’s creepy plan to put FCC monitors in America’s newsrooms
By Robert Laurie (Bio and Archives) Thursday, February 20, 2014
Hey, you know what’s a pain in the rump for the ruling class? That pesky “freedom of the press,” that’s what. Reporters can investigate whatever they want, and then they can just go ahead and put those reports on the air. That means that someone might discover the horrible things politicians are doing, and they might even decide to run the story.
If only there was a way for Obama’s FCC to get the First Amendment under control.
An FCC commissioner is warning people about an agency study that would bring government monitors into newsrooms and inspect issues like the amount of time spent on the “critical information needs” [CIN’s] of Americans in news content.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal bringing people’s attention to this study, saying “the government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.” And while participation is technically voluntary, ignoring them would not be a wise decision for any news outlet that wants an FCC license.
The FCC has evidently cooked up eight “CIN’s” that it feels outlets should be covering. Their study would demand that news departments answer a series of questions designed to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CIN’s and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”