DECEMBER 03, 2010
Keeping with President Obama’s big government ambitions, the Federal Communications Commission has announced a plan to control the internet and a proposal to sustain “traditional media” by requiring broadcasters to reflect ethnic diversity and a commitment to public affairs programming to keep their license.
Both agendas were revealed this week by two separate FCC commissioners, Michael Copps and Julius Genachowski, who was crowned agency chairman by Obama. The FCC’s five commissioners are political appointees assigned by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for five-year terms. Their job is to regulate interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
Now the agency wants to control cyberspace with yet-to-be-disclosed rules that will “preserve the freedom and openness of the internet.” Genachowski announced that a draft of the secret rules is complete, but the proposed regulations are being kept from the public until commissioners vote on them later this month. In fact, a newspaper report reveals that Genachowski’s draft document is stamped “non-public, for internal use only” to ensure nobody outside the agency sees it until the rules are approved.
Also this week, Copps threatened free speech and enterprise with an outrageous proposal that’s clearly aimed at conservative stations viewed as a threat to the administration’s liberal agenda. To “help media help democracy” the FCC should conduct a “public value test” of every commercial broadcaster before renewing their license and the process should occur every four years instead of the current eight, according to the plan.
If a station doesn’t pass the public value test it goes on probation for a year and eventually loses its broadcasting rights if it doesn’t demonstrate “measurable progress” to serve the public interest. The so-called public value test features seven parts, including how well stations reflect ethnic diversity, a meaningful commitment to news and public affairs programming and political advertising disclosure.
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