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Opening Arguments

Now, it's the FCC thugs' turn

The FCC now says it will "amend" its plan to study how media organizations gather news:

Faced with an outcry, the Federal Communications Commission’s chairman said Thursday that he would amend the effort — intended to assess whether the news media were meeting the public’s “critical information needs” — by removing questions that critics had deemed invasive.

The FCC last year proposed an analysis of news content from newspapers, Web sites and radio and TV stations. The agency said it wanted to assess the coverage of eight “critical information” subjects, including public health, politics, transportation, the environment and “economic opportunities.”

As the survey was originally designed, government researchers would have asked reporters, anchors and news managers at as many as 280 news organizations to describe their outlet’s “news philosophy” and about how they selected stories.

I've avoiding writing about this because it seems just too stupid to take seriously. But the more I think about it, the more chilling it becomes. It's not just a specific question here or there that might be invasive -- it's the very idea, and that's the point, isn't it? These government knuckleheads (see, told you what a good word it is) don't have a clue about how newsrooms operate and have no business dictating what "critical information" should be covered and what "news philosophy" might be driving journalists. This is an attempt to intimidate the press, plain and simple. It's tempting to call it "Fairness Doctrine 2.0," but it goes much further than that. They're even thinking about foisting this nonsense off on newspapers, too? Since when does the FCC have jurisdiction over the print press?

Come on, all you Obama apologists in the mainstream media who have been willing to look the other way no matter how thuggish the administration gets. They've coming after you now, friends, and don't think you can hide behind that silly old First Amendment.

And just look at the questions on the survey to get a sense of how far into "this would be funny if it weren't so scary" territory we are here. "Hw do you define critical information that the community needs?" "What are the demographics of the news management staff?" "How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?" This is standard progressive mush, and it's hard to figure out exactly what it would tell the government and what it could possibly do with the information.