The Gross National Debt

Friday, February 21, 2014

Caution: Contains intense vitroil and profanity.

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Let me make this perfectly clear.

I will react to any attempt from government to dictate how and what I write with extreme prejudice and malice. More in a moment.

This is from a Federal Communications Commission director.

This is one of the guys who sets the federal policy. He, apparently, was blindsided by this decision.

For those people who think the media is controlled by the government, this is nothing more than an official stamp on an unofficial government action. For those who know better, this is a frightening idea. Some will say it's about damned time someone did something.


FULL DISCLOSURE - I have held stories on request of certain people because publishing the story at that time would have caused undue harm and unwarranted interference in some delicate matters. The story was eventually published in every case. I do not publish crime victim names without their permission or they are dead. I also do not print everything I know and am told because some information is off the record and given to me so that I can fully understand everything.
ABOUT THAT PRESS 
 
President Lyndon Johnson penned a report on the media in 1967. He asked the media to be more fair and concentrate more on issues of substance and importance. He bemoaned the fact that no official training is needed for someone to become a journalist and so, universal standards for the job do not exist.

Some 46 years later, the same refrain is being chanted.


In case you wonder, the press in Canada and and Great Britain are beholden to the government. In my lifetime as a professional (and trained) journalist, the media in  both countries has been restrained by government action. The most recent involved the seizure of computers from a media outlet in England. Items were being reported which were an embarrassment to the government and to the US government.

Understand, the United States press is unique in the world. Our freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution and has been repeatedly upheld in court case after court case. Except not.

Case 1
Case 2

Case 3
Case 4

And so on and so on and so on and so on.
 
A HEAVIER HAND

This FCC "CIN" thing might appear to be innocuous. When has government ever ordered an innocuous study? This is even more troubling when you consider the federal government has looked at the free media as an adversary. Some may disagree, but when President Ronald Reagan referred to the White House Press Corps as "sons of bitches" the empirical evidence supports my statement.

Here's a quote direct from "The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry. 

"This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?"

Why indeed?
 

LOOKING DEEPER

Pai gives us a deeper insight to the situation: "The FCC also wants to wade into office politics. One question for reporters is: 'Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?' Follow-up questions ask for specifics about how editorial discretion is exercised, as well as the reasoning behind the decisions."

Why does the FCC need to know this? Short answer - it doesn't. Longer answer - To establish policy over how the media may report on matters of the government. Ostensibly, this could be an effort to make the media even more free by removing some editorial control over reporters. If you believe that, you'll by this watch. Considering the reputation of our government, a far more chilling aspect is to give government some control over what is reported and how.



If government truly wants a more free media, then all it has to do is start talking. Openly. On the record.

The fact is, the current president's record on being open is worse than Bush. What is the president hiding?

With that in mind, the real reason behind this FCC initiative becomes very sinister indeed.

A FINAL REPLY


Should the FCC or any government agency come into my office and attempt to dictate what and how I write news, the first reply will be me telling them to leave and never come back. If they persist, then I will escalate my response right along with theirs.

Yes. If it comes to it, blood will be shed. Whose I do not know. But blood will flow.


Count on it.


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