The report, known as a Notification of Inquiry (NOI), is often the first step in the FCC’s rule-making process.
A major issue the report details is the possibility of “behavioral rules” for broadcasters, according to the official. Behavioral rules might include guidelines that broadcasts serve the public interest.
According to CNS the report focuses on the decline of traditional broadcast and print media, and then explores possible solutions such as tax breaks for struggling media, public interest guidelines and government programming mandates. Conservative talk radio is not mentioned in the article but an activist FCC in this administration will no doubt have talk radio in their crosshairs. While the politicians have lately steered clear of a blunt instrument like the Fairness Doctrine, there is plenty of support among the Democrats for FCC rule-making based on fairness, diversity and community content. The solutions mentioned all seem to gravitate toward more government intervention and control over the media. The article includes this quote from Mr. Copps:
“Reform is never on auto-pilot, and in spite of all the marvels of twenty-first century technology, there is no GPS system that can deliver us to a new, progressive promised land,” Copps said on May 14 to the liberal group Free Press. [italic added]
In a New York Times Op-Ed in June 2007, Mr. Copps wrote about putting teeth back into the license renewal process, and compelling broadcasters to address local coverage, minority communities, and the public interest, along the same lines as his current FCC report. With Obama appointee Julius Genachowski sworn in as FCC chairman on June 29th we can expect the Copps report findings to continue working their way through the FCC rule-making process.
The progressive promised land lies in dangerous waters for free markets and for fundamental freedoms of expression.