FCC backs away from First Amendment-trashing survey

As public outrage has built over an FCC plan to put monitors (or as Greta Van Susteren calls them, "spies") into newsrooms and ask questions about philosophy, news judgments, and fulfillment of what the government thinks are "critical information needs," the FCC has backed away. In an official statement from FCC Spokesperson Shannon Gilson full of mealy-mouthed self-justification: "By law, the FCC must report to Congress every three years on the barriers that may prevent entrepreneurs and small business from competing in the media marketplace, and pursue policies toeliminate those barriers. To fulfill that obligation in a meaningful way, the FCC's Office of Communications Business Opportunities consulted with academic researchers in 2012 and selected a contractor to design a study which would inform the FCC's report to Congress. Last summer, the proposed study was put out for public comment and one pilot to test the study design in a single marketplace - Columbia, S.C. - was...(Read Full Post)