by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
Just yesterday I recommended on this blog that newsroom editors, TV and radio producers, tar and feather (verbally) FCC monitors embedded into their newsrooms. It looks like that will no longer be necessary, as the FCC has backed off on this enormous government assault on the First Amendment.
This is a great victory for journalism and the First Amendment. (Damn, I was really looking forward to the tarring and the feathering!) Nonetheless, we must be continually vigilant against these kinds of assaults on our constitutional freedoms by big government. Someone in the FCC thought it was a good idea to place embedded spies inside American newsrooms to kind of steer their editorial decisions towards the types of stories they wanted covered, what they called the public’s Critical Information Needs. No one thought for a second that anyone would pay any attention or that there would be any blowback. They thought you were watching the Olympics. There was blowback however, and that’s a good thing.
National Review’s Tim Cavanaugh pats himself on the back in his recent article on this issue, as he was the one to first cover it back in October of 2013. We concede the point; Tim is a great American! Good job. Read his most recent article in the NRO here.
But the real hero of the day is Mr. Ajit Pai, the FCC commissioner who opposed his peers and rocked the boat by writing in opposition to the idea in an op-ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal last week. Mr. Pai is to be complimented on his efforts. It is a rare government official who will stand up for what is right rather than go with the flow. Thank you, Mr. Pai.
But lest we get too comfortable, let us read on into what Cavanaugh writes in his NRO piece. You see, the FCC is not done; they’re just regrouping. They’re still sending surveys to TV and radio journalism outlets, these based on race and ethnicity, with the controversial questions taken out and no threat of government intrusion in the form of spies in the newsroom. Says Cavanaugh:
“… a revised version of the survey could raise new concerns: that it will trade its now-kiboshed news questions for a demographic survey that might justify new race-based media ownership rulemaking.”
Quoting the FCC press release, Cavanaugh writes, “[I]n the course of FCC review and public comment, concerns were raised that some of the questions may not have been appropriate. Chairman [Tom] Wheeler agreed that survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required. Last week, Chairman Wheeler informed lawmakers that that Commission has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters and would be modifying the draft study. Yesterday, the Chairman directed that those questions be removed entirely.”
Yay! That’s awesome. But what is this business about demographics and race-based media ownership rule making? It’s Political Correctness crap run amok! In order to get a new license for a TV or radio station, you’ll have to have female body parts or some sort of a tan. Ask anyone who drives truck in this country and they’ll tell you how PC rules have hampered the way they do business.
Now I’m all for diversity. But I don’t think that that is something we can produce with federal rule making. The best thing the federal government can do for diversity and entrepreneurship is to get the Hell out of the way and stop with the onerous regulations. These big government bureaucratic types will never stop trying to infringe on our rights and assert their control over every aspect of our lives. That is why we must do as Patrick Stewart suggests when the actor played Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. “Vigilence is the price we must continually pay!” he said, in order to preserve the freedom of the Republic. Actually he was talking about the United Federation of Planets, but the ideal is the same. Ok, I’m a total geek for making this reference, but you get my point.
Vigilance and pushback is what got the Ukrainians where they are today. Their daily protests in Kiev have resulted in a truce after over a hundred brave protesters lost their lives at the hands of government forces. The Parliament is calling for the removal of the pro-Russian president and is reverting to an earlier constitution limiting presidential power, just as the protestors asked for. The US government and big government types like Barack H. Obama have to be quaking in their boots watching this story unfold. Read about it on the Fox News website here.
So keep up the pressure patriots and take my advice: invest in pine tar and feathers now, just in case they become as rare as .22 caliber bullets. We can’t win if we don’t fight.