How rotten is the moral soul of journalism in America today?
It is so decayed, putrefied and morbidly disordered that there has been less than a whisper of concern expressed by the entire establishment media over the Orwellian plot by the Federal Communications Commission to place “researchers” in U.S. newsrooms to learn how editorial decisions are made.
Not a peep.
Back to reporting on the weather, sports and celebrity news.
Forgive me as a 35-year veteran of American newsrooms if I toss my cookies over this breach of the sanctity of the free press.
The very idea of journalists welcoming government bureaucrats into their newsrooms to spy is so outrageous it leaves me speechless. No so the overwhelming number of reporters, editors, producers and news executives who remain a part of what is rapidly becoming, as Rush Limbaugh caricatures it, “the state-run media.”
In case you missed the development that has me all riled up, it’s just this simple: Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the FCC, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed about the agency’s plan to dispatch researchers into radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.”
Pai warned that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses, would send “researchers” to newsrooms across America to seek their “voluntary” compliance about how news stories are conceived and written. He suggested the newsroom cops might also “wade into office politics” looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views.
Do you get the picture?
Keep in mind, the FCC has never had any regulatory authority or jurisdiction in print journalism. That newspaper publishers and editors would even consider such a diabolical effort by the state to insinuate itself into First Amendment-protected institutions is astonishing to say the least. It suggests an intellectual and moral failing by news people who have cast away their historic and professional commitment to serving as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions in favor of subservience to their trusted politicians.
Because I am literally tongue-tied with rage over this plan, I turn it over to my friends at Investors Business Daily for a restrained analysis: “The origin of the idea is a recrudescence of the Fairness Doctrine, inoperative since 1987 or so, to provide equal time to leftist points of view in broadcasting and other media that otherwise wouldn’t have a willing audience in a free market. It’s an idea so fraught with potential for abuse it ought to have news agencies screaming bloody murder. The very idea of Obama hipsters showing up in newsrooms, asking questions and judging if newspapers (over which they have no jurisdiction), radio and TV are sufficiently diverse is nothing short of thought control.”
Like me, the editors at IBD are shocked by the muted reaction of people who will actually be affected by this invasive plan.
“It’s because of this don’t-rock-the-boat attitude that Reporters Without Borders said the U.S. had ‘one of the most significant declines’ in press freedom in the world last year, dropping 13 places to a wretched 46th in its newly released global ranking,” the editorial stated. “If the FCC has its way, it can drop even further.”
America was the birthplace of press freedom – like so many other liberties.
That those earning their livings in the news media are so blasé about this invasion of their sacred turf is much more surprising than the audacity of Barack Obama’s administration to attempt such a crypto-fascist ploy.
But I guess you never suspect the ones you love.
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