Why is the Obama Administration Putting Government Monitors in Newsrooms? | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

Government Monitors in Newsrooms?

By Matthew Clark1392769366000

The Obama Administration’s Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is poised to place government monitors in newsrooms across the country in an absurdly draconian attempt to intimidate and control the media.

Before you dismiss this assertion as utterly preposterous (we all know how that turned out when the Tea Party complained that it was being targeted by the IRS), this bombshell of an accusation comes from an actual FCC Commissioner.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai reveals a brand new Obama Administration program that he fears could be used in “pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”

As Commissioner Pai explains in the Wall Street Journal:

Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about "the process by which stories are selected" and how often stations cover "critical information needs," along with "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."

In fact, the FCC is now expanding the bounds of regulatory powers to include newspapers, which it has absolutely no authority over, in its new government monitoring program.

The FCC has apparently already selected eight categories of “critical information” “that it believes local newscasters should cover.”

That’s right, the Obama Administration has developed a formula of what it believes the free press should cover, and it is going to send government monitors into newsrooms across America to stand over the shoulders of the press as they make editorial decisions.

This poses a monumental danger to constitutionally protected free speech and freedom of the press.

Every major repressive regime of the modern era has begun with an attempt to control and intimidate the press.

As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently said, "our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

The federal government has absolutely no business determining what stories should and should not be run, what is critical for the American public and what is not, whether it perceives a bias, and whose interests are and are not being served by the free press.

It’s an unconscionable assault on our free society.

Imagine a government monitor telling Fox News it needed to cover stories in the same way as MSNBC or Al Jazeera.  Imagine an Obama Administration official walking in to the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and telling it that the American public would be better served if it is stopped reporting on the IRS scandal or maybe that reporting on ObamaCare “glitches” is driving down enrollment.

It’s hard to imagine anything more brazenly Orwellian than government monitors in newsrooms.

Is it any wonder that the U.S. now ranks 46th in the world for freedom of the press?  Reporters Without Boarders called America’s precipitous drop of 13 places in its recent global rankings “one of the most significant declines” in freedom of the press in the world.

Freedom of the press is proudly extolled in the First Amendment, yet our nation now barely makes the top fifty for media freedom.

We cannot allow the unfathomable encroachment on our free speech and freedom of the press to continue.

We’ve seen, and defeated, this kind of attempt to squelch free speech before in the likes of the Fairness Doctrine and the Grassroots Lobbying Bill (incidentally one of my first projects at the ACLJ).  Each one of these euphemistically named government programs is nothing more than an underhanded attempt to circumvent the Constitution and limit free speech – speech that the government finds inconvenient.  They’re equally unconstitutional, and they each must be defeated.

Join the ACLJ as we take a stand.  Sign the ACLJ’s Petition to Stop the Obama FCC’s Free Speech Monitors.

This article is crossposted on Red State.

Latest in
Free Speech

Angry Atheists Try to Ban Gideon Bibles

By Jay Sekulow1447350056745

The virulently anti-Christian Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is at it once again. What are these atheists so angry about this time? Apparently, Gideon Bibles resting in hotel table drawers are just too much to bear for the self-proclaimed freethinkers, atheists, and agnostics at FFRF.

read more

Why We Need a Special Counsel Now

By Jay Sekulow1445956969389

When I heard the news that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was closing its investigation into former top IRS official Lois Lerner – who’s at the heart of the unlawful targeting scandal of conservative and Tea Party groups – two thoughts came to mind. First, the decision not to bring any criminal...

read more

Obama DOJ Closes Faux Investigation of IRS Targeting Scandal – No Criminal Charges

By Jay Sekulow1445631194865

President Obama’s Justice Department has just announced that it is closing the investigation into the IRS targeting scandal and that Lois Lerner will not face any criminal charges for her actions. What investigation? This faux investigation, conducted by one of President Obama’s top donors , was...

read more

Blatant Moral Injustice: Bergdahl vs. Martland

By Matthew Clark1444752065213

It’s a moral contradiction like no other. Bowe Bergdahl stands accused of deserting his post to cavort with the enemy. Sergeant Charles Martland stands accused of forcefully removing a child rapist from a U.S. military base in order to defend a child. Bergdahl was treated as a hero by the Obama...

read more