(CNSNews.com) - American journalism is in "grave peril," FCC Commissioner Michael Copps says, and to bolster "traditional media," he said the Federal Communications Commission should conduct a "public value test" of every commercial broadcast station at relicensing time.
In a speech at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York on Thursday, Copps also said station relicensing should happen every four years instead of the current eight.
"If a station passes the Public Value Test, it of course keeps the license it has earned to use the people’s airwaves," Copps said. "If not, it goes on probation for a year, renewable for an additional year if it demonstrates measurable progress. If the station fails again, give the license to someone who will use it to serve the public interest."
Ever since Barack Obama became president, prominent conservatives have warned about liberal efforts to squelch conservative and Christian talk-radio.
Although Copps has said the FCC will not reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, his prescription for "testing" commercial broadcast stations (see below) will alarm defenders of free speech and free enterprise.
According to Copps, the FCC's Public Value Test would include seven areas -- and most of the following text is taken verbatim from his speech:
-- Meaningful Commitments to News and Public Affairs Programming. These would be quantifiable and not involve issues of content interference, Copps said. Increasing the human and financial resources going into news would be one way to benchmark progress. Producing more local civic affairs programming would be another. Copps said stations meeting certain benchmarks of progress would qualify for “expedited handling of their license renewals.” He said he hopes the FCC will "put the brakes" on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations.
-- Enhanced Disclosure. Requiring information about what programs a station airs allows viewers to judge whether their local station should be subsidized with free spectrum privileges, Copps said. It opens a window on a station’s performance. Right now the information the FCC requires in a station’s public file is laughable, he said, and the FCC generally does not even look at these files at re-licensing time. The public has a right to easy access to this information so that its input counts at relicensing time. Copps said citizens should be able to see stations’ public files on the Internet, and he called for the completion of "enhanced disclosure" in the next 90 days.
- Political Advertising Disclosure. Copps estimated that nearly $3 billion was spent on media advertising in the recent campaign cycle. We the People have no idea who really paid for this political carpet-bombing, he said. But we the people have a right to know who is bank-rolling these ads beyond some wholly uninformative and vapidly-named group that appears on the bottom of the screen to mask the special interests it really represents. Both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of undemocratic sin here. The FCC worries, legitimately, about the dangers of placing a bottle of Coke or a tube of toothpaste on an entertainment program without disclosing who paid for the product’s placement. Shouldn’t we be even more concerned when unidentified groups with off-the-screen agendas attempt to buy election outcomes? I propose that the FCC quickly determine the extent of its current authority to compel release of what interests are paying for this flood of anonymous political advertising -- and if we lack the tools we need to compel disclosure, let’s go ask for them.
-- Reflecting Diversity. Copps noted that people of color own only about 3.6% of full-power commercial television stations. But he also said diversity encompasses how groups are depicted in the media -- too often stereotyped and caricatured, he said -- and what roles minorities and women have in owning and managing media companies. The FCC’s Diversity Advisory Committee has spent years providing us with specific, targeted recommendations to correct this injustice., Copps said. "How sad it is that most of these recommendations have not been put to a Commission vote. It is time to right this awful wrong."
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Answer by jewjewbee at 8:01 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
Answer by jewjewbee at 8:16 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
Answer by jewjewbee at 8:41 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
Whether employing professional journalists trained at prestigious universities or polemicists whose ignorance, arrogance and malevolence serve partisan agendas, our dominant media are ultimately accountable only to corporate boards whose mission is not life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the whole body of our republic, but the aggrandizement of corporate executives and shareholders; organizations whose self-styled mandate is not holding public and private power accountable so that there is an equilibrium in society, but aggregating their interlocking interests; organizations whose reward comes not from helping fulfill the social compact embodied in the notion of “We, the people,” but from the manufacturing of news and information as profitable consumer commodities rather than the means to empower morally responsible citizens
Answer by jewjewbee at 8:48 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
Answer by jewjewbee at 8:49 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
Answer by itsmesteph11 at 9:21 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
Answer by jewjewbee at 10:50 AM on Mar. 14, 2011
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