Fox News Airs Fake Footage of Cliven Bundy Nevada Stand Off

April 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

Besides being quite dismissive of the problem, and American Patriots in general… FOX tosses in some unrelated footage (Ukraine?) without labeling or explaining it. Subliminal?

Check it out @ 2:40 mark

ALSO SEE:

Bundy Ranch – What You’re Not Being Told

RT: BBC News Caught Staging FAKE Chemical Attack In Syria!

March 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

This “Incident” is eerily similar to the The great Iraq War lie. A girl told the world under tears that she saw how Saddam Hussein’s soldiers took babies out of their incubators and let them die on the cold floor.

In Novembre 1990 Bush41 told this lie to the poor soldiers.

In truth she hadn’t been in Kuwait at the time. The girl was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, USA.

 

CLICK HERE! For the original BBC News story on Syria school “Napalm Attack” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPba_…

Also: FLASHBACK –

March 22, 2014 Russia Today News http://MOXNews.com

Obama Critic Sharyl Attkisson, ‘Fast and Furious’ Investigative Reporter, Resigns from CBS

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

Sharyl Attkisson, ‘Fast and Furious’ Investigative Reporter, Resigns from CBS

The White House won’t be shedding any tears.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, known for her critical reporting on the Obama administration, resigned on Monday, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations stemming from her dissatisfaction with the network, sources familiar with her departure told POLITICO.

And the story goes on from there. Politico.com provides a great deal of fodder to make conservatives really mad at the liberal media.

I think that is mostly a diversion.

Yes, CBS News is liberal, but Attkisson had already managed to win the respect and support of her peers. And yes, we heard a lot of noise accusing Attkisson about being “agenda-driven,” but was that really the source of the pressure on her?

Just to remind everyone about the “agenda-driven” nonsense, Attkisson was never questioned when she published stories that hurt the Republicans. There is no evidence at all that she was or is an ideological conservative of some stripe.

But whatever the case, the liberal bias at CBS News or other media outlets should not be our real concern. We already know about liberal bias.

The real point here is not that “the White House won’t be shedding any tears.” The White House had a victory celebration for a job well done.

This was a case of our political masters exerting enough pressure to get a journalist to resign.

Remember, at a time when the NSA is revealed to be doing all sorts of crimes and the Justice Department has hacked emails of a journalist Attkisson’s computer was hacked. Illegal (or “extra-legal” perhaps) things were done to her and there was nothing she could do about it.

And we have no idea how much pressure CBS was under from a regime that we know does not hesitate to illegally harass and intimidate anyone they want to.

Attkisson was isolated and marginalized by Big Government.

You may say I don’t have absolute proof. There’s no Lois Lerner to plead the fifth here. No IRS emails.

Fine, but isn’t that the problem? The First Amendment imagines a government that can be kept from interfering with the press. But when the government has vast and hidden power in regulatory and revenue and law enforcement agencies, the populace will often have no idea of how strings are being pulled.

Did liberals cooperate with the attack on Attkisson only because they are liberals, or also because they are afraid?
Read more at – Political Outcast

RT Anchor Quits Live On Air: “I’m Proud To Be An American, I Believe In The Truth”

March 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

American news anchor Liz Wahl criticized Russia’s Putin just before quitting her job at the state-owned TV network Russia Today (RT) Wednesday, saying she is “proud to be an American” and could no longer “be a part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin.”

RT responded calling Wahl’s move “nothing more than a self-promotional stunt.”

 

Read more:  Ben Swann

Facebook to Makes Changes to its Gun-Themed Pages

March 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

Via National Review

In response to pressure from Moms Demand Action and a handful of allies, Facebook has announced some changes to the way it will treat pages that relate to firearms. The reforms stop a long way short of what the groups had wanted.

Per the Los Angeles Times:

Under intensifying pressure from gun control groups and New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman, Facebook is tightening its policies to make it more difficult for people to “illegally” sell or trade guns on Facebook and Instagram, particularly to minors.

The giant social network will block minors from seeing posts about gun sales and trades, the company said Wednesday.

Facebook said it would limit access to posts about gun sales and trades to people 18 and older. And it said it would require Facebook pages primarily used to promote the private sale of regulated goods and services to include language that reminds them to comply with laws and regulations and limit access to people 18 and older in the case of goods such as alcohol.

Any time Facebook receives a report about a post promoting the private sale of regulated goods such as guns, it will send a message to that user reminding him or her to comply with laws and regulations, Facebook said.  Anyone searching on Instagram for sales of firearms will be shown similar reminders.

Facebook also said it would not allow users to post offers to sell regulated goods “that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law,” the company said.

Moms Demand Action is claiming victory, of course, explaining in a press release that it was “gratified” that Facebook had agreed to “take meaningful steps.” In truth, this is a long, long way from what the group desired, which, according to Venturebeat, was for Facebook to “ban gun-themed fan pages on the site” completely.

 

RT Host Abby Martin Makes Anti War Comments – A S#itstorm Ensues

March 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

FU MSNBC-GE-Comcast and the lying dead horse of propaganda you Rode in on. Abby just proved that RT has more sense and freedom of editorial than you do!

Abby’s Brother Robby Martin will be our guest on THE JACK BLOOD SHOW this Friday 3.7.14

 

Pierre Omidyar Co-funded Ukraine Revolution Groups With US Government, Documents Show

March 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

In case you didn’t hear – Investor Pierre Omidyar is Glenn Greenwald’s new rich uncle! Along with Jeremy Scahill, and Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, et al…. And you thought we were just being overly suspicious?

Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.

Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep forces” on behalf of “Pax Americana”:

“There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.”

These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.

Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.

But that’s not the shocking part.

What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).

Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, in the annals of independent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine.

[Update: Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics. Adam Colligan, with whom Wheeler was debating, commented on Pando that "while Wheeler did raise the issue of external interference in relation to a discussion about a coup, it was not really at all in the manner that you have portrayed." Further "[Pax Americana] appeared after the conversation had shifted from the idea of whether a coup had been staged by the Ukrainian Parliament to a question about the larger powers’ willingness to weaken underlying economic conditions in a state.” Neither Wheeler or Colligan has commented on the main subject of the story: Pierre Omidyar’s co-investment in Ukrainian opposition groups with the US government.]

* * * *

When the revolution came to Ukraine, neo-fascists played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals. Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Department, DC neoconsEU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.

Last December, the Financial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Citizen” NGO campaign “played a big role in getting the protest up and running.”

New Citizen, along with the rest of Rybachuk’s interlocking network of western-backed NGOs and campaigns— “Center UA” (also spelled “Centre UA”), “Chesno,” and “Stop Censorship” to name a few — grew their power by targeting pro-Yanukovych politicians with a well-coordinated anti-corruption campaign that built its strength in Ukraine’s regions, before massing in Kiev last autumn.

The efforts of the NGOs were so successful that the Ukraine government was accused of employing dirty tricks to shut them down. In early February, the groups were the subject of a massive money laundering investigation by the economics division of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry in what many denounced as a politically motivated move.

Fortunately the groups had the strength – which is to say, money – to survive those attacks and continue pushing for regime change in Ukraine. The source of that money?

According to the Kyiv Post, Pierrie Omidyar’s Omidyar Network (part of the Omidyar Group which owns First Look Media and the Intercept) provided 36% of “Center UA”’s $500,000 budget in 2012— nearly $200,000. USAID provided 54% of “Center UA”’s budget for 2012. Other funders included the US government-backed National Endowment for Democracy.

In 2011, Omidyar Network gave $335,000 to “New Citizen,” one of the anti-Yanukovych “projects” managed through the Rybachuk-chaired NGO “Center UA.” At the time, Omidyar Network boasted that its investment in “New Citizen” would help “shape public policy” in Ukraine:

“Using technology and media, New Citizen coordinates the efforts of concerned members of society, reinforcing their ability to shape public policy.

“… With support from Omidyar Network, New Citizen will strengthen its advocacy efforts in order to drive greater transparency and engage citizens on issues of importance to them.”

In March 2012, Rybachuk — the operator behind the 2004 Orange Revolution scenes, the Anatoly Chubais of Ukraine — boasted that he was preparing a new Orange Revolution:

“People are not afraid. We now have 150 NGOs in all the major cities in our ‘clean up Parliament campaign’ to elect and find better parliamentarians….The Orange Revolution was a miracle, a massive peaceful protest that worked. We want to do that again and we think we will.

Detailed financial records reviewed by Pando (and embedded below) also show Omidyar Network covered costs for the expansion of Rybachuk’s anti-Yanukovych campaign, “Chesno” (“Honestly”), into regional cities including Poltava, Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Sumy, and elsewhere, mostly in the Ukrainian-speaking west and center.

* * * *

To understand what it means for Omidyar to fund Oleh Rybachuk, some brief history is necessary. Rybachuk’s background follows a familiar pattern in post-Soviet opportunism: From well-connected KGB intelligence ties, to post-Soviet neoliberal networker.

In the Soviet era, Rybachuk studied in a military languages program half of whose graduates went on to work for the KGB. Rybachuk’s murky overseas posting in India in the late Soviet era further strengthens many suspicions about his Soviet intelligence ties; whatever the case, by Rybachuk’s own account, his close ties to top intelligence figures in the Ukrainian SBU served him well during the Orange Revolution of 2004, when the SBU passed along secret information about vote fraud and assassination plots.

In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rybachuk moved to the newly-formed Ukraine Central Bank, heading the foreign relations department under Central Bank chief and future Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko. In his central bank post, Rybachuk established close friendly ties with western government and financial aid institutions, as well as proto-Omidyar figures like George Soros, who funded many of the NGOs involved in “color revolutions” including small donations to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omidyar backed. (Like Omidyar Network does today, Soros’ charity arms—Open Society and Renaissance Foundation—publicly preached transparency and good government in places like Russia during the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ financial arm speculated on Russian debt and participated in scandal-plagued auctions of state assets.)

In early 2005, Orange Revolution leader Yushchenko became Ukraine’s president, and he appointed Rybachuk deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into the EU, NATO, and other western institutions. Rybachuk also pushed for the mass-privatization of Ukraine’s remaining state holdings.

Over the next several years, Rybachuk was shifted around President Yushchenko’s embattled administration, torn by internal divisions. In 2010, Yushchenko lost the presidency to recently-overthrown Viktor Yanukovych, and a year later, Rybachuk was on Omidyar’s and USAID’s payroll, preparing for the next Orange Revolution. As Rybachuk told the Financial Times two years ago:

“We want to do [the Orange Revolution] again and we think we will.”

Some of Omidyar’s funds were specifically earmarked for covering the costs of setting up Rybachuk’s “clean up parliament” NGOs in Ukraine’s regional centers. Shortly after the Euromaidan demonstrations erupted last November, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry opened up a money laundering investigation into Rybachuk’s NGOs, dragging Omidyar’s name into the high-stakes political struggle.

According to a Kyiv Post article on February 10 titled, “Rybachuk: Democracy-promoting nongovernmental organization faces ‘ridiculous’ investigation”:

“Police are investigating Center UA, a public-sector watchdog funded by Western donors, on suspicion of money laundering, the group said. The group’s leader, Oleh Rybachuk, said it appears that authorities, with the probe, are trying to warn other nongovernmental organizations that seek to promote democracy, transparency, free speech and human rights in Ukraine.

“According to Center UA, the Kyiv economic crimes unit of the Interior Ministry started the investigation on Dec. 11. Recently, however, investigators stepped up their efforts, questioning some 200 witnesses.

“… Center UA received more than $500,000 in 2012, according to its annual report for that year, 54 percent of which came from Pact Inc., a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Nearly 36 percent came from Omidyar Network, a foundation established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife. Other donors include the International Renaissance Foundation, whose key funder is billionaire George Soros, and National Endowment for Democracy, funded largely by the U.S. Congress.”

* * * *

What all this adds up to is a journalistic conflict-of-interest of the worst kind: Omidyar working hand-in-glove with US foreign policy agencies to interfere in foreign governments, co-financing regime change with well-known arms of the American empire — while at the same time hiring a growing team of soi-disant ”independent journalists” which vows to investigate the behavior of the US government at home and overseas, and boasts of its uniquely “adversarial” relationship towards these  government institutions.

As First Look staffer Jeremy Scahill told the Daily Beast

We had a long discussion about this internally; about what our position would be if the White House asked us to not publish something…. With us, because we want to be adversarial, they won’t know what bat phone to call. They know who to call at The Times, they know who to call at The Post. With us, who are they going to call? Pierre? Glenn?

Of the many problems that poses, none is more serious than the fact that Omidyar now has the only two people with exclusive access to the complete Snowden NSA cache, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Somehow, the same billionaire who co-financed the “coup” in Ukraine with USAID, also has exclusive access to the NSA secrets—and very few in the independent media dare voice a skeptical word about it.

In the larger sense, this is a problem of 21st century American inequality, of life in a billionaire-dominated era. It is a problem we all have to contend with—PandoDaily’s 18-plus investors include a gaggle of Silicon Valley billionaires like Marc Andreessen (who serves on the board of eBay, chaired by Pierre Omidyar) and Peter Thiel (whose politics I’ve investigated, and described as repugnant.)

But what is more immediately alarming is what makes Omidyar different. Unlike other billionaires, Omidyar has garnered nothing but uncritical, fawning press coverage, particularly from those he has hired. By acquiring a “dream team” of what remains of independent media — Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Wheeler, my former partner Matt Taibbi — not to mention press “critics” like Jay Rosen — he buys both silence and fawning press.

Both are incredibly useful: Silence, an absence of journalistic curiosity about Omidyar’s activities overseas and at home, has been purchased for the price of whatever his current all-star indie cast currently costs him. As an added bonus, that same investment buys silence from exponentially larger numbers of desperately underpaid independent journalists hoping to someday be on his payroll, and the underfunded media watchdogs that survive on Omidyar Network grants.

And it also buys laughable fluff from the likes of Scahill who also boasted to the Daily Beast of his boss’ close involvement in the day to day running of First Look.

“[Omidyar] strikes me as always sort of political, but I think that the NSA story and the expanding wars put politics for him into a much more prominent place in his existence. This is not a side project that he is doing. Pierre writes more on our internal messaging than anyone else. And he is not micromanaging. This guy has a vision. And his vision is to confront what he sees as an assault on the privacy of Americans.”

Now Wheeler has her answer — that, yes, the revolutionary groups were part-funded by Uncle Sam, but also by her boss — one assumes awkward follow up questions will be asked on that First Look internal messaging system.

Whether Wheeler, Scahill and their colleagues go on to share their concerns publicly will speak volumes about First Look’s much-trumpeted independence, both from Omidyar’s other business interests and from Omidyar’s co-investors in Ukraine: the US government.

Editor’s note:Pando contacted Omidyar Networks for comment prior to publication but had not received a response by press time. We will update this post if they do respond.

* * * *

Chesno document showing total funding from USAID and Omidyar Network to “Centre UA”:

See it and read MORE here: Information Clearing House

FAIL! CNN to cancel Piers Morgan show amid ratings collapse

February 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

British tabloid host acknowledges turning off Americans over guns

WT

CNN has given up on trying to make Piers Morgan the new Larry King after a three-year run and will pull the plug on the Briton’s 9 p.m. talk show, which has been finishing far behind rivals Megyn Kelly on Fox News Channel and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

According to Nielsen ratings from last week, “Piers Morgan Live” was seen nightly by just 270,000 viewers nationwide and only 50,000 people in the key advertising demographic of Americans ages 25 to 54. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Maddow had, respectively, audiences of more than 2 million and 900,000 overall and more than 350,000 and 220,000 in that key 25 to 54 age group.

Mr. Morgan’s much-hyped debut-week audiences were in the 2 million neighborhood.

CNN confirms that ‘Piers Morgan Live’ is ending. The date of the final program is still to be determined,” CNN spokeswoman Allison Gollust told Politico on Sunday evening after Mr. Morgan himself said his show had “run its course.”

In an interview with David Carr of The New York Times, Mr. Morgan acknowledged that his show had been doing poorly in the ratings, in part because he had turned off many American viewers on such matters as gun control, where he handled gun rights supporters with unconcealed contempt.

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Mr. Morgan said for a story posted earlier Sunday. “That’s run its course and [CNN President Jeff Zucker] and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

Conservatives especially took offense at his British-tabloid persona and his overt support for gun control, and they started a petition at the White House’s “We the People” site demanding that the administration “Deport British Citizen Piers Morgan for Attacking 2nd Amendment.”

The petition gathered more than 109,000 signatures and received an official White House response in which press secretary Jay Carney said Second Amendment supporters needed to “Keep the First in Mind Too.”

Mr. Morgan acknowledged this.

“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said.

Reconstructing FAKE revolution photos: Venezuela and beyond!

February 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

Great work here! Go to Dawgs Blog for MORE

Chavistas support maduro.jpg
The polarized politics of Venezuela are again in the news as demonstrations by pro- (see above) and anti-government forces are taking place, with, at this point, four deaths: a government supporter; an opposition demonstrator; a police officer; and one of uncertain provenance. But the foreign press is portraying these as evidence of bloody government repression.Not to go over old ground, at least too much, but this manufactured crisis is a re-run. Anyone remember the massive demo/counter-demo at the Miraflores palace in 2002, the lead-up to a short-lived coup against Hugo Chávez?

[T]here were 19 fatalities that day. Seven of the dead had participated in the pro-Chávez demonstration, seven in the anti-Chávez demonstration, and five were non-partisan bystanders. Also, there were a total of 69 wounded that day. 38 in the pro-Chávez demonstration, 17 in the opposition demonstration, and 14 were reporters or unaffiliated passers-by.

That was all blamed on Chávez at the time, by the opposition and by much of the international press. Supposedly he ordered the military, and unidentified pro-Chávez thugs, to fire into the crowds of opposition demonstrators. As with the current unrest, it seems that the government side had remarkably poor aim.

There is no flabby pretense of “objectivity” on the part of the international media when it comes to Venezuela. That country poses a stark threat to the hegemonic order, characterized these days by tame Latin American states, emerging from US-backed military dictatorships, now gamely accepting neoliberal economic policies like good little boys and girls. Having enough oil wealth to say No to all that, Venezuela created its own counter-hegemonic partnership, ALBA-TCP. And domestically, while all we hear about is toilet-paper shortages and inflation, there has been substantial progress on a number of fronts for years now—a sharp reduction of dire poverty, major advances in education, reduced child mortality, and rapid steps taken towards gender equality, maternal health, and environmental protection.

You won’t read much about that in the mainstream foreign media.

Instead, we’ll hear about opposition grievances of all kinds, and we’ll get photographs, too, circulated on Twitter and sometimes picked up by big news outlets like CNN. Here are some brutal cops, with nice woolly caps and fur collars to guard against the 24°C Caracas weather, I assume.

Fake1.jpg

And visiting police officers from Bulgaria:

Fake2.jpg And a casualty:

Fake3.jpg

 

But the victim here was a pro-Chavez demonstrator: and the picture was taken last year.

Here’s a re-purposed photo actually taken in Argentina:

Fake4.jpg

 

And here’s a photo from Chile:

Fake7.jpg

 

Here’s an unfortunate fellow, shot in April and then again in the exact-same way during the current protests:

Fake8.jpg

 

This one is so iconic! But CNN had to admit that the graphic photo was actually taken in Singapore:

camera vs gun.jpg

 

Here’s one from Greece:

fake12.jpg

 

And here’s an absolutely shameless steal from Egypt: this photo became known world-wide during the Arab Spring:

Fake6.jpg

 

Here’s a heart-wrenching picture of babies in laundry-baskets, with the question, What kind of revolution is this? The photo is from Honduras:

Fake11.jpg

Here’s my personal fave: a religious procession, reincarnated as an anti-government protest:

Fake5.jpg

 

The social media that make this stuff go viral, and even attract mainstream media like CNN, are also the means by which fakers are quickly unmasked. Readers are invited to contribute more links to this international cavalcade of anti-government protest and government brutality in the make-believe land called “Venezuela.”

[MASSIVE h/t to @occbaystreet]
UPDATED: [February 17]

The protests in the magical country of “Venezuela” have spread.

To Brazil:

FakeC.jpg

 

To Catalonia:

FakeD.jpg

 

And to Syria:

FakeE.jpg

 

ADDED: Well, not Syria, it seems. This pic was constructed by a supporter of the opposition, to send up those of us exposing real fakes. In other words, this is a fake fake. Getting a little meta, aren’t we?

Here, have this one instead: a photo of alleged sexual assault by Venezuelan police—grabbed from a porn video!

FakeA1.jpg

Obama FCC to Openly Monitor “News” rooms ….

February 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Media

FCC acting as “Bias Protectors” / Instead we are the BS detectors!

The FCC Wades Into the Newsroom
Why is the agency studying ‘perceived station bias’ and asking about coverage choices?

News organizations often disagree about what Americans need to know. MSNBC, for example, apparently believes that traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., is the crisis of our time. Fox News, on the other hand, chooses to cover the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi more heavily than other networks. The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch.

But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.

Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, where I am a commissioner, does not agree. 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.”

How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of “critical information” such as the “environment” and “economic opportunities,” that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their “news philosophy” and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.

The FCC also wants to wade into office politics. One question for reporters is: “Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?” Follow-up questions ask for specifics about how editorial discretion is exercised, as well as the reasoning behind the decisions.

Participation in the Critical Information Needs study is voluntary—in theory. Unlike the opinion surveys that Americans see on a daily basis and either answer or not, as they wish, the FCC’s queries may be hard for the broadcasters to ignore. They would be out of business without an FCC license, which must be renewed every eight years.

This is not the first time the agency has meddled in news coverage. Before Critical Information Needs, there was the FCC’s now-defunct Fairness Doctrine, which began in 1949 and required equal time for contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues. Though the Fairness Doctrine ostensibly aimed to increase the diversity of thought on the airwaves, many stations simply chose to ignore controversial topics altogether, rather than air unwanted content that might cause listeners to change the channel.

The Fairness Doctrine was controversial and led to lawsuits throughout the 1960s and ’70s that argued it infringed upon the freedom of the press. The FCC finally stopped enforcing the policy in 1987, acknowledging that it did not serve the public interest. In 2011 the agency officially took it off the books. But the demise of the Fairness Doctrine has not deterred proponents of newsroom policing, and the CIN study is a first step down the same dangerous path.

The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.

This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?

Should all stations follow MSNBC’s example and cut away from a discussion with a former congresswoman about the National Security Agency’s collection of phone records to offer live coverage of Justin Bieber‘s bond hearing? As a consumer of news, I have an opinion. But my opinion shouldn’t matter more than anyone else’s merely because I happen to work at the FCC.

 

Here are the questions that will be asked according to the FCC’s documentation (pdf):

Station Owners, Managers or HR
• What is the news philosophy of the station?
• Who is your target audience?
• How do you define critical information that the community needs?
• How do you ensure the community gets this critical information?
• How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?
• What are the demographics of the news management staff (HR)?
• What are the demographics of the on air staff (HR)?
• What are the demographics of the news production staff (HR)?

Corporate, General Managers, News Directors, Editors, etc
• What is the news philosophy of the station?
• Who else in your market provides news?
• Who are your main competitors?
• How much news does your station (stations) air every day?
• Is the news produced in-house or is it provided by an outside source?
• Do you employ news people?
• How many reporters and editors do you employ?
• Do you have any reporters or editors assigned to topic “beats”? If so how many and what are the beats?
• Who decides which stories are covered?
• How much influence do reporters and anchors have in deciding which stories to cover?
• How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?
• How do you define critical information that the community needs?
• How do you ensure the community gets this critical information?

On-Air Staff (Reporters, Anchors)
• What is the news philosophy of the station?
• How much news does your station air every day?
• Who decides which stories are covered?
• How much influence do you have in deciding which stories to cover?
• Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information
for your customers (viewers, listeners, readers) that was rejected by management?
o If so, can you give an example?
o What was the reason given for the decision?
o Why do you disagree?

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