This week we have seen people rise and start to shed the shackles of oppression around the world – shedding both blood and tears in defense of their individual liberties and against the yoke of oppressive governments. It is a sobering thought that the American ideals and the basic tenet of freedom of speech could be in danger from an insidious attack mounted by our own government – but that is exactly what some believe is happening.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a government agency tasked with regulating domestic and international communications in the United States, has been making news lately with a study that they plan to start this spring in South Carolina. The study is called “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” and it seeks to examine “the process by which stories are selected,” as well as “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” It's not a jump to think that at the conclusion of their study, the FCC will have recommendations and action items that stations will need to comply with or place their licenses, which must be renewed every 8 years in jeopardy.
This push to police newsrooms across America, veiled as a diversity and inclusion tactic is just another power grab by an administration that has been accused of using agencies to hinder political enemies, and infringe upon civil liberties.
The IRS targeting political opponents of the president, the NSA spying on Americans, and most recently the proposed DHS license plate tracking service are all reminiscent of an Orwellian narrative, where government surveillance and control are portrayed as nothing more than an attempt to keep people safe under the guise of protection.
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC says that the agency “has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters,” but we should be worried about this Trojan horse that would introduce federal oversight into the world of journalism. Our parents and grandparents lived in a world dominated by 3 TV networks, where coverage and analysis were dictated by a handful of people. Today there are hundreds of television channels, millions of internet sites, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, all of which present an incredible diversity of opinion, and different perspectives on the news. In a digital era where opinions and facts are at the reach of your fingertips and you have an unparalleled ability to become your own curator of information, the government wants to restrict your right to do so. One has to wonder, does this administration have any respect for free speech or does the creep of government know no bounds?