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Kathy Shaidle

FCC report details possible "behavior rules" for broadcasters

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Posted on July 13 2009 9:30 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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A secret internal Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report by commissioner Michael Copps may offer clues regarding coming changes to what Americans will be allowed to hear on the airwaves.

An anonymous FCC official told CNS News that the report examines “the decline of traditional broadcast journalism”, and the rise of the (largely unregulated) internet.

The report examines the possibility of instituting “behavioral rules” for broadcasters, which might include guidelines requiring broadcasts to “serve the public interest” — with “public interest” left undefined.

In a May 14 address to  Free Press (a tax-exempt “media reform” organization whose chief objective is to move the media ever-farther to the political left), Copps said:

“Reform is never on auto-pilot, and in spite of all the marvels of twenty-first century technology, there is no GPS system that can deliver us to a new, progressive promised land.”

He added:

“It is time to say ‘Good-bye’ to post-card renewal every eight years and ‘Hello’ to license renewals every three years with some public interest teeth.”

Copps seems to want broadcasters to answer to government bureaucracies about their programming decisions, and face losing their licenses if they don’t measure up.

As reported last week at NewsRealBlog, the FCC’s ties to Free Press include new Chairman Julius Genachowskis’ appointment of former Free Press employee Jen Lewis to serve as his press liason and spokesperson.

Back in February, Michael Copps’ FCC staff held meetings with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman’s advisors, to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the “Fairness Doctrine” without actually calling it such.

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