In 2012, the FCC contracted with the left-leaning Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism to study “entry barriers” to the media and see whether or not minority groups had enough access to the media. This year the FCC is launching a wide-ranging study that will require news agencies to inform the government on what stories they cover.
What may follow that is a push for a new “fairness doctrine” as the FCC makes recommendations intended to force the media to air stories which the government wants reported.
The 2012 study was carried out by University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism–a school operated by the same group that employed a pre-President Barack Obama and domestic terrorist William Ayers in Chicago in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The study, as part of the Federal Communication Commission’s 2012 Report to Congress about the barriers to participation in the communications industry (also known as the Section 257 Report), was intended to “identify market entry barriers and whether such barriers impact the public’s critical information needs.” A second goal was to help the FCC make “proposals to eliminate statutory barriers to market entry by those entities, consistent with the public interest, convenience and necessity.” The FCC intended to begin the process of laying down in the regulations definitions of what constitutes “critical information” and what doesn’t.
In 2013, the second leg of that project was announced as a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.”
A study, titled “Research Design for the Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” was released in April. The study was produced by a company called Social Solutions International, Inc.. SSI has been awarded hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in federal contracts.
One of the goals of this new project is to conduct a “media census” on just what is being broadcast in the electronic media and published in magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet.
“Researchers will analyze the content of broadcasts, newspaper articles, and website postings to determine the extent to which eight defined ‘Critical Information Needs’ (CINs) are being covered,” reported Eve Reed.
In a May 24 announcement of the project, Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said that the FCC has a “duty” to find out what news is being broadcast.
The FCC has a duty to make sure that the industries it regulates serve the needs of the American public no matter where they live or what financial resources they have. The research design we announce today is an important next step in understanding what those needs are, how Americans obtain the information critical to their daily lives in a dynamic technological environment, and what barriers exist in our media ecologies to providing and accessing this information.