If you watched any Fox News the last few days, you probably know about their hysterical outrage at the 2014 FCC study. The way they went on about it, one would think that this was a smoking gun proving Obama-run Tyranny. However, in the midst of their obsessive fear mongering, they left out a few facts and contexts. Let’s run through it.
The study, scheduled to begin in the spring, is to be part of a larger report that the FCC must submit to Congress periodically about its efforts to encourage greater ownership diversity among media companies.
WaPo provides some more details of what the study was to entail:
As the survey was originally designed, government researchers would have asked reporters, anchors and news managers at as many as 280 news organizations to describe their outlet’s “news philosophy” and about how they selected stories.
Among the questions the FCC proposed asking journalists: “Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your [viewers, listeners or readers] that was rejected by management?” And: “What was the reason given for the decision?”
Apparently, the thought of having to answer questions like that made Fox News panic. We found no fewer than five discussions filled with hysterical, paranoid reactions - from one perspective only.
In a February 21 discussion on Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said, “(A)s if the IRS and the EPA and the NLRB haven’t done enough damage, the FCC now has to trample on what rights are remaining. This is an outrage disguised as a study.” Nina Easton added, “They are even going to be trained not to show too much alarm or emotion when interviewing the Fox News team.” Host Bret Baier helped light the fuse of outrage by playing incendiary clips before the discussion. In one, a former FCC commissioner was shown “asking,” “So the big question is, what’s the quid pro quo? How much government coercion might there be with all of this? Is the government trying to ultimately dictate speech and dictate how journalists are supposed to do their jobs?”
On February 19, The Kelly File also held a “fair and balanced” discussion with one opinion, only. Megyn Kelly described the study as an “invasive way” to “monitor America’s newsrooms.” “Expert” Jay Sekulow accused the government of “aiming and targeting those they don’t like.” Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich said, “This is about controlling what people say, and this is about intimidating the news.” Kelly deliberately turned up the heat by “asking,” “What kind of crazy talk is that? What kind of crazy talk is this?... It gives you a window …into the way they’re thinking.”
On the February 21 America’s Newsroom, Republican Marsha Blackburn, was unchallenged as she described the study as “all about controlling content,” and said “people should be frightened and fearful of what they are trying to do.”
On The February 20 Fox Business, Lou Dobbs accused the FCC of seeking to “trample the First Amendment.”
And finally, we found On The Record, hosted by Greta Van Susteren, one of Fox News’ supposed liberals. FoxNews.com called her February 21 discussion on the subject: “FCC media study: Failed Obama power grab?” Once again, we saw a panel in which all the guests had the same opinion. Just in case we still didn’t get the message, a banner on the lower third of the screen read: “NEWS POLICE DERAILED."
We News Hounds can’t watch every single Fox News program so it’s quite possible there was a contrasting view somewhere on the network. But it speaks volumes that in five different segments, we couldn’t find one.
And let’s face it. Had the study been approved, Fox News would have gotten the lowest score in the class. The way they acted, they must have been thinking the same thing.