The FCC, like much of the alphabet soup in Washington, is an FDR creation that, as with many others, used the cover of “interstate commerce” to turn a federal government into a central government: Radio stations’ signals often crossed state lines, and so they supposedly fell within the feds’ jurisdiction. In the usual boundlessly expansive way of Washington, that’s somehow evolved into a regulatory authority over how local stations serve local communities. Now it’s evolving again, into micro-regulation of the news.
I was interested to see what the eight “critical information needs” – or CINs, in the regulatory jargon – actually are. You can find them listed in this report, from something called “Social Solutions International” of Silver Spring, Maryland:
“Social Solutions has been tasked with the development of a research design that can be used to identify and understand the critical information needs (CINs) of the American public (with special emphasis on vulnerable/disadvantaged populations).”
The litigious Fake Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann will be heartened to discover that “the environment” has been identified as a Critical Information Need. So the government monitor in your local newsroom will be tracking how the station covers “the environment”, what resources it devotes, the prominence it gives to stories, etc. But what if you’re a news editor and you happen to disagree that “the environment” is one of the eight most Critical Information Needs. What if you happen to think that “runaway public debt” or “the vulnerability of US diplomatic facilities in Libya” is a more Critical Information Need than “the environment”? What government bureaucrat do you go to to see about getting the federally-mandated Critical Information Needs changed? Or does it require a constitutional amendment?