Following its rejection by Congress and U.S. Courts, based on its clear potential to infringe upon the U.S. Constitution’s protection of free speech, the push for Internet regulation under the guise of “Net Neutrality” is now being pursued by the Obama administration using the Federal Communication Commission (FCC)—in an overt effort to bypass the standard law-making channel.
Serving Greater Good
Offering justification for this tactic, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps declared that American journalism is in “grave peril.” And that to bolster “traditional media,” the FCC should be empowered to conduct a “public value test” for every commercial broadcast station at the time of relicensing—a time that would be better if changed from its current eight-year interval to a four-year interval. “If a station passes the Public Value Test, it of course keeps the license it has earned to use the people’s airwaves,” Copps said. “If not, it goes on probation for a year, renewable for an additional year if it demonstrates measurable progress. If the station fails again, give the license to someone who will use it to serve the public interest.” The Public Value Test is to include the following elements:
1) Meaningful Commitments to News and Public Affairs Programming
2) Enhanced Disclosure
3) Political Advertising Disclosure
4) Reflecting Diversity
5) Community Discovery
6) Local and Independent Programming
7) Public Safety
Serving Government Good
In the tradition of the “Fairness Doctrine” to “balance” radio content, these goals all sound highly beneficial, and indeed they are, at least when it comes to controlling dissemination of information content for those perceived to be in the opposition, with regard to holding power and/or furthering an agenda. And in this case both aspirations apply, and in fact the two are one. For the aspiration is to transform America, and the world at large, into a socialist utopia that necessarily requires overriding control over every aspect of societal function. And thus the opposition targeted in the new policy proposal is the “new media”—especially the new-generation conservative and libertarian talk show hosts and Internet bloggers—that have risen against the socialist/statist establishment—all increasingly driven by the sentiments of the greater American populous. This explains the nostalgic reference to the “traditional media” above that share the Obama administration’s socialist/statist motivation—comprising the vast majority of network television stations, newspapers, magazines, and most of the Hollywood establishment.