FCC Considers Propping Up Old School Journalism, As Copps Blames The Internet And Bloggers

from the say-what-now? dept

Citizen Media Law alerts us to a rather troubling "state of the media journalism" report issued by FCC commissioner Michael Copps. While the report doesn't really mean anything right now, it's seen as an indicator of where the FCC may go in its rule-making process. And if that's the case, it's quite troubling, though the old school newspaper folks screaming for protection may find it comforting. Basically, it focuses on "the decline of traditional print and broadcast outlets" and seems to blame the combination of "the internet and bloggers" with the deregulation of media ownership.

This makes almost no sense, and is, in fact, contradictory. The rise of "the internet and bloggers" has massively increased the diversity of people involved in reporting and distributing the news. The barriers of entry to being a journalist have been lowered to almost nothing at all, and people have flooded the market. Copps views that as a problem, but apparently doesn't note the total contradiction in then immediately lamenting the decrease in diversity of journalists in traditional media jobs:
"We're not only losing journalists, we may be losing journalism," he said. "Some blame the Internet and bloggers, and that's certainly a part of the story. All that consolidation and mindless deregulation, rather than reviving the news business, condemned us to less real news, less serious political coverage, less diversity of opinion, less minority and female ownership, less investigative journalism and fewer jobs for journalists."
What's really troubling is that he seems to think this is a problem that the FCC needs to fix. This certainly seems to go well beyond the FCC's mandate, and it takes an impressive amount of conceptual blindness not to see that the solution is exactly what he described was a part of the problem.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Space Pirate, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Jeepers...

    Can't we finally disband the FCC? They've strayed soooo far off the reservation of their actual mandate its become like a shadow government hell bent on censoring speach not approved by the various moral 'authorities' lurking around the country.

     

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    Yakko Warner, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Playing games

    So now we're playing Copps and Bloggers?

    Sorry. Is it 5:00 yet?

     

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    Davis Freeberg, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

    They are just upset because once TV moves to the internet, they can't fine anyone anymore.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    Hmm... real news? Let's check some headlines on the site of one of my country's national papers...

    "Peter Andre: Public Marriage was 'a mistake'"

    "Bumpy the Vampire Slayer: Sarah Michelle Gellar shows off her baby belly."

    "Chris Tarrant's (c-list UK celebrity) ex-wife in two-mile police chase after she was 'abrupt and rude' to police officer"

    "Police officers who practice witchcraft to get their own religious holidays"


    If this is what passes as "real" journalism, bring on the blog era.

     

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    Murdock (profile), Jul 16th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Wait.... less of what?

    "less serious political coverage, less diversity of opinion, less minority and female ownership"

    Aren't these the exact things the Internet empowers people with? Diversity, I would venture a guess that the average blogger comes from a much, much different background than your average beat reporter.

     

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    Vincent Clement, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

    How about mindless regulation that supports old school business models?

     

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    CleverName, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

    What ja gonna do

    what ja gonna do when they come for you

    Is that his real name ?

     

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    John Doe, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Here is the real problem...

    With global distribution of news via the internet, the news business is over saturated. It is just that simple. I have an iGoogle page setup for news. I have USA Today, Fox, CNN, NY Times, etc. Each little box on the page shows 5 headliness from the news organization. There is a very good chance that 3 of the 5 are the same news item for nearly every one of the news outlets. So they need to each attack the news from different angles to provide perspectives the others don't or some of them need to close their doors and board up their windows.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 6:24pm

    Copp conveniently ignores the roll the FCC...

    played in media consolidation. It is the FCC's own short-sighted policies that are partially responsible for deteriorating quality of journalism. After all, the FCC facilitated the rise of News Corp, and other mega-media entities out of the diverse pool of individually owned, regionally based newspapers, and thereby, the conversion of news departments into advertising vehicles... devoid of content that might disturb our pretty little heads...

    Now, they want to tax broadband to subsidize their failed strategem in the name of "journalism"? I think they would better serve the interests of journalism, especially the investigative type, by bolstering their support of the enforcement of the 1st, 4th, and 14th amendments to the Constitution, along with network neutrality and competitive broadband access as applied to the Internet and its users, over the interests of the corporate masters upon whom they depend for post-commission employment.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 7:52pm

      Re: Copp conveniently ignores the roll the FCC...

      Exactly, it's the FCC that created this mess by creating laws that prevents good news from getting out. A lot of VERY IMPORTANT news never hardly ever makes it on mainstream media because it would threaten the profit margins of very rich and powerful evil entities (not that there is anything wrong with being rich in and of itself) that collaborate with the news media to censor important news and that collaborate with the government behind the scenes to create laws that benefit no one but themselves (ie: see http://forums.christianity.com/Red_Yeast_Rice_and_the_FDA/m_3777330/mpage_1/tm.htm#1 and see post 134 here http://forums.christianity.com/m_3795161/mpage_6/key_0/tm.htm ). As a result everyone rushed over to the Internet for such news because everything on mainstream news was all censored and filtered and void of important content. Now the FCC wants to step in and ruin the Internet to make it impossible for anyone to spread important news just like the government ruined mainstream media by giving government sanctioned monopolies over who can use the pipelines despite the fact that much of the pipelines were government funded (another important fact that gets censored from mainstream media). We should STAND UP to the FCC and the government and stand up to these stupid corporations that build a business model that revolves around lobbying for laws that benefit no one but themselves. It's bad enough cable television is monopolized and too expensive for nothing but commercials, now they want to ruin the Internet as well.

       

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 7:23pm

    In Related News...

    ... New Zealand's own National Business Review is planning to set up a paywall for part of its content:

    Colman writes the "madness" of existing media models has seen aggregators profit from the supply of free news copy.

    "Worse still the model has spawned a huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated 'facts' and hysterical opinion," he writes.

    "Most of these 'citizen journalists' don’t have access to decision makers and are infamous for their biased and inaccurate reporting on almost any subject under the sun (while invariably criticising professional news coverage whose original material they depend on to base their diatribes)."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

      Re: In Related News...

      "Most of these 'citizen journalists' don’t have access to decision makers and are infamous for their biased and inaccurate reporting on almost any subject under the sun"

      These people are free to come along and correct anything we say, no one is stopping them. Who are they to decide that we are any more bias then them? Who are they to decide that our views are any less accurate than theirs? Instead of complaining they are free to refute those that question them on the blogs or in newspapers or on mainstream media and to educate us and if they can't substantiate their views and the refutation of opposing views to the satisfaction of the public then why should we take them seriously? Who are they to decide what is and what we should believe and what we are allowed to express? This person is indirectly insinuating that we shouldn't have freedom of speech. If his views can't compete in the free marketplace of ideas then, instead of complaining about it and asking the government to censor opposing views, his views should DIE. If his views are valid he can present them and they should compete well in the free marketplace of ideas.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

    "less serious political coverage, less diversity of opinion"

    If anyone says there isn't enough diversity he/she can start his/her OWN blog and be as diverse as he/she wants.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:04pm

    "less serious political coverage, less diversity of opinion, less minority and female ownership"

    The internet has increased diversity because ANYONE from any background with any opinion from any race from a larger diversity ages from any gender can EASILY participate or create their own blogs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:07pm

    Not to mention I go to the Internet for a wider diversity of news because our stupid mainstream media and newspapers don't provide it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:10pm

    "less serious political coverage"

    Who are they to decide what constitutes "serious" political coverage? Techdirt seriously covers the issues, for one thing. They seriously cover a host of other issues that mainstream media likes to censor as well.

     

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    Doug (profile), Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    To comment on this when it is evident

    Would take careful consideration and care.

    Not to step one the toes of at least one or some.

    Freedom of the press....has been demolished.
    That is where Journalism has been flushed down the tube.

     

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    sonicmerlin (profile), Jul 16th, 2009 @ 8:15pm

    Umm...

    I agree with most of what he said, but what does "minority and female ownership" have to do with the quality of reporting? I don't get it.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 4:45am

    I'm glancing through the FCC report or whatever and I find some things interesting.

    First the link is here.

    http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2009/db0514/DOC-290735A1.txt

    It refers to a book here.

    http://freepress.net/files/changing_media.pdf

    I found some interesting quotes that seem draconian.

    "That is not the solution in areas where broadband is available but people do not buy it. It is not a question of demand for media more generally. The same households that lack broadband often have cell phones and cable television — both products that are more expensive than Internet access but lack its importance as a public good. This disparity comes down to value: People have adopted cell phones and cable television because they fi nd them valuable as means of entertainment and social interaction."

    First of all, how is cable television more interactive than the Internet. Secondly, as has been pointed out by Mike, most people hate the business model by cable television and how the mainstream media has censored important information. So why focus on the few and dwindling population of people that have cable to try to force us back to an old model, that most people don't like, that benefits no one but rich and powerful entities. Even the book admits that the old model is being replaced by the new model (ie: the old structure is crumbling and there are some other quotes) and perhaps that's because people DON'T LIKE the old model. So why try to focus on the people that still don't use the Internet just to try to force us to an old model that no one likes and hence people are switching us out of.

    "The revenue stream for online advertising
    simply will not suffi ciently pay for the production of news."

    People can report the news without the help special interest groups that pass laws making it difficult for anyone else to report the news. Anyone can report the news and citizens will investigate and report the news (and have) if something is newsworthy.

    I also found some very dangerous sounding words both in the book and in that URL.

    "We need to act thoughtfully, yes; but we need to
    act�and I mean act while the tide runs in our direction."

    http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2009/db0514/DOC-290735A1.txt

    In other words he is indirectly saying that they need to act to restrict the free marketplace of ideas before too many people start to realize the benefits of a free marketplace of ideas. Once that happens they will be unable to reverse the process because too many people will resist the reversal of that process. The book is plagued with this same kinda language and so is that URL.

    "What about the core values of localism, diversity and competition that Free Press fights so valiantly for?"

    HAH! The free press has not fought for this, they have been censoring a lot of important news for a long time. Just read the book No Debate by George Farah. The free press has long been censoring third party presidential candidates, for instance, despite the fact that polls have substantially shown that people wanted these candidates in debates. It was the Internet that got Obama (for instance) and other candidates that wouldn't normally participate in the elections to participate more in last times election because people circumvented the mainstream media and found out more about other candidates from the Internet. As a result, and in order to compete with the Internet as a platform of communication and broadcasting a larger, more diverse, array of views and to meet the stronger public demands to present other candidates, the news reluctantly allowed other candidates to participate more in the media (which brought out more important issues). Before the Internet was as popular (ie: before blogs were as popular) the mainstream media has been doing A LOT to combat diversity in the news. Heck, now we have a (partially) African American president (and I think that's good though I don't agree with much of what he's doing and his views, but I love the larger diversity and the fact that more people of more races have a much larger chance of becomming president), something that was UNHEARD OF before the Internet because the mainstream media would never allow for such a thing. Not to mention how close Hillary Clinton (a woman) got to becoming president, again something our mainstream media did NOTHING to promote and something that was UNHEARD of before the internet (though, again, I disagree with Hillary on many issues but I'm glad that woman now have more of an opportunity to advance).

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    FOX News anyone

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    FOX News anyone

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    FOX News anyone?

    sorry about that .....

    "pouring out columns of unsubstantiated 'facts' and hysterical opinion,"

    Reminds me of Fox or MSNBC with how polarized they are

     

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    VRP, Jul 20th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

    mindless regulation

    The FCC is only capable of two things in such matters:

    (1) Promise everything, deliver nothing, until it's too late, or
    (2) Mindless regulation -- expediently impose regulations w/o adequate data (Information), favoring only their favorites and w/o much [if any] consideration for either the public nor the best long-term results.

    VRP

     

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