Or, at least, control it to a much greater degree than they do already. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said recently, “I think American media has a bad case of substance abuse right now….we are going to be pretty close to denying our citizens the essential news and information that they need to have in order to make intelligent decisions about the future direction of their country.”
To that end, he wants to foist all manner of new mandates and regulations on the television and radio industries:
Copps wants to mandate that radio and TV stations do the following: prove they have made a meaningful commitment to public affairs and news programming, prove they are committed to diversity programming (for instance, by showing how they direct their programming to women and minorities), report more to the government about which shows they plan to air, require greater disclosure about who funds political ads and devote 25 percent of their prime-time coverage to local news.
Not only would compliance with these new regulations and mandates be fairly onerous for broadcast media (which isn’t exactly raking in revenues these days), the regulations and mandates themselves represent an inappropriate level of control by government.
What business is of the government’s what programming radio and television stations air? And if Americans truly wanted 25% of prime-time coverage to be local news the broadcasters themselves would already be doing that. As for minority broadcasting, if there were a demand for it in the degree that the FCC wants to mandate it then it would already exist.
Because that’s how media works. You give the people what they want. You air that which draws listeners/viewers.
The largest impact these policies would have, if implemented, would be to drive viewers/listeners to mediums that aren’t so heavily regulated by the government. Namely the internet, satellite radio and satellite/cable television.
The FCC should stick to fielding complaints about Bristol Palin on Dancing With the Stars and leave radio/television programming up to the private sector and the free market.