From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
I urge members of the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC) to reject any and all efforts to censor, limit, or restrain free speech wherever it may be communicated, whether by radio, television, print media, internet or any other journalistic outlet, and to refrain from any attempt to regulate the content of such means of communication. And by whatever means such censorship, limitation, restraint or regulation may be sought to be imposed, including without limitation, the antiquated FCC rule inappropriately referred to as the “Fairness” Doctrine and such offshoots of that “doctrine” that have been bandied about as enforcement of “localism,” “diversity in media ownership” and service in or for the “local” or “public interest.” The First Amendment’s admonition that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; …” applies equally to regulations or other acts sought to be imposed for such purposes by executive agencies. Nor is it within the province of the FCC to entertain or promulgate regulations that seek to promote or artificially or otherwise, such as by subsidy exacted from the public through taxes or other means, "prop up" any means of communicating free speech that are failing as a result of public disinterest. It is a travesty that an FCC workship titled "From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?" would be held for the precise purpose of determining means by which the FCC might seek to do just that, i.e., in this instance, enable particular privately-held business enterprises of news or journalistic media to survive in the face of dwindling readership, listenership or viewership by providing tax revenues or other public funding, even as like privately-held business enterprises of the same news or journalistic media may be thriving. To do so amounts purely and simply to a bald-faced promotion of government-favored news or journalistic sources at the public's expense, despite widespread public disdain for those sources. This is largely the manner by which fascist dictatorships (e.g., Venezuela and Iran) maintain their regimes. The U.S. public by and large decries any effort by the FCC to do the same here.