From Ad Week
The Federal Communications Commission is quietly changing course on a controversial study after parts of the methodology were roundly criticized by GOP lawmakers and commissioner Ajit Pai for encroaching into editorial decisions and content at TV stations.
The Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs, which aimed to help the commission figure out how to lower entry barriers for minorities in broadcasting, may now be on hold. At the very least, the controversial sections of the study will be revisited under new chairman Tom Wheeler and incorporated into a new draft.
Regardless of the study’s intent, it’s hard to fathom why the FCC sent its minions into newsrooms of the stations it licenses and ask questions about how stations exercise their First Amendment right.
“The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories,” wrote Pai in a Wall Street Journal op ed earlier this week. As Pai described it, the FCC would be sending in researchers to “grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.”