The FCC's controversial plan to study media bias by monitoring newsrooms was Washington's way of reviving the Fairness Doctrine, John Gizzi, chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax, says.
"This is just a typical tactic of big government that I have seen before," Gizzi told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"They could not resuscitate the Fairness Doctrine, which allowed government to require radio stations to provide equal time and diversity in opinions when editorials are made."
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A spokeswoman for the Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that the pilot study, called the "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," would be dropped for now.
She said it would be reconfigured so that reporters and media managers would not have to answer any questions or participate in the study, which originally would have sought information about the inner workings of various newsrooms.
Many warned the study would be an infringement of the First Amendment right to freedom of the press, and some media outlets warned they would not allow the FCC into their newsrooms.
The Fairness Doctrine was an FCC rule requiring broadcasters to provide both sides of controversial issues of public importance. The doctrine was officially dropped in 2011.
"Democrats have tried to revive this; Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi was a big advocate," Gizzi said.
"It went nowhere and it would have quite frankly killed conservative talk radio because they dominate the airwaves. The left has television, the right has radio. They can't do it, so they come up with yet another [plan]."
Forbes magazine columnist Rick Ungar told Steve Malzberg:
"[FCC officials] have no place in this. It's not up to the government or the FCC to choose the stories that are being covered."
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