Every three years, the Federal Communications Commission must submit a report to Congress on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.
Sounds reasonable, right?
But one of the methods the federal agency will use this year is a "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," in which it will send researchers into newsrooms across the country to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.
This alarmed FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who wrote a recent opinion piece about it in the Wall Street Journal, and it ought to alarm you, too. Big time.
The purpose of the Critical Information Needs study, according to the agency, is to learn information from television and radio broadcasters about "the process by which stories are selected" and how often stations cover "critical information needs," along with "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."