The Daily Stern afternoon edition: Creeping FCCism
: The FCC decides to regulate the content of satellite programming. By what frigging authority?
Satellite television providers such as DirecTV and the Dish Network will have to follow the same rules for political and children’s advertising as over-the-air broadcasters and cable TV operators under regulations announced yesterday.
The rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission require satellite operators to allow political candidates to buy advertising time on their systems and to sell it to them at the lowest rates they offer to commercial customers. Like cable systems, satellite operators have commercial time on the networks they carry that they can sell.
Michael Perko, an official with the FCC’s media bureau, said the commission acted now because of the increase in satellite service. The FCC reported in January that 23.7 million Americans received television via satellite, 22% of all households that pay for television. Cable, with 70.5 million households, has 75% of the market.
By that rationale, then the FCC should start regulating newspapers and magazines because they’re in a lot of homes, too.
Damnit, let’s get this straight: The FCC is a two-bit licensing agency and it is not charged with (a) protecting our morals or (b) selecting our content. They try to get away with that on broadcast because of the allegedly limited bandwidth on public airwaves (which is bull these days since there are so many ways to broadcast content). Satellite is not broadcast. But that doesn’t stop the creeping FCC. Mark my words: They’ll try to find something involving content to regulat on the Internet next.