First John Kerry and then the FTC fretted about journalism and what government should do and now FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is swinging his worry beads. CNSNews.com (I hadn’t heard of it before) says Copps is circulating an internal Notification of Inquiry (a step toward rule-making) about journalism and TV hinting at requirements for stations to provide journalism in the public interest and at possible government support.
Journalism and TV: an oxymoron? Well, not always. But often. Local TV news has sucked for years – that horse is out of the barn, over the horizon, and in the glue factory already. Fluff and fires, that’s most of local news on TV. So what is Copps lamenting?
The local broadcast business is going the way of newspapers, only a bit behind and more slowly and without all the attention of self-obsessed print reporters. So what’s to protect?
Local TV news still has, amazingly, the trust of its audience. And it still makes money. So there is a business there. Too bad there’s just so little journalism there.
So I say that Copps shouldn’t be protecting the incumbents or goading them to make more of the same. If he wants to do anything, he should be encouraging new players to compete with local TV and grab some of their attention and dollars.
Scratch that. I don’t want the FCC to do anything that has anything to do with journalism, news, and speech. It’s a bad idea.
The one thing the FCC could do that would encourage more creation of content online, more audience to use it, and thus a better business model would be to get ubiquitous broadband throughout the country. That is the FCC’s job. So, Commissioner, get on with it, please.