Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: Broadcasting

Subscribe to Broadcasting RSS Feed

Stuart Benjamin: The FCC’s ‘Spectrum Reformer’

Posted in Broadband, Broadcasting, FCC
Amid their other problems, broadcasters now have a new one: the FCC’s recently appointed Scholar in Residence, Stuart Benjamin, a law school professor at Duke University.  According to an FCC press release, Benjamin will work on “spectrum reform,” among other issues.  The problem that broadcasters have is with some articles written by Professor Benjamin, earlier … Continue Reading

Dueling Philosophies on Minority Ownership

Posted in Broadcasting, FCC, Localism, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard, Radio
What happens when you invite the FCC’s two veteran commissioners to speak about the media at a Rainbow PUSH Coalition symposium?  When one of the commissioners is Michael Copps, and the other is Robert McDowell, you get two very different views of where things stand and how they could be improved, as we saw on … Continue Reading

Commissioner Michael Copps and Media Ownership

Posted in Broadcasting, FCC, Journalism, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation
Owing to his earnest and mild-mannered (if intellectually scruffy) ways, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has rarely inspired anger.  No matter how wrong-headed his views – and he’s been wrong about virtually everything for the whole of his time as a Commissioner – he’s been accorded that kind of tolerance that people bestow on those seen … Continue Reading

A Unitary First Amendment – Redux

Posted in Broadcasting, Cable TV, Campaign Finance, FCC, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Legislation, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard, Satellite Communications
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, Professor of Law and Faculty Fellow, Center for Law, Science & Technology, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. “[W]e don’t put our First Amendment rights in the hands of [government] bureaucrats.”  What an extraordinary statement for the Chief Justice of the United States to … Continue Reading

Dan Rather Has an Idea

Posted in Broadcasting, Journalism, Media criticism, Media Regulation, Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership
According to stories in the Aspen Daily News and the Aspen Times, newspapers of record for the nation’s elite snowboarders, Dan Rather gave a speech at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday, asking that President Obama create a national commission to “save journalism.” As one of the papers put it, without a skosh of irony, “Rather … Continue Reading

Leave PBS Stations Alone

Posted in Broadcasting, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Localism, Public Interest Standard
Since 1985, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has had a policy on the books stating that its member stations must offer a “nonsectarian, nonpolitical, noncommercial educational program service.” It might be going a bit far to say that PBS has “adhered” to the policy.  Member stations routinely air presidential debates and weekly shows like “Washington … Continue Reading

Back to Square One

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation
Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions most awaited by First Amendment advocates this term have landed with a thud.  Or maybe a whimper.  But certainly not with a bang. On April 28, the Court upheld the FCC’s power to implement a tougher policy against so-called “fleeting expletives” on live television.  This was the Second Circuit’s … Continue Reading

A Unitary First Amendment

Posted in Broadcasting, Cable TV, Campaign Finance, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Satellite Communications
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, Professor of Law and Faculty Fellow, Center for Law, Science & Technology, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.   In last week’s Supreme Court oral argument of the “Hillary: the Movie” case, Citizens United v. F.E.C., the government attorney apparently perplexed several of the … Continue Reading

Hate Speech and the First Amendment

Posted in Broadcasting, Content Controls, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media Regulation, Radio
“If you bring up the First Amendment, you’re a racist.”  In so many words that’s the message – or threat – to anyone who would dare question the constitutionality of a proposal that the government launch an inquiry into media content.      The threat is leveled by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) in a … Continue Reading

Shadow Debate

Posted in Broadcasting, Cable a la carte, Content Controls, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, First Amendment, Localism, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard
By guest blogger ROBERT CORN-REVERE, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLC, Washington, D.C. During the presidential campaign, and particularly since the election, conservative talk radio and the blogosphere have been abuzz with rumors that the Democratic agenda would include reviving the Fairness Doctrine.  Prominent media activists have labeled such claims as fantasy and asserted they have … Continue Reading

Those “Outlaw” Television Networks?

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, First Amendment, Media Regulation
George Carlin’s death on June 22 came only days before the 30th anniversary of what has become his legacy in Washington policy circles: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Pacifica decision. That ruling centered on Carlin’s comedy bit "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" (commonly known as the “Seven Dirty Words” routine), and guided the … Continue Reading

The (Il)liberal Critics, Part II

Posted in Broadcasting, First Amendment
Unless you hang in the fever swamps of the hard Left, you’re probably not aware that the group calling itself Free Press hosted last weekend the fourth annual National Conference for Media Reform.  Like the name of the host organization,  “media reform” is more a euphemism than a description of the group’s real agenda.  Mostly, … Continue Reading

Cross Ownership: That ’70s Show in the Senate

Posted in Broadcasting, First Amendment, Media competition, Media Consolidation, Media Legislation, Media Regulation, Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership
There they go again. No, not the FCC.  This time it’s the U.S. Senate, still worried after all these years that the same company might own a newspaper and a TV station in the same market.  The Senate recently passed Senate Joint Resolution 28, which cancels a very modest attempt by the FCC to relax … Continue Reading