Copps Rips Journalism 'Substance Abuse' At FCC Workshop
April 30, 2010 at 1:00 PM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS repeated his call for the FCC to get involved in "public support for public media," telling today's workshop on public media in the digital era, "Oh, sure, the talking heads of raging cable and gabfest radio will try to put you on the defensive -- you're 'regulators' or 'Maoists' or whatever other labels they can think of to avoid the issue and to enflame the people. My advice: we need to stop playing defense and get on the offense. Worry less about labels and more about substance.
"What we have in this country right now with too much of our media is a bad case of substance abuse. Facts go undug. Investigative journalism is an endangered species. Far fewer reporters walk the beat. So we turn to opinion. Now I love opinion. I have many of my own. Each of us is entitled to our own set of opinions. Each of us is not entitled to our own set of facts. That's why doing something about the news -- real news-- is so important. This place, the FCC, can start with broadcast and figure ways to make sure the public airwaves are providing more than infotainment, more than 'if it bleeds it leads' local news, and more coverage of what diverse people in our thousands of diverse communities are doing and contributing, more coverage of the information we need to make intelligent decisions for our shared future."
Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI opened the session by telling the gathering that the Commission "cannot and should not dictate programming," asserting that "nothing should ever be done to hobble the independence of the press." He urged noncommercial stations to continue to work together to solve the crisis in journalism.