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“WELCOME TO THE OCCUPATION …” STARTING HERE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

“Hang your collar up inside/ Hang your freedom higher,” R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe once sang.

That’s sage advice for members of the media, whose editorial decisions would be “monitored” by so-called “researchers” from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under a new program sponsored by the agency.

Dubbed the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” the program was exposed by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai – who penned a must-read column about it in The Wall Street Journal.

“The agency selected eight categories of ‘critical information’ such as the ‘environment’ and ‘economic opportunities,’ that it believes local newscasters should cover,” Pai wrote. “It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their ‘news philosophy’ and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.

That’s not it, though …

“The FCC also wants to wade into office politics,” Pai continues. “One question for reporters is: ‘Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?’ Follow-up questions ask for specifics about how editorial discretion is exercised, as well as the reasoning behind the decisions.”

What?

Unfriggin-believable.

Oh and guess what … the FCC occupation (errr, experimentation) commences this spring in our hometown of Columbia, S.C.

Wow.

Not surprisingly, FITS founding editor Will Folks (a.k.a. Sic Willie) weighed in on the matter as only he could …

Well, with one caveat …

Yeah … how’s that for an “editorial policy?”

Anyway, given the abject subservience to the left-leaning status quo habitually demonstrated by South Carolina’s bought-and-paid-for mainstream media we are shocked that such an occupation would begin here.

Other than this website, there’s really no resistance to the bipartisan big government goat show in this state.

Irrespective of where it commences, though, such an occupation of media newsrooms is flagrantly unconstitutional.

The First Amendment expressly guarantees freedom of the press – a vital right that cannot be preserved if Big Brother is sitting in the room looking over reporters’ shoulders (to say nothing of dissecting editorial decisions).

We get that government has been stung by scandals involving its surveillance of reporters … but the answer is not kicking in the door to the newsroom.

“The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories,” Pai writes.

Amen to that …