This is the kind of information I suspect the FCC was hoping to tease out in their planned "Multi-market Study of Critical Information Needs" which, as I wrote last week at The BRAD BLOG, sparked a right wing firestorm in recent weeks when Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai went public with a Wall Street Journal op-ed accusing his colleagues of "meddling with the news" by simply asking voluntary questions of newsrooms. The study was part of the FCC's statutory requirement to report to Congress every three years, as they have for decades, on identifying "barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses."
The question for reporters from the CIN study that was most disturbing to Pai: "Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?"...
From a purely journalistic point of view, having a government agency intrude on the autonomy of a news organization by asking questions about how they decide what to cover does seem improper. But from the reality of corporate driven news agendas, where truth is often obfuscated for reasons of profit or politics, the question is spot on.
Every news organization does have some kind of bias, and it can be found in the stories they choose (or don't choose) to cover. In response to my earlier piece on this topic, BRAD BLOG commenter "karenfromillinois" asked about a recent Guardian story on the NSA helping "their British counter parts spy on private video chats and capture naked pics of Americans which were then run thru some NSA program....creepy huh?" She noted that she'd only seen MSNBC's Chris Hayes pick up the story briefly, and asked "does a memo go out to ignore something that damaging to the government, or do all reporters just 'know' the msm rules?"