Of course it is absurd – and just plain wrong – that the government thinks it can ‘invade’ a newsroom and ask probing questions like the Gestapo.  Think: FREEDOM OF THE PRESS and the Constitution.  (And make sure you read the bottom red text!)

I can’t figure out who at the FCC was dumb enough to come up with the idea — and how many at the FCC knew about it and just looked the other way.   What are the odds that you can find more than one person in one building with the same really stupid – wrong – idea?  We should find out who in the government even knew about this proposed study (and did not speak up) and perhaps off load those persons to another government agency where they can do no harm.     Lots of people of the FCC know about this and didn’t speak up.

So why the headline on this posting? that the FCC newsroom ‘spying’ is worse than I had thought yesterday and even the day before when we first reported it? Because I have now obtained the study –  Research Design for the Multi Market Study of Criminal Information Needs: Final Research Design and read it.

Here are my thoughts:

1/  This report is ridiculous.  And of course, we paid for it.  The study report is called the Final Research Design.  My copy is 78 pages long…and let me repeat, we paid for this.  I would like to know how much we paid for people to compile these 78 pages.

2/ If you read the 78 pages, you will read the most incomprehensible dribble.  It is intended to explain what their plan is for the study.  Frankly, I don’t get it.

3/  Within the 78 pages, I read what I suspect is MORE cost.  “Data will be acquired from DateLine Media, a media monitoring corporation based in Honolulu, Hawaii.”  I don’t know what the cost would be but I assume DateLine Media is not a non profit or a church.  It will cost money…more money…and that is just one sample of what I foresee as the beginning of this taxpayer ‘money pit’ project.

4/ The company contracted by the FCC is Social Solutions International.  You can go online and see the company’s background and its officers’ backgrounds  — curious at best for this project (and of course this project – in my opinion – is a waste of taxpayer money.)

5/  Social Solutions ‘held a subject matter expert conference on September 13-14, 2012.”  Two thoughts: first, how much did that conference cost?  (and who paid?) and second, it was held in 2012 which means the US Government / FCC has been deeply involved in this project for a significant amount of time.  2012? How early in 2012?  At page 22 the report says they planned to start collecting data by April 2013 (not 2014) — so has this begun?

6/  The study specifically calls for studying newspaper content.  The FCC does NOT have jurisdiction over newspapers.

7/ Here are some of the questions written in the study to be asked of on air reporters / anchors (and my answers if asked):

a.  What is the news philosophy of the station?

MY ANSWER: None of your business.  Read the Constitution.

b. How much news does your station air every day?

MY ANSWER:  Watch and figure it out yourself.  You are getting paid a fortune for this study so I am not doing your work for you.

c. Who decides which stories are covered.

MY ANSWER: None of your business  Read the Constitution.

d.  How much influence to you have deciding which stories to cover?

MY ANSWER: None of your business  Read the Constitution.

e.  Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers (viewers, listeners, readers) that was rejected by management? (and asks for examples.)

MY ANSWER: None of your business  Read the Constitution.

OK…you get the point.  You know how I feel about this FCC study….and the spending of taxpayer money on this.

And here is the clincher — do you know what happens to the data from the study?  “All study data will be collected and then housed at [Social Solutions International] office. Data will be kept in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office.  Data will be stored in this office for seven years after the completion of the study and destroyed in accordance with the America Pyschological Association standards.” page 21.

So let me get this straight — we taxpayers pay for this unconstitutional study (freedom of the press!), and then the data underlying THEIR CONCLUSIONS is hidden from us?  We can’t read it to fact check their ridiculous study? We are supposed to accept THEIR conclusion based on data that they are going to hide from us.  That is really off the charts bad.  Where is that Obama Administration promised transparency?  And there is more….the data is being kept according to American Pyschological Association standards? like we are a bunch of rats in a laboratory in the days of German Dr. Mengele?