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JournoList Day Two: Shouldn't the Federal Gov't Do Something About This Fox News Problem?

2:05 PM, Jul 21, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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We are on Day Two of JournoList revelations at The Daily Caller.

JournoList Day Two: Shouldn't the Federal Gov't Do Something About This Fox News Problem?

Yesterday, we found out that liberal bloggers don't like conservatives, that writers employed by The Nation think America has the blood of millions of innocents on its hands, and that both would have liked to convince the media to ignore the rantings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in favor of covering Obama's policy press releases. Spencer Ackerman's call to smear conservatives as racist to distract from the Wright story was notable for its candor and naked partisan motivation, removing the veil of moral authority from liberals' cries of racism.

Today we learn more about mainstream players at national outlets, which is the more interesting part of the JournoList. Among the ideas that raise less objection than they should— wishing in graphic detail to witness the death of Rush Limbaugh and using the federal government to shut down a cable news network one doesn't like.

To his credit, Michael Sherer of Time magazine argues against the idea of the federal government yanking broadcast rights of Fox News, but everyone seems pretty much agreed that more government regulation of media should be used to deal with the Fox problem. At one point, a law professor suggests the FCC could opt not to renew Fox's broadcast license, and a writer for the Guardian favorably references Britain's libel laws, which presume writers guilty until proven innocent.

But don't worry. Once the government starts funding journalism to save journalism, these guys will never lose their committment to fierce independence in favor of subservience to the state.

The Daily Caller:

Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”

And so a debate ensued. Time’s Scherer, who had seemed to express support for increased regulation of Fox, suddenly appeared to have qualms: “Do you really want the political parties/white house picking which media operations are news operations and which are a less respectable hybrid of news and political advocacy?”

But Zasloff stuck to his position. “I think that they are doing that anyway; they leak to whom they want to for political purposes,” he wrote. “If this means that some White House reporters don’t get a press pass for the press secretary’s daily briefing and that this means that they actually have to, you know, do some reporting and analysis instead of repeating press releases, then I’ll take that risk.”

Scherer seemed alarmed. “So we would have press briefings in which only media organizations that are deemed by the briefer to be acceptable are invited to attend?”

John Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, came down on Zasloff’s side, the side of censorship. “Pre-Fox,” he wrote, “I’d say Scherer’s questions made sense as a question of principle. Now it is only tactical.

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