Change.org Petition Created To Revoke Fox News’ Broadcasting License

doocy-fox-newsLast week we discussed a petition created at MoveOn.org that requested the removal and prosecution of Speaker John Boehner for violation of the Logan Act. At the time I’m writing this, nearly 45,000 people who apparently don’t understand how government works have signed it. As I’ve stated over and over again, people need to get it through their thick skulls that petitions, especially when it comes to government, are pretty much useless – and a terrible substitute for educating and motivating people to get out to the polls.


Now another petition has taken off, this time from Change.org, which is petitioning the FCC to remove Fox News’ broadcasting license based on allegations of news distortion. Charles Topher over at “If You Only News” gushes over a petition written by someone who obviously doesn’t know how the FCC operates, or how the White House reviews petitions:

“Many will wonder if such a petition could possibly do any good.  The answer is yes.  The White House will review any petition that receives 100,000 signatures, and the FCC falls under the purview of the Executive Branch.” (Source)

First of all, the White House will review any petition on Whitehouse.gov that meets a certain threshold and will issue a response, but not necessarily a specific action such as ordering a license to be revoked, which the FCC doesn’t have the power to do under the circumstances outlined in the petition. Petitions created on websites other than Whitehouse.gov will not be reviewed by the executive branch and the personal information given to Change.org or others can be sold or traded to other entities, including political campaigns. In case you didn’t know, petition sites aren’t just some grassroots advocacy organization, they’re businesses – and Change.org charges to promote a petition. Yes, Change.org is a for-profit corporation that solicits advertising, and many people fail to realize that thanks in part to the fact that the company doesn’t exactly make it transparent that they aren’t a non-profit.

As far as news distortion and allegations of slanted coverage, here’s the FCC’s statement on political broadcasting:

News Distortion. The Commission often receives complaints concerning broadcast journalism, such as allegations that stations have aired inaccurate or one-sided news reports or comments, covered stories inadequately, or overly dramatized the events that they cover. For the reasons noted above, the Commission generally will not intervene in such cases because it would be inconsistent with the First Amendment to replace the journalistic judgment of licensees with our own. However, as public trustees, broadcast licensees may not intentionally distort the news: the FCC has stated that “rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest.” The Commission will investigate a station for news distortion if it receives documented evidence of such rigging or slanting, such as testimony or other documentation, from individuals with direct personal knowledge that a licensee or its management engaged in the intentional falsification of the news. Of particular concern would be evidence of the direction to employees from station management to falsify the news. However, absent such a compelling showing, the Commission will not intervene. (Source)

They clearly state that in order for a station to be investigated for news distortion, there has to be documented evidence of directives to distort or falsify news. If there was an email dump with a bunch of messages from Rupert Murdoch to lie about a news story or to go on a smear campaign against President Obama, then perhaps the FCC or another organization could do something, but as it states on their website, you have to provide evidence of the allegations when you file a complaint.


This applies to hoaxes as well:

Hoaxes. The broadcast by a station of false information concerning a crime or catastrophe violates the FCC’s rules if:

  • the station licensee knew that the information was false,
  • broadcasting the false information directly causes substantial public harm, and
  • it was foreseeable that broadcasting the false information would cause such harm.

In this context, a “crime” is an act or omission that makes the offender subject to criminal punishment by law, and a “catastrophe” is a disaster or an imminent disaster involving violent or sudden events affecting the public. The broadcast must cause direct and actual damage to property or to the health or safety of the general public, or diversion of law enforcement or other public health and safety authorities from their duties, and the public harm must begin immediately. If a station airs a disclaimer before the broadcast that clearly characterizes the program as fiction and the disclaimer is presented in a reasonable manner under the circumstances, the program is presumed not to pose foreseeable public harm. Additional information about the hoax rule can be found on the FCC’s website at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/broadcasting-false- information. (Source)

Here’s the deal – the folks over at Fox know that there are plenty of people out there who want to hear the news delivered with a conservative slant and a healthy dose of outrage. The same thing goes for websites like “If You Only News” and others on the left which specialize in outrage clickbait, instead of thoughtful political analysis. It’s also very, very rare for anyone to get their license revoked and it has only happened a few times in U.S. history – and for very grievous offenses. Fox News isn’t going away as long as there are individuals who want conservative opinion disguised as news, and as long as liberals continue to harp on about how horrible Fox is, conservatives will embrace it simply out of spite.

To summarize: Fox is allowed under the First Amendment to deliver their version of events in any way they see fit, and they know the limits of what they can and cannot get away with. I think that the best way to deal with them is to do like I do and not turn the channel on. As for signing petitions, they might be useful for pressuring a corporation to do something, but they’re useless in matters of government unless they’re through Whitehouse.gov. While the viewers of Fox News may be misinformed and angry, at least they’re motivated to get out and vote instead of thinking that change comes about simply by turning over your personal information to a for-profit corporation via a petition.




Comments

Facebook comments

  • felipe63

    As a cable only entity, I’m pretty sure Faux News doesn’t need a license, it’s not broadcast over the airwaves. That’s why channels like HBO do not fall under FCC regulations for language & nudity.

    Nice thought having Faux pulled, but the FCC doesn’t have regulatory control over them.

  • I-RIGHT-I

    The Nazis were fond of silencing the critics. Stalin was fond of silencing the critics. Mao was exceptionally fond of silencing the critics.

    I’d like to be re-educated in a camp on the coast in a cell with a southern exposure please. Do I take a number or how do we do this?

    • Dianne Tea

      Calling them critics makes it sound like they have some idea of what they are talking about.

      • Dianne Tea

        I do not have enough hands for the facepalm this deserves.

      • Jeff T

        The Nazis were fascists, which falls on the very far right side of the spectrum. You should probably learn more about political ideology before attempting to discuss it.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        You should mind your own business dummy.

      • Jeff T

        Lol, you posted in a PUBLIC comment section, do you not understand how the internet works? Nice job showing your true intelligence though(or in this case, lack thereof).

      • I-RIGHT-I

        That was my way of disinviting you. I don’t follow the rules unless they suit me. I’m sure you grok.

      • Jeff T

        Lol how childish. That’s cute.

      • Dianne Tea

        He’s speshul.

        I’m also pretty conservative, however I do think both sides (especially the extremes) tend to be ridiculous and often stupid.

        Thanks internet stranger for telling me what I believe in!

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Hang in there it will all become clear soon enough but too late. It’s always like that. If you were “pretty” conservative you wouldn’t have fallen for the Bush=Hitler=Right Wing meme.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        No time to waste reeducating old hippies Jeff and it doesn’t matter how old they are. No time.

      • SidSeven

        The Nazis were criminals, much like the current GOP.
        Socialists do not actually start a world war & destroy themselves…that I’ve noticed.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        “that I’ve noticed…”
        It was easy to miss the past 100 years I guess. Estimates range from 40 to 100 million dead at the hands of your philosophy. You can name it any which way you choose but the facts are clear. You are among the greatest murderers mankind has ever known and there will be a reckoning.
        It’ no wonder you didn’t notice.

      • SidSeven

        Um, NO, you are wrong, paranoid freak.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        lol history much?

      • SidSeven

        Asshole much? I’m now murderous? Gee I know about 250 people who would beg to differ, loser.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        If you consider yourself to be a man of the Left then you are a in good company with the bloodiest men who ever walked the earth. Who could make you believe the Left is not responsible for 100 million deaths?
        250 friends? Yikes, bartender much. lol

      • SidSeven

        “Man Of The World”…Robin TROWER.
        Loser.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        There are no “men of the world” in your income bracket.

    • SidSeven

      Imbecile.

  • Fred Bastiat

    “I think that the best way to deal with them is to do like I do and not turn the channel on. ”

    This must be terribly painful for a progressive to simply let individuals chose for themselves what they do and do not like. Don’t worry, with the recent FCC takeover of the internet and camel nose in the tent on regulating content, I believe many of the petitioners will soon get their way and see the state regulating speech to a greater degree.

    • Jeff T

      The FCC didn’t “take over” the internet. You should really stop getting your information from a phony news source. Lying should not be protected by free speech, if you think that it should be then you are part of the problem.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Yeah, they did. You know those taxes nobody wanted? lol I hope you make a decent living because thanks to your “boy” the price of poker is going up across the board. It’s too bad he never made it to that $10/gal gas price he wanted. He sure disrupted the Middle East enough to do it. Thank god for “drill baby drill” huh?

      • Jeff T

        The sad part is that you actually believe what you’re saying and you think you know what you’re talking about lol.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        lol? Got money? If you do then you can laugh. I can’t but of course the Left can. It’s always “I got mine” with you guys.

      • Jeff T

        See my last comment to you.

      • Jeff T

        Also, the majority of the developed world thinks that people like you are lunatics, and they’re not exactly wrong lol.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        I wouldn’t go so far as count yourself in the majority Chong but nobody ever lost a dime underestimating the filthy left.

      • Jeff T

        I think you’re confused. Supply side economics and corporate welfare were implemented and fought for by the right.

        If you’re not a troll and really believe the things you then you are mad at the wrong side and siding wisayth the enemy.

        For the record, I don’t smoke marijuana or do drugs, I’m sure that’s what the Chong reference was. Behind the ad hominem and logical fallacies you rely on in your “argument” is a person who is fed up with the bullshit in this country. Unfortunately, you’ve been duped into believing that the enemy is your friend and that wealthy conservative politicians care about you, when the reality is they care about their corporate “donors”.

        If you can’t back up your point without slinging insults and making false accusations, then you have no point. Act like a grown up.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        I’m grown up. I simply refuse to believe you think I’m a lunatic as you began in your manifold unsolicited insults. Of course it could be you don’t know that the destruction of our free internet was funded by those corporate interests you so gamely put into my corner.

        I’m older, if that means anything but I’m certain you can read as well as I. I read more, that’s all the difference and it’s mostly non-fiction these days. I think that helps in broadening and defining my particular world view.

      • Jeff T

        Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner and AT&T were all against the FCC’s decision. The corporations that wanted net neutrality fought for it because ending net neutrality would give those 4 major telecom composites the power and ability to further monopolize the market and dictate who is allowed to have broadband service and who’s websites could be accessed at broadband speeds. And that’s only part of it. We didn’t lose our free internet, we sustained it.

        Stop watching Fox News and learn more about political ideology before discussing it.

      • Jeff T

        For the record, you slung the first insult by calling me “dummy” and continued to do so. I merely made implications based on how you present yourself.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        I’m sorry I called you a dummy. There, that should square us.

      • SidSeven

        You are so far beyond ignorant we will need a new word to describe your malady.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Since you skipped most of your English classes you’ll never find one. See that’s what you get for being a slacker. I can think of a dozen words to describe you. You might recognize one or two. lol stupid kidz.

      • SidSeven

        I’m guessing I’ve been working longer than you have even been alive loser. Cripes RightWingers are self-evident losers.

      • jerry

        you must be republican fox viewer bill o is not reading non fiction its all fiction like his whole career you watch to much fox and believe the r/w bullshit the republicans are only for the 1% big corporations oil and the war machine they give you scraps and you kiss their ass in thanks the 4 telecom companies should be broken up along with the too big to fail banks like teddy Roosevelt did to the standard oil and railroads break up these monopolies the enemy is the companies who bought congress it should be called the kock party instead of republican they are spending billions to purchace elections so are you pro rich monopolies or are you for unions and the middle class also tax these rich bastards and end this bullshit once and for all

      • I-RIGHT-I

        The problem at the heart of your complaints lies in the hearts of the men and women that run this country and global economy. I’m afraid there are just too many bad people out there. Do the best you can to enjoy the Decline, you’re paying for it or will be depending upon how old you are.

      • SidSeven

        Sarah Palin knew we were ramping up oil production? Big freaking deal, loser. Anyone could see that coming, unless you exist in a coma.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        I’m glad you caught the Palin reference but she has noting to do with this. No more than you do.

      • SidSeven

        I have everything to do with this great country, loser.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        “I have everything to do with this great country, loser.”

        Then demonstrate an understanding of current events outside your left wing bubble and try and act like an American.

      • SidSeven

        Listen rightwinger scumbag, my ancestry goes back to at least 1642, with a guy in the Revolutionary War, & the Civil War, & I’m related to Winston Churchill & President Taft so go suck an egg. GOP has become a political party with no reason to exist, & they know it. They are shedding members like a cat sheds fur in spring. I’ve been studying politics for 50 years & YOU are an example of ignorant. If you are not rich, you are provably an idiot for voting for lobbyists.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        “Listen rightwinger scumbag, my ancestry goes back to at least 1642, with a guy in the Revolutionary War, & the Civil War, & I’m related to Winston Churchill & President Taft so go suck an egg.”
        You’re a young fool and a liar, that’s what you are. If you are 70 years old then you are a doomed man and I don’t like talking to people like you who will soon learn the error of their ways.

      • SidSeven

        I am not in error. I live by a code of conduct that if you had the capacity to understand, would make you weep for your black-heart.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Your code is dishonorable as are you Sid. You’re a bad American.

      • SidSeven

        Drop Dead…

      • Socrates Wilde

        I would have written “statist bubble” so as to include Pro(ag)gressives’ conservative mirror images.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        I think you just did!

      • Socrates Wilde

        I’m not a member of either blue team or red team. Maybe gold team.

        Note: this SidSeven guy is unhinged . . .

      • Fred Bastiat

        My source is the FCC, so I’d say they know what they are doing. FCC has classified the internet as a utility. This is a fact. The internet being a utility allows the FCC wide regulatory powers concerning both operation and content carried by these internet ‘utilities’. The FCC says they will use a ‘light touch’ with these vast new regulatory powers.
        So the ‘take over’ is not really in question, the question is now that the FCC has granted itself vast regulatory powers how badly will they abuse those powers? Problem with progressives is they always think they’ll be at the helm, they’ll be able to use the IRS and FCC to destroy political foes. I’ll take no pleasure after the Great Christian Reform when the Santorum Divine Ethics Committee uses the FCC’s broad powers to attack it’s political foes. You’re naive to want government intervention in the internet.

      • Jeff T

        And what do you think would happen if the rule were in favor of 4 big telecom companies? Honestly? Again, the FCC didn’t “take over” the internet, that’s just how you’re perceiving it.

        You’re naive to think that the 4 biggest telecom corporations in the country have the consumer’s best interest in mind. If there were no intervention, the internet in the United States would become a disaster.

      • Fred Bastiat

        First of all, I think the government shouldn’t regulate them at all. Secondly, government almost always regulates in favor of the largest market players and corporations in general. You ask your question as if the FCC will somehow hurt the 4 big telecom companies, hahaha. Look back twenty years and we’ll see competition stifled and the big 4 helping to write the regulations.

        Business doesn’t frighten me, they aren’t the one’s with gun toting henchmen sent out to enforce their law. If I don’t like a company I take my business elsewhere. If I don’t like my government regulation – too bad for me.

        Your trust that somehow a few Top Men keep the US from disaster is ridiculous. I suppose your idea of disaster is people not doing what you think they should do. Sorry, I don’t have to own other people to get through life.

      • SidSeven

        Go live in another country you tool. Sheesh what a moron. People like you are why we cannot have nice things, like the internet.

      • Fred Bastiat

        The internet has been fantastic without Net Neutrality, funny you should say have nice things ‘like the internet’. Your kind is an interesting breed of statist that you believe all good things come from government, while individuals exist to serve the government.

      • SidSeven

        Net Neutral is what the internet has always been.
        Comcast, Time-Warner etc are people now, go blow them.

      • Fred Bastiat

        Corporations are people because government has created special protectionist policies to socialize risk and privatize profits. Corporations would not exist without the same kind of hubris and protectionism as we’ll see with this FCC takeover. Ultimately the consumer will pay and the government will help protect the largest corporations against competition.

        You’re the one blowing the corporations by supporting government intervention in a market that was working very well for consumers.

      • SidSeven

        BS. The telecoms were operating under the same 4 rules imposed. They wanted to own the internet, that was created & nurtured with taxdollars.
        Codifying it makes them angry? And idiots like YOU defend them?
        Drop dead coma patient.
        Preserving net-neutrality means keeping everything the way it is.

      • Fred Bastiat

        The way it was has been nothing less than a revolution that created wealth, jobs, and better standards of living. If you don’t like tax dollars going to something, then fight against that redistribution, but don’t take over and industry or grant the government the power to regulate content.

        Naive of you to think that only the content of speech you don’t like will be controlled.

        Naive of you to think that centralized control is better than individual choice.

        Naive of you to think that redistribution inherent in net neutrality won’t actually raise prices for consumers, stifle progress, and create more scarcity of access and bandwidth.

        Don’t like corporations getting advantage? Then end government protectionism of them, don’t grant them more.

      • Socrates Wilde

        When did Pro(ag)gressives start caring about how tax money is spent?

      • SidSeven

        STFU you TROLL.
        TOOL.
        Paid Shill.
        I got chunks of guys like you in my stool.
        Loser.
        Anti-social nut job.
        No tax financed anything for you. Go live in a cave.

      • Fred Bastiat

        See above a typical progressive an ad hominem attack driven by a lack of logical arguments, a general disrespect for other people, and a belief they have greater individual rights than other people.

      • SidSeven

        Wrong on all counts. Go blow a telecom corporation.

      • Socrates Wilde

        People like you are why we won’t.

      • Socrates Wilde

        Government interference will insure a regime favorable to the four biggest telecom companies.

      • SidSeven

        You are a complete idiot. Taxdollars created ‘the internet, & then the Gov. gave 120+ billion to the telecoms to build out broadband infrastructure backbone, & we taxpayers paid BACK the gov. thru ‘Line Recovery Fee’ for 25 yrs, & now the bastards wanted to OWN IT. Corporations are people now, I suggest you find the biggest one you can, & blow it.

      • Fred Bastiat

        It’s interesting to talk about what ‘tax dollars’ created as if these same dollars used by the people that earned them would not have also produced useful goods and services. Government taking and spending are not why the internet exists, everything government intervenes in is worse than without government intervention. I’m not a part of your ‘we’, certainly not voluntarily, so you can shove that sidewise.

        Why are corporations ‘people’? Because you say so? No. Because the government says so? Yes. Wow, so the government makes corporations people.

        Ultimately, the difference between you and I is your desire to have violence used against people when you don’t share their ideas.

      • SidSeven

        No doppler radars for YOU. I hope a tornado kills your stupid animal ass.

      • Socrates Wilde

        “Taxdollars created ‘the internet.” Irrelevant. That’s money stolen from the people.

        “[T]he Gov. gave 120+ billion to the telecoms to build out broadband infrastructure backbone’, etc. The government shouldn’t have doing this in the first place. Statists love to creating monopolies and cartels, and their corporate cronies love them for it, because that means they don’t have to compete in a free and open market.

        “[T]he bastards” are in league with your “progressive” politicians as well as the conservative corporatists.

    • “…to simply let individuals chose for themselves what they do and do not like.”
      That’s against the law.

      • Socrates Wilde

        ; )

    • There is the fear of overbearing… and that will not happen as we will not allow this to happen…. so fear not.. projection in the right direction to restructuring and equality freedom shall truly be…..

  • Al Campos

    As a licensed FCC radio station I am subject to the FCC rules and laws. FOX thinks their are above them. Time for reality to set in.

    • Socrates Wilde

      Dismantle the FCC.

  • Socrates Wilde

    Is the implication that CNN, MSNBC, PBS, etc., aren’t “distorting” the news (or in my preferred parlance, “propagandizing”) on behalf of one. the other, or both factions of the neo-puritanical American welfare-warfare-police state? I think not.