Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Republican Lawmakers Want to 'Eradicate' the FCC's Planned Newsroom Study Republican Lawmakers Want to 'Eradicate' the FCC's Planned Newsroom St...

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Republican Lawmakers Want to 'Eradicate' the FCC's Planned Newsroom Study

The inquiry is already getting pared back, but top Republicans are working on legislation to eliminate it entirely.


House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee plan to introduce a bill to "eradicate" a controversial Federal Communications Commission study that was going to question journalists and media owners. 

A firestorm erupted last week over a FCC study—formally introduced last summer—that intended to ask print and broadcast newsrooms questions about editorial judgment and news philosophy as part of a broad analysis on "critical information needs" and barriers to entry in the media.


House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden announced Tuesday that the committee will hold a hearing on the "chilling" study in the near future, as well as introduce legislation to stop the study from taking place altogether.

"The very existence of this [critical information needs] study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place," the Oregon congressman wrote in a statement.

Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler tried to assuage Republicans' concerns that the commission wants to police newsrooms, and eventually removed the portion of the study that involved media owners and journalists. But he said the FCC will proceed with a second part of the study—designed by the research firm Social Solutions International—that polls a sampling of residents about how they consume the news in Columbia, S.C., the pilot location for the study.


But Walden says this does not go far enough and wants the FCC to discontinue the whole study.

Walden and other Republicans say the study violates the First Amendment, and they have suggested it is an underhand attempt to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, a controversial policy that required radio and TV news to present opposing views of the news stories they covered from 1949 to 1987.

The debate was sparked by an op-ed criticizing the study by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 10, although Republican lawmakers raised concerns with Wheeler in December.

The FCC is required by law to conduct such research studies as part of effort to encourage greater diversity.


Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Love it - first thing I read in the morning."

Amy, VP of Communications

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

Sign up form for the newsletter
comments powered by Disqus