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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Misguided study highlights ‘fourth branch’ overreach -- By Christopher Harper, The Washington Times

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says the organization has "no intention"  of interfering in the editorial decision-making of broadcast stations and newspapers. (Associated Press)The Federal Communications Commission — part of what some consider the "fourth branch" of government — reared its head recently with an ill-conceived and ill-advised plan to question journalists about how they report the news.

Fortunately, that plan, which faced an outcry from news organizations and even one of the FCC commissioners, was shut down Friday.

But the audacity of the FCC even to contemplate such a study underscores the power of that fourth branch, which includes a multitude of independent agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Not surprisingly, the FCC plans to exercise its expansive power over the Internet.

The commission began in 1934 with essentially one goal: to make certain radio signals did not interfere with one another. Now the agency's nearly 2,000 employees, including the five commissioners, involve themselves in regulating broadcast radio and television, cable television, satellite transmissions, wireless communication and some aspects of the Internet.

Moreover, the independent agency — like others in the federal government — has the power to promulgate rules and regulations as a legislative entity, enforce those standards as a judicial monitor and act as administrator of licenses for broadcast outlets in an executive capacity. Simply put, Congress has created these independent agencies to wield executive, legislative and judicial powers. (See FCC.gov.)

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