Friday, October 26, 2018

FCC Rejects Call For CBS 'News Distortion' Hearing

President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that the FCC should do something about so-called fake news. On Thursday, the FCC demonstrated some independence by refusing to go that road with CBS, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The opportunity to assess CBS' "character" came as a result of the merger between CBS Radio and Entercom. The transaction meant a transfer of licenses, which necessitated the FCC's review. Last November, the merger gained approval.

Ed Stolz, the head of Royce International Broadcasting, which owns some radio stations in California, petitioned for reconsideration in July. He previously attempted to throw a monkey wrench in the merger by highlighting something obscene that Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show, and this time, he had two additional reasons why CBS' fitness for holding licenses should be up for review.

First, Stolz pointed to how the FCC had designated the Sinclair-Tribune merger to a hearing in a move that would soon kill that merger.

"This raises questions of fundamental fairness, where the FCC is investigating Sinclair, a right of center media organization, while giving a free pass to CBS Corporation, a well-known leftist media organization," stated the petition.

Second, and with specific nods to Trump tweets on the subject of license review, Stolz pointed to "intentional news distortion," which he submitted was backed by research by the Media Research Center. Specifically, he linked to MRC's studies on how television networks covered Trump's immigration crackdown, its "brazen double-standard on sex scandals" and how anti-gun activists overwhelmed gun rights advocates on television after the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

On Thursday, the FCC rejects the bid to designate for hearing CBS Corporation's basic character qualifications to assign its stations.

"Upon review of the Petition, we conclude the two developments Petitioners cite do not provide new evidence that would justify reversing our findings," states the order.

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