FCC’s Starks: Policymakers Must Be More Inclusive

FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks has weighed in on the current protests in response to the death of George Floyd in policy custody, signaling that increasing media diversity is one of the necessary responses to systemic racial inequality.

Explaining Section 230

Here’s a look at what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is, and the practical implications of the loss of its protections would have for online services. The implications include the potential for even greater censorship by these platforms of what is being posted online — seemingly the opposite of the intent of the Executive Order triggered by the perceived limitations imposed on tweets of the president and on the social media posts of other conservative commentators.

Trump’s Push To Regulate Social Media Faces Uphill Battle At FCC

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COMMENTARY

Trump Echoes Nixon In Targeting Twitter

Preston Padden: “In Nixon’s railing against the liberal bias of the networks, one can almost hear Mr. Trump railing against social-media companies.”

Marketers Bring Antitrust Suit Against Google

Three online advertisers are suing Google for allegedly violating antitrust laws by monopolizing digital advertising markets. “Google leveraged its stranglehold on online search and search advertising to gain an illegal monopoly in brokering display advertising on other companies’ websites,” the marketers allege in a class-action complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

DMA 19: CLEVELAND

WOIO Challenges Cleveland Curfew Orders

WOIO is objecting to the city of Cleveland’s ban on news media activities in specific areas of the city during the city’s now-extended curfew. VP-GM Erik Schrader asked the police to add a media exemption.

STATION ADVISORY

June 2020 Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

June is a busy month with important obligations for many stations. June brings the start of summer and the start of the license renewal cycle for television stations. Also, the FCC will hold its Open Meeting on June 9 and there is one item in particular that will interest TV stations that have adopted or plan to adopt the ATSC 3.0 standard. And there’s more.

Former WBNS Weatherman Sentenced Over Child Pornography

The President Versus The Mods

President Trump’s taking aim at Twitter for fact-checking his tweets is part of a long tradition upheld by aggrieved internet trolls. The stakes are high.

 

NEWS ANALYSIS

Trump’s Social Media Order Could Harm One Person in Particular: Trump

Without certain liability protections, companies like Twitter would have to be more aggressive about policing messages that press the boundaries — like the president’s.

UPDATED, FRIDAY MORNING

Trump Wants FCC To Join Twitter Crackdown

The president today signed an executive order targeting Twitter and other social media. It comprises several directives, including one calling on the FCC to establish rules that would limit how far social media can go in tagging and censoring user content before risking the immunity they now have from libel and other civil actions arising from user content. Above, the president holds up a copy of the New York Post before signing the order.

Netflix Sued By Private Prison Operator Over ‘Messiah’ Depiction

Judge Tosses Virus Lawsuit Against Fox News

A Seattle judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a little-known advocacy organization that hoped to bar Fox News Channel from transmitting its popular primetime opinion programs to its large cable-news audience. The Washington state group known as the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, or WASHLITE, filed a suit in Superior Court of Washington State in April, calling for an injunction that would keep Fox News from “publishing further and false and deceptive content” about the coronavirus pandemic.

STATION ADVISORY

PSAs With Political Candidates Raise Issues

In recent weeks, with so many government officials looking to get messages out about the coronavirus pandemic, questions arise about what to do when political candidates appear on public service-type announcements — either free PSAs provided by the station or paid spots purchased by some governmental entity.  While such announcements can be run by stations, if a legally qualified candidate personally appears in the spot (their recognizable voice in a radio ad or their voice or picture in a TV ad), stations need to note the advertising purchase in their FCC Online Public Inspection File, as these spots constitute a “use” by a candidate, and they can also give rise to equal opportunities by opposing candidates.

Disney, CBS Hit With ‘Criminal Minds’ Suit

Criminal Minds may be off the air now, but the Walt Disney Co., CBS and a Pretorian guard of executives from the long running series are now looking down the barrel of a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

COMMENTARY

The Supreme Court Enters The Radio Age

The grim coronavirus pandemic has brought one welcome change that the Supreme Court should make permanent: Oral arguments, conducted for the moment via teleconference, have been broadcast live, bringing Americans closer than ever to a key organ of their government.

Affils Join Call For SCOTUS To Consider Dereg

“The FCC’s anachronistic ownership rules place local broadcasters at a decided disadvantage against other competitors in the complex, fast-evolving, highly competitive video marketplace,” the Big 4 affiliate groups told the Supreme Court.

FCC Sets Video Description Comment Dates

In April, the FCC proposed to expand the video description requirements to network-affiliated stations in television markets 61 through 100 starting Jan. 1, 2021, followed by an additional 10 TV markets each year for the next four years.  This proposal was just published in the Federal Register, setting a deadline for the filing of comments of June 22, 2020, with reply comments due by July 6.

FCC’s Dems Slam Sinclair Consent Decree

Democratic FCC Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel condemn the $48 million settlement, saying the agency’s Republican majority ignored the FCC’s own rules and bent the facts to assist Sinclair “with sweeping its past digressions under the rug.”

Loughlin, Giannulli Plead Guilty, Await Fate

Under the proposed deals, Lori Loughlin, 55, hopes to spend two months in prison and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, 56, is seeking to serve five months. But U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said Friday at the famous couple’s video hearing that he will decide whether to accept or reject the plea deals after further consideration of the presentencing report.

Senate Panel Advances Trump Pick To Head Voice Of America

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly divided Senate panel voted along party lines Thursday to advance President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Voice of America and other U.S. government-funded international broadcasters that have been the subject of harsh criticism from the White House. After rejecting eight Democratic requests to postpone the move, the Senate Foreign […]

Lori Loughlin To Plead Guilty, Serve 2 Months

Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with their involvement in the college admissions scandel. Loughlin has agreed to serve two months behind bars and Giannulli has agreed to serve five months under the deal that must be approved by the judge. They are scheduled to plead guilty Friday via video conference.

ACA Connects Defends FCC’s Net Neutrality Order

Gray To Supremes: FCC Got Dereg Right

Gray Television has filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court backing the FCC’s appeal of a federal court’s smackdown of its broadcast deregulation decision. Gray told the court it was imperative that it hear the FCC appeal, reverse the Third Circuit, and allow the FCC’s “media modernization” to proceed.

Sinclair Consent Decree Could Be Released Soon

FCC watchers have been itching to get a look at the consent decree between Sinclair and the FCC resolving multiple investigations, but will have to wait a few days more, according to an FCC spokesperson, who said the FCC is waiting for commissioners to finish their statements before releasing it.

DOJ Seeks Appeal In 1st Amend. Case

President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice lawyers are asking a New York federal judge to allow an immediate appeal of her decision that a suit accusing him of repeatedly violating the First Amendment can move forward — and they want to pause the proceedings in her courtroom while that appeal plays out.

NBCU Hit With $2.8B Suit Over News Report

Thanks to a multibillion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed Monday from a direct-to-consumer teeth-straightening company, Cesar Conde won’t be getting much of a honeymoon as the newly installed chief of the newly formed NBCUniversal News Group. “SmileDirectClub gave NBC every opportunity to retract this defamatory report and correct the record voluntarily,” said the action against NBCUniversal Media and reporter Vicky Nguyen that hit the docket in the Tennessee courts from the teledentistry organization over a critical February report from NBC News. “NBC chose not to so,” says the $2.85 billion-seeking suit

Netflix Defends Depiction Of Prosecutor Linda Fairstein In ‘When They See Us’ Lawsuit

FCC: Stations Can Team Up For Broadcast Internet

The FCC is proposing to help promote broadcasting as a new competitive broadband pipe by making it clear that legacy broadcast TV ownership regulations do not apply to broadcast-delivered internet services like over-the-top video and data. That is according to FCC commissioner Brendan Carr, who has been working on a draft declaratory ruling and notice of proposed rulemaking he says the FCC plans to vote on at its June public meeting.

Fox News Seeks Dismissal Of COVID-19-Related Speech Complaint