Shut Down Fox News

I got an interesting email yesterday asking me to sign a petition to do just that.

Dear David Hoffman,

Help us take Fox News off the air—get the FCC to revoke Rupert Murdoch’s broadcast licenses NOW!

The deplorable actions Murdoch has taken to run his News Corp. empire prove we can’t trust him to act in the public interest. Now, a study by Farleigh Dickinson University shows Fox News can’t even claim to inform its audience: its viewers are less informed than those who avoid news outlets altogether!

It’s the Federal Communications Commission’s job to consider the character of a media owner when dealing out broadcast licenses, and to label programs as news only when they actually inform viewers. The Murdoch Mafia has failed on both counts, and we have a chance to take them down for good. Save the airwaves from bigotry and corruption: tell the FCC to enforce the law NOW!

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION: Rupert Murdoch has failed every “character” test available, and the programs under his broadcasting licenses have both been implicated in scandal and have been proven to make audiences less informed, not more. We urge you to revoke Murdoch’s broadcasting licenses immediately, and to take a stand against his corrupt media empire.


— The folks at

Actually, I imagine that viewers of Fox News are a whole lot more informed ab0ut recent events in Benghazi than many others. It would be interesting to look up that study from Farleigh Dickinson University.

I am not sure just who is behind this petition, but I don’t think they have thought the matter through. First, there is no way that the FCC would revoke all of Rupert Murdoch’s broadcasting licenses. Just imagine the political firestorm that would follow such an act. Second, I wonder if it has occurred to these people that if the FCC did have the authority and will to shut down news networks like Fox, they could just as easily shut down CNN or MSNBC. It might be easier to move against them since no one actually watches them. The point here, that many on the Left seem to have trouble grasping is that you can’t just think of what you or your allies will do with power, you must consider what your opponents will do.

I actually think this petition is a good argument for ending the FCC altogether. I am not sure I see the need for a government commission to regulate the content of our communications media. I understand that they have been responsible for allocating transmission frequencies when radio and television were new, and the broadcast spectrum was deemed to be a scarce and public resource. I am not so sure that concept applies in our digital age. It seems to me that the powers that the FCC has to deny broadcast licenses might well be used by the government to silence dissenting opinions. In fact, Richard Nixon seriously considered threatening networks with the non-renewal of their licenses, just as these people want to do with Fox.



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