Poll: 71% slam FCC's plan to spy on newsrooms; even Democrats, 58%, agree

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Polls,Media,Television,Spying,FCC

A huge majority of voters, 71 percent, believe it is not the government’s role to monitor news content and coverage, the latest slam on the Obama administration’s expanding effort to sneak a look at how the nation communicates.

Rasmussen Reports revealed Tuesday that 76 percent also fear that the FCC's analysis of news content will lead to “government efforts to control the news media or promote a political agenda.”

After catching heat last week, the Federal Communications Commission backed away from a plan to put government agents in radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms to see how editorial decisions are made.

The FCC's "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” presented last year, included questions about how the media covered stories. The media and public advocates objected with the report this month.

The 71 percent opposition to the FCC's plan broke down this way politically: 85 percent of Republicans oppose, 58 percent of Democrats oppose.

The poll also looked at the FCC’s drive to force media to offer equal time to conservative and liberal political commentary. Rasmussen found that half, or 49 percent, disagree with government-mandated equal commentary.

Democrats, who believe conservative voices have a bigger market share, by a 45 percent to 40 percent margin favor the government requiring all radio and TV stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal commentary. Fifty-three percent of Republicans and 55 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party oppose it.

Most Americans, however, said that there is more than enough news available for people to find a bias they like — or avoid one they don't like. "Seventy-six percent of voters believe that with the Internet, cable networks, satellite radio, newspapers, radio and TV, it is possible for just about any political view and just about any news content to be found in today’s media," concluded Rasmussen.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at