Accuracy in Media

Special to Accuracy in Media

If you think it’s hard to get unbiased news from radio and TV now, just wait until your local broadcast stations and other media properties are owned and operated by the Chinese, Russian or Mexican governments, or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Amazingly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to make it easier for foreigners to buy and run local radio and TV stations. The federal entity that monitors the media is proposing more foreign ownership of the U.S. media in the name of “diversity.”

By law, foreigners currently can only own up to 25 percent of a TV or radio station business unless they can show on a case by case basis that they have “special considerations” which demonstrate that granting them a broadcast license would be in the American public’s interest. Only then can the FCC waive the 25 percent ownership cap that is imposed by law.

The process can be time consuming and present a high hurdle that few have overcome. Rupert Murdoch is one of a small number of media owners who successfully jumped those hurdles, and he did so in part by changing his citizenship from Australian to American. But now the FCC wants to remove those limits altogether. The FCC wants to routinely grant licenses to foreigners just like they do for the mom & pop broadcasters next door. Essentially, they want to fast track the approval process for foreign ownership. They recently issued a public notice (GNDocket No. 15-236) and they are asking for comments from the public about their plans to do so.

The change is technically titled, “Review of Foreign Ownership Policies for Broadcast, Common Carrier and Aeronautical Radio Licensees under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934, as Amended.”

What this means is that foreigners will be encouraged by our own government to buy U.S. media properties that they can use for their own propaganda purposes.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said that the change would “establish a presumption that the applications (from foreigners) should be granted, thereby shifting the burden on the Commission to reject.” In other words, the FCC would assume that a foreign owner would automatically air programming that would be in the American public’s interest unless someone could prove otherwise. Another high hurdle but this time it’s one the American public has to jump.

Of course, once a license is granted, any broadcasting of distortions, deletions, or disinformation simply becomes “protected political speech” and would be nearly impossible to use for revoking a license. At that point, little will stop the propaganda machines from running full tilt. If you need an example, just watch Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today (RT) on any of the 30 non-commercial and educational taxpayer-supported public TV stations that carry a television programming service called MHz Networks Worldview. Those stations routinely defend Putin’s spewing of anti-American propaganda and outright lies as merely protected speech.

While some might call it treason for the FCC to grease the wheels of bureaucracy to encourage the foreign takeover of such a vital and fundamental American industry as local broadcasting, its supporters simply think that it’s good business, a way to get foreign “investment” into a struggling industry. And that is how it is being sold to the American public.

In twisted logic that can only come from Washington, D.C., the FCC claims that this influx of new “foreign capital” will somehow benefit females and minorities who are current broadcasters or who want to become broadcasters but lack access to capital. Exactly the opposite is true. Since foreigners will be able to hold licenses in their own names, they will no longer need a “figurehead” U.S. citizen to be in nominal control and hold a majority of the equity and/or voting ownership.

Furthermore, minority and female owned companies will then have to compete with foreign “investor/broadcasters” when they attempt to buy stations and many will be priced out of the market as the foreign broadcasters drive the purchase prices higher. Many minorities who currently own stations will very likely be enticed to sell at the higher valuations, thus resulting in fewer minority voices on the air.

Other then foreign interlopers, the main beneficiaries, however, will not be the American public or minorities and women who want to get into the broadcasting business but rather those who currently hold broadcast licenses. Many are mega-corporations. After all, money is really the heart of the matter. Current broadcasters will have many more cash buyers for their stations, stations that are in decline because of competition from the Internet.

The media took note of the $500 million windfall Al Gore cashed in on from the Middle Eastern petro-dictatorship of Qatar in the sale of his failed Current TV cable channel. The channel later became Al Jazeera America. No FCC license was required to transfer Gore’s cable channel so it sailed through.  So removing the FCC imposed barriers to broadcast station ownership by foreigners is the only thing standing in the way of broadcasters cashing in, just like Gore.

As for the new buyers, they may not care if they ever make money on the stations. Reuters recently reported that a Chinese businessman with ties to the communist Chinese government buys large blocks of airtime on multiple radio stations in the U.S.  They reported that “Many of these stations do not run ads and so do not appear to be commercially motivated.” But they do report the “news” from Beijing’s perspective.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires that those who act on behalf of foreign governments when trying to influence public opinion register with the Department of Justice and must disclose to their audience who they work for. The Obama Justice Department has chosen to ignore that law in the cases of RT and Al Jazeera. I personally lodged a complaint with the DOJ regarding Russia Today and Al Jazeera only to receive a copy of the law and a bureaucratic “Dear John” letter. Even if the DOJ were to ever attempt to enforce FARA, the propagandists are well versed at using multiple organizations and front men to hamper any would-be investigations. So it would require some effort. But the new proposed FCC policy of selling American media properties to foreigners can only make things far worse. Such a change would embolden foreign propagandists to be even more aggressive and entrenched in their campaigns to influence American public opinion.

FCC Commissioner O’Rielly promises that the commission will “preserve national security protections.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on the reliability of promises made by Obama and his appointees. The administration’s lack of enforcement of FARA is a good indicator of how vigorously they would preserve national security when doling out broadcast licenses to foreigners.

In a 2013 FCC ruling on the subject of foreign ownership, four of the five current Commissioners are on record. Their statements include:

  • “Promoting a regulatory framework that does not inhibit the flow of capital to the US communications sector is an important goal of Commission policy.” Commissioner Wheeler
  • “I am pleased to say, we clarify the Commission’s policies for foreign investment in broadcast licensees by signaling that the Commission is open to considering proposed foreign investments in broadcasting on a case-by-case basis.” Commissioner Clyburn
  • “The Commission has repeatedly recognized that foreign investment can be an ‘important source of financing…innovation, economic growth and job creation’” [for broadcasters]. Commissioner Pai
  • “U.S. broadcasters and foreign investors should know this Commission is now open to considering foreign entities holding capital stock of companies that control broadcast licenses exceeding 25 percent, perhaps up to a high of 100 percent.” Commissioner O’Rielly

Sadly, without a huge outcry from the public, passage of this policy looks like a done deal.

This FCC proposal was apparently spearheaded by a group called “The Coalition for Broadcast Investment.” According to the group’s lawyers, the members include some of the biggest media companies on the planet: CBS, Disney, Hearst Television, Clear Channel (iHeartMedia), and Univision. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which describes itself as the voice for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters, also backs the proposal.

That might explain why you haven’t heard much about this on your evening news. The broadcasters of the news are the ones with the most to gain monetarily by keeping a low profile on this story.

By the way, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, married into a family that owns a large part of iHeartMedia. According to Bloomberg Business, iHeartMedia owned 858 radio stations as of December 2014 and is reportedly the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S.

I fear that most members of Congress who have not married into the broadcasting business would rather not pick a fight with the media giants by trying to stop this.

For my conservative friends, if you too are wondering why you too haven’t heard about this story on Fox News, just Google the problems that Rupert Murdoch had with the FCC regarding station ownership and his citizenship. It is an issue that broadcasters on the left, right and center seem to agree on. What’s good for their bottom line is good for the U.S.

Abraham Lincoln said, “He who molds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” A license to broadcast to the public over public airwaves has far reaching long term national security implications. It cannot be compared in any way to the international trade of widgets, cars or consumer electronics, as some would like us to believe.

Other than money, what do these foreign owners have to contribute to us? Can Qatar or Russia teach us anything about freedom of speech, or freedom of the press?

If this proposal becomes FCC policy, public sentiment in the U.S. will progressively be molded by forces that owe no allegiance to the U.S. or even the truth, and many may also wish to do us harm. The roles before the FCC will be reversed with the propagandists essentially being guaranteed a license to use America’s airwaves to subvert America itself. The FCC will be legally forced to assume that anyone from anywhere who wants a license is automatically our friend unless someone can prove otherwise.

Such a policy change will undermine our First Amendment rights of free speech. Just look at the RT reporters who have quit because they were prohibited from telling the truth and ordered to spread lies.

Freedom of speech is meaningless when a foreign licensee of a broadcast station owns the mute button.

  • You must submit comments to the FCC by December 21st (Identify Docket No. 15–236).

Use any of the following methods:

        Jerry Kenney, a television producer from Port Orange, Florida, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that foreign channels RT and Al Jazeera are both violating the law by not disclosing in their propaganda broadcasts in the U.S. that they are agents of foreign powers. He has also alleged violations of FCC rules that have given Al Jazeera and RT access to taxpayer-funded public television stations. He recently lodged a complaint alleging that non-commercial educational public TV stations, which are prohibited by law from running commercials for American businesses, are running infomercials for Chinese and Vietnamese businesses.




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Comments

  • D.M. Ryan

    Oh, I’ve got an idea! Since so many of Obama’s fans are charmed by the Nordic model, howzabout the FCC starting off by grating special fast-track privilege to the King of Sweden?

    “Welcome to The Royal Sverige Channel, brought to you by our Governor and Patron, His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Where The Nordic Model lives every day.

    “Coming up: Our intellectually stimulating discussion on the subject, A Unitary Parliament: The Secret Behind National Humaneness. We are delighted to announce that the moderator for the discussion panel is Princess Madeline. Our guest, all experts in the complex field of politics, are…”

  • Ted

    Reagan let the cat out of the bag, the horse out of the stable, and spilt the milk with his almighty free-market, de-regulation, globalization, open the Mexican border and grant access to illegals … and a host of other stupid policies that have gone on to slowly destroy the fabric of this economy and this country. And … all administrations since have done nothing to reverse the madness … since they’ve simply preferred fighting with each other and obstructing each other. The fool partisans in this country have gotten the government they deserved. The rest of the citizenry has been screwed. So, at this point, who the hell cares who owns the radio and TV stations. Foreign owners can’t be much worse than the dickheads who own the media now.

  • Gore is a blowhard and a smug crook. To know that these type of TRAITORS are working against America is one thing, to have it set before you on TV is so asinine it will only hasten REVOLUTION !!!

  • Robert A Kaufman

    IT IS TIME FOR A 2ND AMERICAN REVOLUTION IF CONGRESS REFUSES TO IMPEACH, CONVICT & REMOVE BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA FROM OFFICE FOR HIGH CRIMES, TREASON & ESPIONAGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    Well, go out to the nursing homes and grab the 4 real men who are still left in this country and go for it.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    There is no such thing as “Obama’s FCC”. Presidents don’t get to control the Commission. It’s deliberately set up to make that impossible. And if the author is in the broadcast industry, he damn well knows that.

    I suspect he does know that, and this right-wing crackpot site inserted the bogus headline.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    Yeah, right.

    There’s no such thing as controlling the presidency.

    There’s no such thing as world government either.

    “Dictatorship can be established only by a victory of socialism in different countries or groups of countries, after which there would be federal unions of the various groupings of these socialist countries, and the third stage would be an amalgamation of these regional federal unions into a world union of socialist nations.”
    – Comintern 1936

    European Union, South America Union, African Union…

    Middle Eastern Union….
    http://www.cfr.org/middle-east-and-north-africa/eu-offers-model-unifying-middle-east/p33156

  • LaTisha Jackson

    Most Americans are comfort junkies. They will do ANYTHING for comfort. They are panically afraid of the truth, as it is uncomfortable. Well, then they will have to die. Comfort-based civilizations do not last. America is a failed experiment. How would a truncated pyramid work? No Socrates, Mozart, Cervantes at the top to tell the idiotic masses where to go…so, the idiots follow a tyrant to a mass grave…

  • Sluggo Pyle

    None of that has jack squat to do with my post at all. Incoherency.

  • AndRebecca

    Yes it does.

  • AndRebecca

    Reagan?

  • AndRebecca

    Yes, one of the lovely things they have going in Europe. Kings and queens. They are so advanced over there. (not)

  • D.M. Ryan

    Gotta get your Nordic Model somehow! /s

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    Sure it does. You are not credible. May I remind you, the three separate branches of government were deliberately setup to prevent tyrannical government. One could hardly call it impossible for the executive and judicial branches to make law in today’s economy. Government is no longer beholden to the people. It ought to be obvious to you. If it was, they would protect the people from whatever comes across our porous borders. What makes the FCC immune to all the mutiny? I cannot help it, if you haven’t the capacity for deductive reasoning. Ignorance can be fixed, but stupid is to the bone.

  • OhioHomeowner

    Is this related to the Reuters story about China’s control of broadcasts in the US, “CRI itself doesn’t hold ownership stakes in U.S. stations, but it does have a majority share via a subsidiary in the company that leases WCRW in Washington and a Philadelphia station with a similarly high-powered signal.” http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/china-radio/

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    Rebecca <— One the of last few remaining souls who will lookout for someone's back.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    The poster babbled incoherently about “controlling the Presidency” and “world governments” and “dictatorships” and “socialism” yammer yammer yammer —- none of which has a single thing to do with my post about how the FCC is structured and a misleading headline ignorant of that structure. I made no such references or allusions, ergo the attempt to deflect to red herring irrelevancies is simply …. incoherent.

    Period.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    And you call conservatives narrow minded.

  • AndRebecca

    Huh?

  • AndRebecca

    Thank you Mr. Bruce. I get tired of the trolls going after us. The SPLC, or ACLU, or?…is probably paying this one. They are so ugly, both the trolls and the groups behind them.

  • AndRebecca

    Only in the minds of socialists would Sweden seem great. I like your Swedish sketch, kings and queens run the country with full socialist backing. The ruling class and the ruled.

  • GK

    No. This is worse. It will allow foreign ownership of the station. WCRW is just a local marketing agreement, rental of airtime, but the station owner/operator is still in control.

  • LaTisha Jackson

    Would you be comfortable using a Russian – made computer? A calculator? Anything? A Russian manager for your business? Russian – style democracy? Not really, right? But Russian – made products of spirit – Arts, Literature, Philosophy? For sure. By the same token Americans are not to be trusted with the matters of spirit, as comfort junkies never develop spirit. Since the door to the truth can ONLY be opened with both hands – Spirit AND the Intellect, Americans are pathetically impotent in truth hunting. They are able to get a little chunk of it, under a certain angle, somehow, somewhat…but not the Absolute Truth. Until this nation starts to regularly excersise its spirit in a gym of suffering, and gives birth to Spiritual Guides – it will always be that the bottom of the pyramid – the narrow specialists – follow a tyrant to a mass grave. A skyscraper built without an architect – WILL COLLAPSE.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    NOR did I post anything about “conservatives”, “narrowminded” or “calling” anything.

    That about it now? Or did Wal-Mart have a sale on strawmen?

    The point was, the FCC Commissioners are set up on staggered terms in such a way that no Presidential administration can stack it — nor can one political party, by law, dominate it. And incidentally, the current Chair is a Republican.

    Ergo — bullshit headline. Period.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    So, you have to post something about “narrow minded” in order that someone might call you narrow minded? You are full of yourself.

    And if you don’t believe in absolutes — as most liberals do not — then ending your argument with “Period” really makes you a hypocrite.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    You mean the bunch of heathen that do not know the Lord Jesus Christ walking around as a provocation to God? It’s only a matter of time until God has had enough.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    Any spirit other than God’s Holy Spirit is in vain.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    Once again, putting words in my mouth.

    Here’s the ongoing list of shit I never brought up:
    “controlling the presidency”… “world government”… “dictatorships”… “socialism”… “Comintern” … “conservative”… “narrowminded” .. “stupid” and our newest entry: “absolutes”.

    Strawmen-R-us.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    They need to ask for their money back.

  • LaTisha Jackson

    Wonderful line: Most liberals don’t believe in absolutes! For sure! I noticed, that all of them live in the world of OPINIONS, which are easily adjustable little comfortable lies. They are SCARED TO DEATH of the one and only TRUTH.

  • The_Northwesterner

    SPLC = Socialist Proletariat Law Center
    ACLU = Anti-American Communist Liberties Union

    Which is pretty much what both groups are about, opposing traditional American values in favor of pushing Communist ideology and rabble-rousing. Sluggo Pyle (who appears to be nothing more than some punk kid, based on his immaturity and vulgarity in his posts) falls right in line with that way of thinking.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    I’m simply a career broadcaster who knows how the FCC is set up, and how it isn’t. And the headline here is how it isn’t.

    That’s all I said.

    All that other shit about SPLCs and Cominterms and LSDs and LMNOPs and whatever, was trotted in by trolls. It has ZERO to do with me or anything I posted. Capisce? All righty then.

  • AndRebecca

    We’re just being irritated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehdi_Dibaj Although it is hard to take, when we know about things like this.

  • AndRebecca

    They are the ones.

  • AndRebecca

    I like your first two lines ! Pyle’s ideas line up with “The New World Order,” Socialist himself, H.G. Wells. Back in 1940 published this: “The well trained Moslem, the American fundamentalists, the orthodox Jew, all the fixed cultures, produce similar irrelevant and wasteful resistances, but the Catholic organization reaches further and is more persistent. It is frankly opposed to human effort and the idea of progress… Such cross-activities as these complicate, delay and may even sabotage effectively every effort to solve the problem of a lucid collectivization of the world’s affairs, but they do not alter the essential fact that it is only through a rationalization and coalescence of constructive revolutionary movements everywhere and a liberal triumph over the dogmatism of the class war, that we can hope to emerge from the present wreckage of our world… This at the beginning of WWII, not after it and while noting the preparations and worry in his country about the German Socialists and the Russians! The moon bats today still believe this garbage. The Catholics at that time were standing up to the “Liberals,” not so much now. No Leftist has the brains to figure out that Moslems and Christians and Jews are different…that would take judgment…and they are lacking the neurons needed for their brains to function normally.

  • AndRebecca

    You’re the troll. We comment often on here and have for a while now.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    You know just dropping the word “strawman” doesn’t mean you win the argument. Who do you think you are, calling this a crackpot right-wing site and then talking about strawman and red herrings?

  • Sluggo Pyle

    Well you must be very proud :snif:

    Point being, I made a simple observation about the way the FCC is set up, contrary to the article’s title. It had nothing to do with conspiracy theories or world governments or any of that other insipid crapola that tried to tag along. Therein lay the trolls.

    I guess on my planet we stay on the topic. Oh well.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    I’m familiar of course with H.G. Wells but not at all with the work referenced, whatever it is. But it’s still got absolutely jack squat to do with the the simple question of the structure of the FCC. That’s not an “idea” — it’s a statement of FACT. Period.

  • AndRebecca

    No doubt you still think “The New World Order” is a right-wing conspiracy theory, and not a book written by a committed Socialist about what he wanted to see in the future “or else.” … When Bush “1” talked about the NWO, at least a few Republicans realized what he was saying and disagreed. Structure at the FCC? Obviously you think what’s been done at the FCC over the last many years is another conspiracy theory… but, like all the president’s men, they do pretty much whatever he wants them to do at the FCC, in the name of diversity. Same goes at the USDA and elsewhere…who wants to be thought of as anti-diversity? In parts of the U.S. today it is hard to find an English language radio station, much less Rush or Hannity or Levin.

  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd
  • disqus_smWiOrvPtd

    Amen and Hallelujah! “How distinctly love to Christ is brought out in the stow of John Lambert, fastened to the stake, and burning to death, yet clapping his hands as he was burning, and crying out, “None but Christ! None but Christ” until his nether extremities were burned, and he fell from the chains into the fire, still exclaiming in the midst of the flames, “None but Christ, None but Christ” – Charles Spurgeon

  • The_Northwesterner

    I’m simply a career broadcaster who knows how the FCC is set up, and how it isn’t. And the headline here is how it isn’t.

    Right, and I’m Donald Trump. No dice.

    All that other shit about SPLCs and Cominterms and LSDs and LMNOPs and whatever, was trotted in by trolls. It has ZERO to do with me or anything I posted.

    Nope, the only troll here is the one brushing off and dismissing the interference of the SPLC, ACLU and other Obama-backed leftist groups against the American public and what we stand for – and that troll is you. You’d be better off sticking with the Huffington Post’s comment section and its liberal hive-mind mindset.

  • The_Northwesterner

    Point being, I made a simple observation about the way the FCC is set up, contrary to the article’s title. It had nothing to do with conspiracy theories or world governments or any of that other insipid crapola that tried to tag along. Therein lay the trolls.

    If you believe that, then I’d like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Nope, you’re still the only troll here.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    I don’t know what kind of medications you’re on or skipping but nothing I’ve posted has jack friggety squat to do with “new world orders” or conspiracy theories. It’s a simple correction to a grossly misleading headline.

    I’m under no illusions about how the FCC is structured — I worked UNDER it in broadcasting for decades and I *had to* be familiar with it. All this piffle trying to deflect off to conspiracies and bizarre underworld creatures and acronyms is absolutely meaningless.

    But since you finally mention broadcasting, feel free to cite these places where it’s “hard to find and English language radio station”. I’m ready.

  • Sluggo Pyle

    Then quote where I brought up ANY of that shit, dumb shit.

    Oh wait — you can’t do that. Sucks 2BU.

  • AndRebecca

    When I travel throughout the southwest, it is hard to find commercial English stations in places, and when they can be found, they are only music stations. But, NPR comes in loud and clear. NPR has an agenda, in case you don’t know. I would guess, since we have had an influx of foreigners in the rest of the country, it would be hard to find English stations elsewhere. You haven’t figured out yet that the media leans way Left? Where have you been? …
    As for what they are doing at the FCC from the horse’s mouth:
    https://www.fcc.gov/document/foreign-ownership-policies-nprm https://www.fcc.gov/rulemaking/11-133 http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/fcc-approves-foreign-ownership-nprm/145190 Gosh, I wonder why these sites disagree with your take on the subject. The latest doings at Obama’s FCC by the FCC plus one other group. They need to go to la-la land and talk to you!

  • The_Northwesterner

    When you resort to name-calling and insults (as well as just plain immaturity and idiocy), that loses you the argument right there, punk. Stick to your junior high remedial classes and try not to get straight D’s all the time.

  • Erlene Talbott

    why wait for Congress to act. They have had years to step up. The proof is in, and it is more than adequate to show that if any action is to be taken, it will have to be a grass roots move and a very strong and determined one, unrelenting and terminal only when mission is accomplished.

  • John Patriot

    Bunghole Barry is a sellout to the USA, but he is an illegitimate president which makes all of his actions to give away our sovereignty void. Fraud is a crime, and so is treason. He does not have to be impeached because he is not our president, so the proper action would be for the FBI to charge him with the crimes against him and be arrested and brought to justice after his verdict of guilty. The FBI and the CIA have all the information they need to convict him, we just need our congress to do their duty to call it what it is.

  • Thomas Meade

    The U.S. used to be unique on the world stage but it is now time we should all stand up to stop the elite politicians from both sides of the isle and get back to “WE THE PEOPLE” as they have gone too far with their own agendas to fundamentally change America through complete indoctrination from school to grave.

  • David Worley

    GREATEST THING HE HAS DONE TO DATE…Maybe then, Just maybe we can actually hear some real unbiased reporting… Outside the USA The World assumes that people are Not G-Damn P C Wussies that Cry when they see what is happening all around us. Maybe a few Americans may grow a Back-bone when they realize there is a real world outside Liberalism Pampering

  • Karl PA

    Valid concern in this piece, but is it true? For a site claiming to be about “accuracy” … the articles in the archive are overwhelming about Clinton “crimes” and “scandals.” … bengazi etc, that have been debunked or are of little consequence compared to allegations about Trump: child rape (filed in court with a witness), fraudulent university – infomercial for more courses, dodging taxes in NJ and getting let off the hook by his governor pal.