Lots of bad things happen when a constitutionally-limited national government is transformed into a Nanny State Leviathan.

But one of the worst is when federal bureaucrats — apparently convinced that the rest of us are too stupid to figure it out for ourselves — decide to conduct a "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs."

What that means is, as FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, the bureaucrats will:

"Ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about 'the process by which stories are selected' and how often stations cover 'critical information needs,' along with 'perceived station bias' and 'perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.'"

Fairness Doctrine is back

If any of that menu sounds familiar to older readers, it should because it's a summary of what the FCC used to do with its Fairness Doctrine.

Back in the dark ages when there was only three national broadcast news networks, the FCC exercised suffocating control over how the news was presented via its power to regulate broadcasting licenses.

President Ronald Reagan terminated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 because it had been used by presidents of both political parties as a weapon against perceived enemies in the media.

None of their business

Why now is the FCC reinventing its discredited Fairness Doctrine wheel? Pai notes the official rationale is "eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry."

If that's so, one of the questions to be asked of newspaper reporters is whether they've ever suggested stories on "critical information" that were rejected by editors?

That question exposes what's really going on here: The FCC bureaucrats can't bear to know that somebody, somewhere in this country can cover the news without being told how by the nannies in Washington.

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren said Wednesday evening that she believes every media outlet should tell the FCC that how they cover the news is "none of its business."

Whether the rest of the media have as much backbone and common sense as Van Susteren will be revealed in coming months.

The good guys and the bad guys

Readers who want to know more about the FCC's wretched history of being used by presidents as a political weapon should read "The Good Guys, the Bad Guys and the First Amendment," written in 1976 by Fred Friendly, a former CBS News producer and chief executive.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Look for the UAW to seek another vote in the Chattanooga VW plant.

Columnist/David Freddoso: Obama took Mediscare out of the Democrats' playbook.

Columnist/Cal Thomas: Bashing Hillary Clinton won't help the GOP win the White House in 2016.

Columnist/Thomas Sowell: The GOP must master the message.

Columnist/Michael Barone: Chattanooga vote a repudiation of 1930s trade unionism.

Beltway Confidential/Joel Gerhke: Mike Lee for President? He's got bigger plans for the Tea Party.

Beltway Confidential/Mark Tapscott: Washington Examiner columnist Gregory Kane dies at 62.

Beltway Confidential/Chuck Hoskinson: Joe Biden -- "We may not get to 7 million enrollees."

Legal Newsline/David Yates: Trial lawyers are funding Sam Houston's run for Texas AG.

PennAve/Brian Hughes: Obama says Syria, Ukraine not "part of some Cold War chessboard."

In other news

New York Daily News: Feds warn of possible shoe-bomb threats on overseas flights to U.S.

The New York Times: Ukraine crisis deepens East-West clash.

The Washington Post: Crist says Obama hug ended his Republican political career.

USA Today: "Three Amigos" agree on trusted traveler program.

CBS News: Chinese-made American flags now banned in U.S. military.

CNN/Political Ticker: Cruz slams GOP leaders for "show vote" on debt ceiling.

Righty Playbook

National Review Online: Diversity, Inc.'s outdated business model.

The Weekly Standard: The guinea pig state.

The American Conservative: Why the Lego movie resonates.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Can the Right displace the mainstream media?

Lefty Playbook

Mother Jones: Here come the crazy Clinton conspiracies of the 1990s.

Harper's: Sochi's troubled neighbor.

The Progressive: Starting today, Scott Walker is officially in hot water.

Bonus must-read

The American Prospect: It's not illiberal to defend fundamental rights.

Blog Right

Wizbang: Tax preparers getting paid for Obamacare signups?

Tax Law Prof: 25 law schools experience three-year enrollment declines.

Marginal Revolution: Michael Strain's jobs agenda and mobility payments.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: Why the GOP has a huge advantage in the 2014 election.

America Blog: Colbert savages Facebook for adding 50+ new genders.

Wonkette: Tea Party is five-years old and finally acting its age.