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The first casualty of socialism is freedom of the press. Perhaps that’s why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CIN),” whereby researchers grill reporters and editors about what they cover and why.

If they don’t like what they hear, they text the newsroom’s coordinates to Homeland Security’s drone division. Just kidding about that last part — for now.

In a chilling column in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 11, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai painted an Orwellian picture of an FCC run amok.

Participation in the CIN is “voluntary — in theory,” Mr. Pai writes, noting that broadcasters are dependent on the FCC for licensing and would think twice before telling the FCC where to stick its survey. Mr. Pai also asks, “Why does the CIN study include newspapers, when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?”

Why indeed, except that the FCC under Mr. Obama already has proposed Net Neutrality rules for the Internet despite Congress‘ never having given the FCC authority over the Internet and after a federal court specifically rejected it.

From seizing the health care system to using the IRS to cripple the Tea Party groups to using the Justice Department to attack voter-ID laws and immigration enforcement and now preparing to send FCC “researchers” into newsrooms, the Obama administration has answered the question of what happens when you give liberals the Oval Office.

It’s not pretty or even a bit funny.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.