Who Needs Fairness, We Have a “Doctrine”

It’s coming…we all know that the Dems and the Left hate the fact that Conservative Talk Radio is successful, that Progressive Talk Radio “generally” fails (Air America and Pacifica Radio in bankruptcy), more than likely because all they do is rant and rave and have no content past their hate of George W. Bush. Oh, but wait, President Bush is NO longer President, so what is there to talk about now? How about George W. Bush, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, all day every day, non-stop–STILL!

So, certain Democrats like Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow kicked up debate in recent weeks by calling for a return to those standards, after Sen. Chuck Schumer and David Axelrod have made dire demands and threats about it’s return. New York Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, even Bubba Clinton has weighed in that we either need the Censorship Doctrine or something that adds balance. Then there is Bill Press whining that he doesn’t make enough money because he’s BORING and loses stations, therefor it’s the Evil Conservative Talk Machine keeping he and his message of goodness of the One down, silenced because of corporate greed–in other words, be successful and bring in ad money!

The ONE has advised his followers as well us infidels (Republicans and Conservatives) to NOT listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, they’ll only propagandize us into unbelieving in Change and Change for Change Sake, to obstruct the true and good teachings of His Royal Obamaness (HRO), the One who knows what’s better for Americans, even tho 47% of voters did not vote for him and the policies we knew he would bring.

Well, Rush is not particularly interested in going quietly into the long goodnight of Censorship Doctrine Hell, he is willing to point out the OTHER back-door avenues that HRO has to get around the “Fairness” Doctrine, since he continues to say he will not support or further the cause of the outspoken Demon-crats.

Mr. President, Keep the Airwaves Free

As a former law professor, surely you understand the Bill of Rights.

By RUSH LIMBAUGH

Dear President Obama:

I have a straightforward question, which I hope you will answer in a straightforward way: Is it your intention to censor talk radio through a variety of contrivances, such as “local content,” “diversity of ownership,” and “public interest” rules — all of which are designed to appeal to populist sentiments but, as you know, are the death knell of talk radio and the AM band? [my emphasis]

You have singled me out directly, admonishing members of Congress not to listen to my show. Bill Clinton has since chimed in, complaining about the lack of balance on radio. And a number of members of your party, in and out of Congress, are forming a chorus of advocates for government control over radio content. This is both chilling and ominous.

As a former president of the Harvard Law Review and a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, you are more familiar than most with the purpose of the Bill of Rights: to protect the citizen from the possible excesses of the federal government. The First Amendment says, in part, that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The government is explicitly prohibited from playing a role in refereeing among those who speak or seek to speak. We are, after all, dealing with political speech — which, as the Framers understood, cannot be left to the government to police.

When I began my national talk show in 1988, no one, including radio industry professionals, thought my syndication would work. There were only about 125 radio stations programming talk. And there were numerous news articles and opinion pieces predicting the fast death of the AM band, which was hemorrhaging audience and revenue to the FM band. Some blamed the lower-fidelity AM signals. But the big issue was broadcast content. It is no accident that the AM band was dying under the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which choked robust debate about important issues because of its onerous attempts at rationing the content of speech.

After the Federal Communications Commission abandoned the Fairness Doctrine in the mid-1980s, Congress passed legislation to reinstitute it. When President Reagan vetoed it, he declared that “This doctrine . . . requires Federal officials to supervise the editorial practices of broadcasters in an effort to ensure that they provide coverage of controversial issues and a reasonable opportunity for the airing of contrasting viewpoints of those issues. This type of content-based regulation by the Federal Government is . . . antagonistic to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment. . . . History has shown that the dangers of an overly timid or biased press cannot be averted through bureaucratic regulation, but only through the freedom and competition that the First Amendment sought to guarantee.”

Today the number of radio stations programming talk is well over 2,000. In fact, there are thousands of stations that air tens of thousands of programs covering virtually every conceivable topic and in various languages. The explosion of talk radio has created legions of jobs and billions in economic value. Not bad for an industry that only 20 years ago was moribund. Content, content, content, Mr. President, is the reason for the huge turnaround of the past 20 years, not “funding” or “big money,” as Mr. Clinton stated. And not only has the AM band been revitalized, but there is competition from other venues, such as Internet and satellite broadcasting. It is not an exaggeration to say that today, more than ever, anyone with a microphone and a computer can broadcast their views. And thousands do.

Mr. President, we both know that this new effort at regulating speech is not about diversity but conformity. It should be rejected. You’ve said you’re against reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, but you’ve not made it clear where you stand on possible regulatory efforts to impose so-called local content, diversity-of-ownership, and public-interest rules that your FCC could issue.

I do not favor content-based regulation of National Public Radio, newspapers, or broadcast or cable TV networks. I would encourage you not to allow your office to be misused to advance a political vendetta against certain broadcasters whose opinions are not shared by many in your party and ideologically liberal groups such as Acorn, the Center for American Progress, and MoveOn.org. There is no groundswell of support behind this movement. Indeed, there is a groundswell against it.

The fact that the federal government issues broadcast licenses, the original purpose of which was to regulate radio signals, ought not become an excuse to destroy one of the most accessible and popular marketplaces of expression. The AM broadcast spectrum cannot honestly be considered a “scarce” resource. So as the temporary custodian of your office, you should agree that the Constitution is more important than scoring transient political victories, even when couched in the language of public interest.

We in talk radio await your answer. What will it be? Government-imposed censorship disguised as “fairness” and “balance”? Or will the arena of ideas remain a free market?

Comrades, we are well on our way to a Socialist State, any censorship of Free Speech anywhere will be the last nail in the collective coffin.

 UPDATE: Here’s the Link to The Heritage Foundation’s Roy Cooper’s Article– Fairness Doctrine Confusion  & Jim Meyers’  DeMint to Force Vote on Fairness Doctrine on Newsmax

UPDATE II: McQ @ RWN (RightWingNews.com) has a post,  Dissent and Hate Speech, that seques into this discussion. The part of distinct interest starts about halfway down…

Eugene Volokh has a very interesting post up about a UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center study titled Hate Speech on Commercial Talk Radio.

It’s a fascinating post which demonstrates how hard certain groups are working another angle aimed at talk-radio (and read the comments, where commenters take the study’s assertions aparat). Hate-speech is a lever that various groups on the left have been trying to enable for years. From the study, here’s their definition of hate speech:

Types of Hate Speech 

We identified four types of speech that, through negative statements, create a climate of hate and prejudice: (1) false facts [including “simple falsehoods, exaggerated statements, or decontextualized facts [that] rendered the statements misleading”], (2) flawed argumentation, (3) divisive language, and (4) dehumanizing metaphors (table 1).    Then the examples: [go to link on title above]

UPDATE III: Annnd, the Prowler from the American Spectator covers the current go-behind-the public mechanations:  In All Fairness 

DOCTRINE AIR DEMOCRACY

Senior FCC staff working for acting Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps held meetings last week with policy and legislative advisers to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the “Fairness Doctrine” without actually calling it such. 

Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. “It’s all about diversity in media,” says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. “Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them.”   [Read the rest at Title Link above]

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