Editor's Note: What follows is a statement Mr. Bozell released earlier today regarding the FCC's decision yesterday to remove the so-called Fairness Doctrine from the regulation books.
The FCC deserves a one-handed round of applause for this move. Years ago, striking the Censorship Doctrine – and that's exactly what the Fairness Doctrine was – would have actually meant something.
But since the FCC started playing with policies of ‘localism,’ ‘media diversity’ and a nebulous requirement to ‘serve the public interest,’ with yet another unelected and unconfirmed "Diversity Czar" to implement these proposed regulations, the spirit of the Censorship Doctrine has remained very much alive. The path to censor radio airwaves is being paved through the back door.
Many believe that the Fairness Doctrine was repealed in the 1980s. In fact, it remains on the books, as Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell recently noted. President Ronald Reagan's FCC - and each one since - opted to not enforce the law for constitutional reasons, but the law itself still exists.
Two House Republicans have sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to officially remove the law - and a few related measures - from the Code of Federal Regulations.
Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the panel's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, have given Genachowski until Friday to confirm that the regulations will be removed. Will the FCC Chairman, who has a record of liberal views on contentious communications issues, comply?
CNN's Carol Costello re-aired a biased report she did in 2009 about liberal efforts to push localism to limit the influence of conservative talk radio. During the report, Costello omitted the left-of-center source of a statistic she used, that 91% of talk radio is apparently conservative. She also tilted towards localism by playing three sound bites in favor of the proposal, versus two against it.
The CNN anchor introduced her report, which originally aired on the October 21, 2009 edition of American Morning, by noting that "House Speaker John Boehner told the National Religious Broadcasters Convention he and other Republicans are working on a bill that ensures the Fairness Doctrine will not be revived, ever. Boehner says it's important because the Fairness Doctrine silences ideas and voices."
Costello then gave only two brief indications that her report was over a year old. She stated that "The controversy over the Fairness Doctrine, or as some like to call it, localism, boiled over a few years ago as progressives fought for what they call a fighting chance to have their voices heard." Actually, the Fairness Doctrine and localism are two separate issues, something she actually acknowledged during her original introduction to the report: "It’s unlikely the Fairness Doctrine will return, but there is something else many liberal talkers are fighting for: localism." In addition to this, a graphic flashed on the screen for only seven seconds: "Original Airdate 2009" (see below).
Is Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine through what he calls a "public value test" for broadcasters? The short answer is no, and Copps is adamant about that point. He points out that while the Fairness Doctrine regulated political speech by mandating equal time for all views on a given topic, the "public value test" will only require that broadcasters serve the "public interest", whatever that may be.
Copps is correct in a narrow sense. The federal government will not be policing political opinions. It will simply be ensuring that content meets a standard for public value.
What Copps fails to grasp is that "public value" is such a subjective term that it is almost unavoidable for political factors to play into a determination of whether or not certain content satisfies the definition. In other words, there is not official regulation of political speech, but such speech will almost surely be regulated indirectly.
An audio clip from about two months ago has been uncovered by The Blaze which clearly demonstrates that, even with all of his opining and public speaking skills, there is a reason that Howard Dean’s most notable quote will always remain a timelessly incoherent scream. Despite being a one-word definition of ignorance, Dean doesn’t mind discussing how to control the media in an effort to educate what he considers to be the ignorant masses – Americans.
What would he do about the media?
“I would bring back the Fairness Doctrine so you couldn’t have a spectacle of a Fox Flooze, which just makes stuff up and is a propaganda outlet. You would actually have to have some sanctioned human beings talking to the other side. And MSNBC would have to do the same. They would have to have some conservatives on there too. I think that’s much better for the country.”
Why does he want the government to control media?
“Americans don’t know what’s going on and therefore the media can have their way with them intellectually.”
If Dean is so concerned about propaganda outlets making stuff up, then perhaps he should be fact-checking his own statements. Such as…
At which Mayor Censor designated the absence of the mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine and the free market radio choices made by the American people that resulted as in part contributing to the passage of Arizona law 1070, which calls on state law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
As first reported by Matt Cover at the Media Research Center's news wing CNSNews.com, Kagan offers up this gem:
"If there is an ‘overabundance' of an idea in the absence of direct governmental action -- which there well might be when compared with some ideal state of public debate -- then action disfavoring that idea might ‘un-skew,' rather than skew, public discourse."
So if talk radio suffers from an "overabundance" of conservative voices, government action to "un-skew" this particular public discourse is just fine by her.
Hello so-called "Fairness" Doctrine. Not to mention Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd's liberally "skewed" interpretations of FCC "media diversity" and "localism" rules.
It's a simple law of economics, right? If there's a demand for a certain service or good, that business has a strong shot at thriving. Since the now-defunct Air America shut down for the last time earlier this year, the casual observer must conclude that no one wanted to hear left-wing diatribes over the broadcast airwaves.
But why is this newsworthy, according to Rhodes? Limbaugh has huge audience where people are allegedly forced to listen to him because he is on "every station."
"So now they're saying oh, you know, we're going to accuse them of doing everything we did. And that's how people become these victims," Rhodes said. "You know, it's like - an idea that, you know, people listen to him. They listened to him because, Joy, they have no choice. He's on every radio station. He's on - they have no choice."
Last Thursday, on his unwatched and unwatchable MSNBC television program, Equine Ed Schultz stepped into his Leftist Wayback Machine for a little retro-censorship. With the intent of bringing it back to the future.
Having first called for a reimposition of the alleged "Fairness" Doctrine the week prior on his unlistened to and unlistenable radio show, Schultz took his censorious intentions to his tens of viewers on the tube. (He is doing all of this after making fun of us in 2008 for concerning ourselves with the Doctrine's return.)
Schultz made his latest call for "fairness" by citing the patently absurd 2007 "report" The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio. Which was co-published by the George Soros-funded Leftist "think" tanks Center for American Progress and (the Marxist-founded) Free Press.
We have in fact dismantled this "report"for its deep-seated and inherent fraudulence. It asserts that talk radio is too conservative - and that we need oppressive government regulations aplenty to remedy the situation.
However, it cooked the books from the outset - excluding uber-liberal National Public Radio (NPR) from their analysis pool and then drawing their fraudulent conclusion.
Facts, apparently, will not interfere with the left's quest to slander Sean Hannity. What's worse, many of the mistruths are being peddled by Hannity's cable news competition, adding financial gain to the cheap political incentives for delegitimizing him. Even after facts debunked the bogus claim that Hannity had improperly used funds raised by the Freedom Alliance charity, MSNBC libtalker Ed Schultz parroted the claims as fact. Now, apparently accepting that the claims are total nonsense, Schultz and fellow talk radio hitman Mike Malloy have found another absurd charge to level at Hannity: he praised Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh. What actually happened? Glad you asked: Hannity conveyed the utter absurdity of the liberal media's portrayal of conservatives by sarcastically calling an audience at the Reagan Library "Tim McVeigh wannabes." (Audio and transcript below the fold - h/t Radio Equalizer.)
(A) new and discouraging, but not unsurprising (OAS) report about the troubling anti-democratic trend in Venezuela, as Hugo Chavez continues to crack down on those who oppose him - be they in the judiciary, opposition parties or the media. The OAS's 300 page report by jurists and civil rights activists from Antigua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States points out the increasing role that violence and murder have played in Chavez's consolidation of his power, including the documented killing of journalists.
Again, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd has praised Chavez for taking "very seriously the media in his country." Again we ask, is the above what Lloyd has in mind?
Is this what Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd meant when he said (on camera) Venezuelan thug dictator Hugo Chavez (take that, Sean Penn) had begun "to take very seriously the media in his country"- while praising Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution?"
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday defended the arrest of a major TV channel owner, calling him a criminal and denying the government is carrying out an assault on press freedom.
The back-to-back arrests this week of two government opponents - including the owner of Venezuela's only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel - have drawn accusations that Chavez is growing increasingly intolerant and authoritarian as his popular support has slipped.
Opposition leaders and human rights groups condemned Thursday's arrest of Globovision's owner Guillermo Zuloaga, who was detained at an airport and released hours later after a judge issued an order barring him from leaving the country.
Zuloaga is accused of spreading false informationand insulting the president at an Inter American Press Association meeting in Aruba last weekend, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.
As the piece indicates, this is but the latest example of Chavez taking "very seriously the media in his country," in Lloyd parlance. Which is woefully at odds with freedoms of speech and the press. Which is fine with Lloyd, because so's he.
They Know Nuh-Think It was the 2008 Talkers magazine New Media Seminar - June 6 and 7 in New York City. I was there to hob nob with the elite of talk radio.
And Ed Schultz.
I was there also to curry support for our then latest effort to keep the radio airwaves free from tyrannical and censorious government regulation. At that time it was against a return of the ridiculously mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine. Given the talent pool in which I was swimming - those whose livelihoods would be destroyed by it's reinstatement - many were graciously willing to assist.
Not Ed Schultz.
Word of my efforts made its way to him. And he sought me out and approached me so as to ridicule us for fighting the good fight. He rigidly insisted that no Democrat - no one in fact - was seeking a return of the Censorship Doctrine.
"Who talks to Nancy Pelosi more - you or me?" he angrily asked. I replied "Have you talked to Nancy Pelosi - ever?" Because if he had, once, ever, he had done so more than me. (And more's the pity for him.)
He responded "Well I just spoke to her, and no one wants to see (the alleged "Fairness" Doctrine) brought back."
I tried to persuade him that there were plans in the works but he remained, as always, impervious to facts.
It looks like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is running for the office of chief censor. He absolutely hates the free flow of ideas and makes it plain in this Digital Journal article about his appearance on the same London, Ontario stage where ironically two days earlier Canadian university officials attempted to censor Ann Coulter. Kennedy, upholding that same spirit of censorship, blames the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine for the rise of political views that don't fit into his liberal world vision:
Hero of the right, President Ronald Reagan, is no hero to Kennedy. "He had the gift of making people feel comfortable with their own prejudices."
Many of the problems of today, Kennedy traced back to actions taken by Reagan. Kennedy believes the American people are fed a media diet of right-wing propaganda, and it "all started in 1988 when Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine said that the airwaves belong to the public. They were public-trust assets, like air and water, and broadcasters could be licensed to use them" but they must use them in the public interest and to advance democracy.
If the Fairness Doctrine was still in place, "You could not have a Fox News," he said, nor a Rush Limbaugh, for that matter. But the doctrine is gone and Fox and Limbaugh are here. Quoting Pew Research, Kennedy said, 30 percent of Americans now get their news from talk radio, which is 90 percent dominated by the right. Another large number of Americans say their primary news source is Fox News, which Kennedy clearly believed would be better named Faux News.
... aka, the "Fairness Doctrine." And since the sole purpose of reviving this deservedly moribund government policy would be to silence conservative voices on radio, I avoid its Orwellian title.
On the same day President Obama signed his budget-busting health bill into law, Ed Schultz seized on the next opportunity for government control, one without a remote connection to reforming health care.
Feeling emboldened by the Democratic Party's success in imposing ObamaCare on the American public, lefties are already looking for the next hot issue to shove down our throats. For MSNBC libtalker Ed Schultz, it's the airwaves that should be subjected to a socialist government takeover.
During George W.'s administration, liberals loved to wail over the supposed--but never demonstrated--suppression of free speech.
But now we have the spectacle of a member of the Dem majority warning a leading representative of Fox News to stop celebrating his network's success--under threat of reinstitution of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." On last evening's Factor, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, invoking the possibility of the return of the 'Fairness Doctrine,' warned O'Reilly to stop "crowing" about Fox's success.
O'Reilly had been questioning Kucinich about the collapse of the liberal media as reflected in the demise of Air America and Fox's crushing of CNN and MSNBC during this past Tuesday's election night coverage by margins of five and six-to-one.
Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Glenn Beck has quickly risen to be one the most prominent targets of the Left. Radio Talk King Rush Limbaugh is Liberal Enemy #1; there's a strong case to be made that Beck is now running second.
One of the myriad feeble way's the Left attempts to deal with Beck - or any conservative - is to dismiss him or her as a liar, without any facts to back up said claim and often in the face of overwhelming evidence provided by the conservative in question.
Beck is spending this week on his FNC show revisiting the copious reams of evidence he compiled over the course of the last year - as he laid waste to one liberal nostrum and public official (Czar, if you will) after another.
And who did Beck choose to have bat lead off in his "Let's Hammer Home the Truth" week?
How Do You Know Mark Lloyd is Lying? Editor's Note: MRC President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell earlier today issued a statement on this.
Mark Lloyd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, made an appearance outside the confines of the communications Bat Cave yesterday. He keynoted a morning panel discussion entitled Social Media, Net Neutrality, and Future of Journalism for the liberal group (and FCC "Diversity" Committee member) Media Access Project.
I highlight his emergence because his boss, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, has declined to make Lloyd available for interviews, saying he as Chair speaks for the FCC and his staff. (A position which I think is completely fair and appropriate.) So it is rare to see him out and about.
Lloyd in fact began his talk by stating "The views I express today are my own. I do not speak for the Federal Communications Commission." Which is also fine.
What wasn't fine was his deep delving into untruths when he later attempted to defend himself against what he claimed were "exaggerations and distortions" of a wide range of his thoughts, positions and policy prescriptions, from what he called a "right-wing smear campaign."
In old school parlance, Lloyd lied. Quite a bit. And how do we know this?
Yesterday in a speech for the Media Access Project, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd claimed to refute numerous what he called “exaggerations and distortions” of a wide range of his thoughts, positions and policy prescriptions from what he called a “right-wing smear campaign.” What Lloyd did was offer numerous falsehoods and denials about things that are undeniably true.
For example, Lloyd has insisted that a "right-wing smear campaign" was "distorting [his] views about the First Amendment" when in fact, in his 2006 book "Prologue to a Farce," Lloyd plainly made clear his view that the freedoms of speech and press were "all too often an exaggeration" and that "the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
In response to Lloyd's lies, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell released a statement today [click here for the full press release]:
For the dog-bites-man news category: Joe Scarborough had a moment of intellectual schizophrenia today.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist and Politico.com executive editor Jim VandeHei were discussing a Politico story about internal political pressures at National Public Radio (NPR). Apparently, NPR's top political correspondent Mara Liasson was asked by NPR executives to reconsider her appearances on Fox News, for concerns over Fox's perceived political bias.
"I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable."
That was President Barack Obama speaking to college students as part of his current trip to Asia. The quote surfaced during a town hall discussion in Shanghai, and was widely regarded as a shot toward human rights violations at the hands of the Chinese government.
It's great to see that our President believes in free speech. But apparently, it should only be applied in countries where there is no Rush Limbaugh.
Associated Press reporter Charles Hutzler was quick to offer glowing coverage of the speech in an article titled "Obama to China: Uncensored Society is Healthy." The piece emphatically praised Obama's "animated defense" of free speech while completely ignoring the President's own record of attacking news outlets in the States and urging fellow politicians not to listen to talk radio.
Before continuing, readers are encouraged to set down all beverages and reach for the duct tape, for the blatant hypocrisy to come is unbelievably rich:
We wrote Monday of Leftist, George Soros-funded "media reform" outfit Free Press, and their extensive relationships with people currently in power at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in the White House - up to and including President Barack Obama.
With current FCC Chief Diversity Officer ("Diversity Czar") Mark Lloyd and the Leftist, George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, Free Press co-authored the 2007 report The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio. Which calls for the FCC to enforce exceedingly broad (we would say warped) new definitions of the media diversity and localism FCC broadcast license requirements. These new definitions and their enactment are intended to force conservative and Christian talk show hosts off the air, to be replaced by those of a Leftist bent.
Free Press developed then-presidential candidate Obama's communications policies portfolio. Now-President Obama's FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski hired Free Press Press Secretary Jen Howard to serve in the same capacity for the FCC. And Marxist 9-11 "Truther"Van Jones - who was President Obama's "Green Jobs Czar" until his multi-layered, anti-American and paranoid past came to light, forcing him to resign - was a Free Press Board member until 2008.
We also mentioned Free Press's co-founder, college professor and avowed Marxist Robert McChesney. (Some fairly interesting video quotes from him at right; inordinately interesting print quotes from him below the fold.) If you have not yet already had enough Marxism and Marxists, please - read on (warning - there's a Reverend Jeremiah Wright on-video sighting beneath as well).
The broader public is finally being introduced to Leftist "media reform" outfit Free Press and its co-founder, avowed Marxist Robert McChesney. (I appeared on the October 7, 2009 edition of the Glenn Beck television show to discuss one and all.)
Founded in 2002, McChesney's Free Press seeks to transform the media landscape - on radio, television and the internet - via (amongst other ways) sweeping rules changes at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Changes that would dramatically decrease private ownership of the means of news and information delivery, with the federal government assuming an ever greater replacement role.
One intended effect of this shift away from free market media to government-owned media is to diminish what Free Press sees as the inherently right-wing slant of the news that results from corporate ownership. (Have they watched NBC, ABC or CBS - ever?). And in their warped view of the media landscape, conservative and Christian talk radio (which is not news but self-identified opinion) is the most egregious example of this alleged corporatist taint.
Free Press has spent the last seven years developing policy prescriptions and working with like-minded policy and public officials that would make this hoped-for transformational change a reality. And their allies are now in place and in power - at the FCC and in the White House.
"You know, the American people cherish our freedom of speech and a free and independent press," Pence said. "That's why I found this morning's headlines so troubling. Goaded on by a White House increasingly intolerant of criticism, lately the national media has taken aim at conservative commentators in radio and television - suggesting that they only speak for a small group of activists and even suggesting in one report today that Republicans in Washington are quote, ‘worried about their electoral effect.' Well, that's hogwash."
The news wing of the Media Research Center, CNSNews.com, yesterday reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) refused their request for an interview with Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd about his tremendously disturbing First Amendment and communications policy views.
These are views which certainly deserve additional explanation from the man himself. We have analyzed his record at great length, but all of it from the outside looking in. Some direct questions to - and answers from - Mr. Lloyd would be most helpful.
The FCC told CNSNews that it's their policy not to make staffers available to the media. And that is in fact fine; the FCC said its Commissioners are the front line officials and they themselves speak to the media, not those who work for them.
But Congress - and Congressional oversight - is a different story. And Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon agrees. So too does FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. During a September 17 convening of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Congressman Walden - who is on said Subcommittee - asked Genachowski if Lloyd would be made available for questions (video at right).