Many members of the Democratic Party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have stated their desire for a return of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, more rightly called the Censorship Doctrine for it would force conservative talk radio hosts off the air.
But no Congressional action is required to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. All the Obama Administration has to do is make one appointment to the FCC, turning a 3-2 Republican FCC majority into a 3-2 Democratic one, and it can again be reinstated. Republican Robert McDowell's term ends in June 2009.
Those blue meanies over in conservative talk radio, "progressive talker" Ed Schultz opined yesterday. There they go again, Schultz sighed, making a fuss for hardly any reason over possible reimposition of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."
Here's what Schultz had to say (click here for audio) --
It's been interesting and I have listened to it more in the last couple of days than I have in a long, long time and that is the right-wing talkers of America and how they're ginning up this story about the Fairness Doctrine. So I'm going to be a little bit selfish here today about our industry because now there seems to be an attack on the reason why Barack Obama was elected is because the liberal media and the bias in the media has taken him to the doorstep of the White House and now they're attacking conservative talk radio. My Lord, these people are just, they are relentless when it comes to fear-mongering. You know what, I should be the one sitting here just pounding the drums for the Fairness Doctrine, the way that we have been able to be successful in recent years and stay afloat when we weren't given 90 days. I mean, if they were to put in the Fairness Doctrine, who do you think would benefit? I would make more money. Let me just be right up front about that. I'm not sure it's the right thing to do. I've never paid much attention to it.
If President Bush is exhibiting dictatorial behaviors, the editor and publisher of The New York Times would be facing criminal prosecution. That hypothesis come from pundit and "U.S. News" columnist Michael Barone. Appearing on the October 30 edition of "Fox and Friends," Barone laughed off outrageous charges of a Bush dictatorship. He then noted that the true anti-civil libertarian measures are coming from the left, particularly Barack Obama and his supporters.
Barone exemplified such actions by noting Democratic attorneys calling for libel prosecution of Obama’s critics, but not McCain’s. Barone added "that would represent the first time that we have criminalized political speech since the expiration of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1801-1802." Barone also noted Obama’s co-sponsorship of the Fairness Doctrine, a backdoor way to censor conservative talk radio.
Barone of course also alluded to the media’s love affair with Barack Obama and their concern about harming the senator’s "electoral chances."
A few weeks ago we wrote about the undue and disingenuous attack led by Barack Obama's Chicago HQ perpetrated against Chicago radio host Dr. Milt Rosenberg. Well, last week they did it again, raising their legions to attack the host and his radio station (WGN) and trying to have the unassuming radio host thrown off the air. And what was his "crime"? Rosenberg had the gall to actually interview two conservative writers who were investigating the life and history of the Obamessiah.
I live in Chicago and have listened to Milt Rosenberg many times. His show is one of the most intelligent radio shows in the country, filled with high concepts and serious guests. I also heard both radio shows being protested by Obama's radio brownshirts and there wasn’t a thing wrong with either of the shows. On the first, conservative writer Stanley Kurtz was invited on to speak about his investigation into the ties Obama has with American domestic terrorist William Ayers. In this case, Rosenberg offered airtime to the Obama campaign and it refused the offer. With the second program, Rosenberg had on David Freddoso, author of the recent New York Times best selling book "The Case Against barack Obama." In the later case, Rosenberg even had a lefty Obama apologist on air with Fredoso, there to counter his every anti-Obama comment.
Yet, the Obama campaign still tried to destroy Milt Rosenberg’s career by mounting an email attack campaign as well as urging calls to the station.
"The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 55% believe media bias is more of a problem than big campaign contributions." As Tom Blumer pointed out when first reporting on this poll on Monday,
He quoted FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell who said the following:
“I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right. I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”
“Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else. So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”
Lest you think McDowell is being alarmist, consider, for a moment, the Seattle Times's pushback efforts against the erosion of MSM control and the future institution of "Net Neutrality."
If the idea of the Fairness Doctrine bringing government control of broadcasted speech wasn't bad enough, there's also a possibility that its oversight powers could spill over onto the Internet and control Web content.
"Liberal Dedication in the Face of Hatred" was the lead teaser on the front page of the print edition of the Washington Post's Metro section on August 2. Inside, staff writer Jacqueline Salmon reported on Unitarian Universalist vigils held in the wake of the July 27 shooting in a Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tenn. in which two died and seven were wounded.
Salmon noted the Knoxville police chief's assertion that the shooter "hated the liberal movement." This corroborated other media reports about a letter that the shooter had left in which he expresses a visceral antipathy to liberals.
Salmon moved on to report about a gathering on July 28 at a Unitarian Congregation of Fairfax in Oakton, Va.: "Bill Welch, the congregation's minister for programs, talked about how isolating it can be to be a liberal in today's world of right-wing talk radio and conservative Christians ‘that talk about liberals as if we are bad people.'"
Salmon did not bother to quote a talk radio host or Christian conservative in response to the minister's broad-brushed charge. Nor did Salmon bother to acknowledge that the shooter at the Unitarian church, Jim Adkisson, had also rejected conservative Christianity. One of Adkisson's neighbors told The New York Times: "[Adkisson] said if you read the whole Bible, everything in it contradicts itself." Salmon didn't even bother to challenge the dubious proposition that "right-wing talk radio" is "isolating" liberals, when most major media are dominated by liberals, as documented in the new Culture and Media Institute Special Report, "Unmasking the Myths Behind the Fairness Doctrine."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing a media tour, touting her new book, "Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters." On Monday night she sat down for a Q&A with New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller inside the awkwardly named TheTimesCenter, an auditorium connected to the paper's headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. Book flacks aggressively marketed Pelosi's autobiography at the entrance, politely pressuring ticket holders even before their tickets were scanned (Pelosi was doing a book signing after the Q&A). In other words, the Democratic Speaker of the House was selling and signing books at NYT Co.
The conversation itself consisted of a lot more of Pelosi's A's than NYT Q's, as the Speaker filibustered through a series of mostly sympathetic questions from Bumiller (the first half especially more closely resembled a friendly Sunday morning TV book interview than any exercise in news-gathering).
The onstage chemistry between the two, alone on stage in the 378-seat auditorium, was polite but not effusive. The audience, in the heart of liberal Manhattan, was definitely on her side: Pelosi managed to wring applause lines from Democratic boilerplate like defending public schools (yeah!), women earning only 70 cents to the dollar of men (boo!), and Bush leaving office soon (yeah yeah yeah!).
Bumiller's initial questions were tailored to Pelosi's bean-counting feminism:
Bumiller: I should say, you say in your book, that 22% of elected officials in the world are women, while in the United States it's only 17%. So what's been holding us back in this, this most advanced country in the world?
Do they represent the people in their districts, or Nancy Pelosi?
The Spin Starts Here, or Do As I Say, Not As I DoCongressional Democrats remain silent, acquiescing in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's determination to prevent legislation to block the reimposition of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. For all their prattling about protecting civil liberties, none of them - not a single one - has so far signed the discharge petition to allow the Broadcasters' Freedom Act to be wrested from Pelosi's grip to protect our freedom of speech.
Where do they stand on the federal regulation that served for four decades to remove issues of import from the radio airwaves and left us with 24-hours a day of liberal dominance of the radio airwaves? (Ronald Reagan removed the restriction in 1987, and the rest has been Rush Limbaugh-led broadcasting history.)
These Ds have been this quiet because they are not at liberty to discuss it. What we have been witnessing is a remarkable exhibition of partisan discipline. Last summer Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a diktat that no Donkey was to talk about the Fairness Doctrine, nor meet with anyone who wanted to talk about it. All the while she was repeatedly denying any Democratic interest in its revival.
Leave it to radio star Martha Zoller to sum up the need for radio independence this Independence Day. Zoller, writing a timely piece for the Business & Media Institute, gives a brief history of the rise of talk radio and a true free market of ideas.
Thanks to the left and people like Nancy Pelosi, our ability to have media outlets give other than the liberal party line is jeopardized. It is one of the greatest threats to our freedom this July 4th.
Over at HumanEvents.com, John Gizzi has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the record saying that the Democratic caucus, far from being agnostic on the so-called Fairness Doctrine, is actually interested in resurrecting it. What's more, Pelosi herself wants to bring back the policy that could literally silence conservative talk radio. [Sign the MRCAction.org petition for broadcaster freedom.]
At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor yesterday, I asked Pelosi if Pence failed to get the required signatures on a discharge petition to get his anti-Fairness Doctrine bill out of committee, would she permit the Pence measure to get a floor vote this year.
"No," the Speaker replied, without hesitation. She added that "the interest in my caucus is the reverse" and that New York Democratic Rep. "Louise Slaughter has been active behind this [revival of the Fairness Doctrine] for a while now."
Laura Ingraham, syndicated radio talk show host and now host of Just In on the Fox News Channel, filled in for Bill O'Reilly, syndicated radio talk show host, on his FNC Show The O'Reilly Factor on Friday, June 20.
And led off with her Talking Points Memo, in which she excoriated the left's call for the return of the Fairness Doctrine, dismantling and undermining every liberal (alleged) justification for its return.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday urging him to drop recent proposals which amount to "a sweeping takeover by Washington bureaucrats of broadcast media."
In his correspondence, Boehner claimed the "proposals and recommendations for Commission action contained in the NPR amount to the stealth enactment of the Fairness Doctrine, a policy designed to squelch the free speech and free expression of specifically targeted audiences."
What follows is the complete text of this letter which should be of particular interest to all Americans in favor of free speech on the airwaves (emphasis added, file photo):
Yesterday we at NewsBusters noted how Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell is backing an effort to move an up-or-down vote on the Broadcasters Freedom Act (BFA), currently stalled in the House of Representatives. Later that evening on his June 11 radio program, conservative talk show host Mark Levin issued a warning- urge your congressman to support the Broadcasters Freedom Act, or you risk sitting idly by as liberals led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) annihilate free speech on America’s radio waves.
The BFA is a response to the expiration of last year’s one year moratorium of the Fairness Doctrine. That measure passed the House with a 309-vote majority. With so many members of Congress supporting free airwaves just one year ago, one might assume this year’s permanent defense of free speech would fly through the House. Yet the Democratic leadership is blocking the legislation from reaching the House floor for a fair vote because as Levin says "they know it will pass."
Below are Levin’s relevant remarks, audio available here:
Today's starter: Right now I am sitting on a panel at the Talkers Magazine yearly convention where the fur is flying at combined panel featuring talk hosts Jim Bohanon, Monica Crowley, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Lionel, Steve Malzberg, Mancow, Alan Stock, and Tom Sullivan.
Lots of topics were covered but a couple of things stood out: the first is that everyone thought that John McCain will be the winner of the 2008 presidential race with the one exception of Hartmann.
The fairness doctrine also came up and an excellent point was made by Lars Larson that the best way to kill any left-wing support of the idea is to make it apply to news programs too.
My thanks also to Steve Malzberg for the plug for NewsBusters as an "excellent source of evidence about the media's overwhelming liberal bias" during the panel.
This may seem like a "duh," but we have news today that President Bush is against the inaptly named "Fairness Doctrine." I say it may seem like a duh, but it really isn't as axiomatic as you might think because Bush has not really addressed this issue in the past. It may have seemed a good bet to say he was against the concept, but since he never really said much against it before, it is good to finally get him forcefully on the record against this oppressive and currently defunct FCC rule.
Since its demise during the Reagan administration, a return to the "Fairness Doctrine" has been an occasional wish of the liberal, left both in Congress and among the lefty-punditry. Talk of bringing it back began in earnest again during the run up to the 2006 midterms when the Democrats began to imagine they would retake the majority in Congress. And, it has yet to be abated.
In another blow against freedom of speech on the Internet, Fox News is reporting that Google has taken the measure of de-listing the work of an anti-UN blogger named Matthew Lee. For several years, Lee has run the Inner City Press, a small news/opinion site that is focused on criticizing the United Nations. But since Google has teamed up with the UN on recent initiatives, Google has found that Lee's criticism is too much for them to handle.
Mr. Lee has been taking after big targets for a long time, so he is no newcomer to the scene. In 1987 he went after Citigroup with his corruption exposes, but since 2005 the United Nations has been his favorite target. He has especially focused on the "inner workings of what could be called the practical-applications arm of the international organization, the United Nations Development Programme."
I was offered the privilege on Friday of introducing Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana at CPAC, who gave a nice, staunch speech about conservatism and urged John McCain to "embrace the Right and the Right will embrace you." In my introduction, I noted that Brent Bozell said it used to seem like many Republicans on the Hill were conservative leaders when Reagan was president, since they were carrying out Reagan's work. But now, when Republicans are back in the minority and conservatives are discouraged, there might be five people you can identify as conservative leaders on the Hill. You might debate the other four, but nearly everyone nods their head at the mention of Mike Pence. You can see the Pence video at TownHall.
On one of our issues in Medialand -- the reimposition of a "Fairness Doctrine" to clamp down on conservative talk radio -- Pence has been a stalwart. He received several standing ovations, including these lines on freedom of speech:
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr. appeared on WLS Radio in Chicago yesterday morning to discuss the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. During the interview Jackson launched in criticism of this years' Democratic party primary process and the media's coverage of Hillary Clinton. (short audio clip here, full interview here.)
Representative Jackson was specifically critical of the mainstream media for allowing Bill Clinton a platform from which to attack Obama while Hillary Clinton "is sitting around somewhere in a Deli", talking to voters and having "sensitive moments". Jackson concluded the criticism with a blunt "the media just needs to tell him [Bill Clinton] to butt out!"
Team Edwards, both eminently coiffed candidate John and his designated political hitter bride Elizabeth, on Wednesday, Novemeber 21st cancelled their scheduled appearance on The View, doing so, according to the UnDynamic Duo, to “honor the members of the Writers Guild of America”, who are currently on strike.
Not to be outpandered, Michelle Obama, wife of the incredibly audacious Barack, later that same day pulled out of her December 5th guest co-hosting duties.
Obviously, sucking up is more important than being sucked up to in Democratic presidential politics.
This is related to nearly every Donkey candidate promising to not participate in a scheduled December 10th CBS debate (moderated by the ratings Juggernaut Katie Couric) should their news writers decide to join their union brethren and sistren (one must be, in this age of PC, all-inclusive) and abandon that foundering network vessel to the waves unscribed.
The ultra-liberal Seattle Times Op-Ed's the usual 21st century media line; the world is going to hell, only journalists can save us, and everything would be fine if it weren't for that darn Craigslist.
"Media companies, especially newspapers, are by default nearly the lone agents of the democratic form of government."
That statement is actually true, if your version of the word "democratic" uses a big D as opposed to a small d. The mainstream media companies you see today is what's left of 50 years of unchallenged "Democratic" mindset. The reason these bastions of liberal thought are failing is that the Internet age has made their bias apparent to people who, thanks to the Internet age, now have other places to get the news.:
In a recent CBN News report by Melissa Charbonneau on the Fairness Doctrine, jaws dropped across the conservative-Christian segment of America at this section:
Liberals, such as radio host Bill Press, say it's only fair for government to rein in right-wing broadcasters who dominate the airwaves licensed by the government.
"Conservatives rule talk radio," Press said. "Conservatives have their own powerful television network: the only one, the most powerful in the country, the most watched. Liberals have none. Conservatives rule the op-ed pages of all the newspapers."
I was invited in to discuss our PBS Special Report on how there's not exactly a Fairness Doctrine ruling the increasingly liberal taxpayer-funded network. It's a good thing I wasn't in the middle of a glass of water when that quote aired.
Anchor Lee Webb asked me to respond to Press, and I simply said that's not the way conservatives see it. Maybe I should have just said "Bill Press knows better."
The October 16 edition of "Fox and Friends" featured conservative talk trailblazer Rush Limbaugh to discuss Harry Reid’s and 40 other Senate Democrats’ smear of Limbaugh. The radio talk show host called the letter "the smear of a private citizen...based on a total lie."
In response, Rush is now auctioning the letter on E-Bay to raise money for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides scholarships for children of Marines and federal law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty. Rush noted he will match the final bid to go to the same charity. He asked Reid and the other 40 Democrats to do the same. As of this morning, he has "not heard from them."
If the increasingly conventional wisdom that the Netroots movement is now the driving force behind today's Democrat Party is true, than a look into their actual agenda for America is something voters considering supporting Democrat politicians in 2008 might want to take a very close look at. It's posted by Chris Bowers at Open Left and looked at in plain terms, is substantial and should give conservatives and Libertarians cause for concern.
Below are just some bullet points from the larger plan.
You think the "Fairness Doctrine" is bad, you haven't seen anything yet:
Reversing Corporate Media Consolidation. Using improved ownership regulation of American media to help destabilize the impact of the Republican Noise Machine, and create a more diverse, responsive national media, is another key progressive feedback loop.
The ruckus over the Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" statement is dying down. It ought not to. There is a huge story here.
What did Rush say? In a September 26 conversation with a caller to his program who claimed the media never interview "real soldiers," but just people out of the blue, Rush added for emphasis, "the phony soldiers."
The left saw its opportunity and pounced with a vengeance. Led by the George Soros-funded and Hillary Clinton-inspired Media Matters outfit, it unleashed a scorched-earth attack on Limbaugh for insulting the military, stating that any servicemen or women who might oppose the war in Iraq had been defamed by the talk show host as "phony soldiers."
The television networks, newspapers, and leftist blog sites were ablaze with stories about Democratic outrage. There were calls for his show to be yanked from the Armed Forces Radio Network. There were demands that Clear Channel make Rush apologize, and that advertisers pull their sponsorship.
Tavis Smiley Publicist Promotes Justice Clarence Thomas Book Discussion with Character Bashing E-Mail
I received an e-mail this week from Brian Steffen who is the online publicist for Tavis Smiley. The e-mail was a promotion for a PBS airing of a panel discussion on "My Grandfather's Son," the new book by Justice Clarence Thomas. The e-mail consisted of an advance set of excerpts that were designed to entice me to watch the program. The only problem was that every excerpt in the e-mail took a pot shot at Justice Thomas by attacking his character, without substance of course, very much in line with most of the criticisms that Thomas has had to endure mainly because he is a black conservative.
But there is more going on here than the criticism of Justice Thomas as it appears in an unsolicited e-mail. The context of the comments reveal the true biases of liberal educators, certain representatives of black activist organizations and that of the media darlings that put these people on a pedestal. You will soon see that their bias feeds into the notion that the Supreme Court should be used as a tool to create policy and subvert the role of the other two branches of government that most readily represents the people. The bias also allows the panel guests to extend the cry for equal time under fairness doctrine like standards; a cry that is increasingly being used as a weapon to try and silence the free speech rights of conservatives in talk radio, on TV and the internet.