Call it an ominous warning, but Fox News Channel afternoon host and ratings sensation Glenn Beck on Wednesday cautioned viewers that government is strengthening its grip of power and is not going to stop at the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Beck declared on his May 6 broadcast the government is out of control, noting that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were a weekly occurrence, including efforts to make the TARP bailout more transparent earlier this year from the Treasury Department.
"We've got a government out of control and I'm telling you, it is up to you to control it," Beck said. "These stories of corruption and abuse of power, I'm going to continue to bring them to you as long as I possibly can, and everybody else on this network is dedicated. But it seems like every week this network is filing another Freedom of Information Act request. Even with all the resources of Fox, the truth still can't be fully exposed without you. I ask you, please - help us. Meet us here every day. Tell all of your friends what you learn here. Spread it. E-mail me. Tell me what I'm missing. We will do the best we can to provide you with the information, but it is a little overwhelming."
Looks like it is just starting to dawn on some lefties that Obama is ushering in an era of oppression of free speech. So it seems for Laura Varon Brown of the Detroit Free Press, at least. Oh, she isn't saying that Obama himself is trampling on free speech, but she is starting to understand that the left's penchant for political correctness is serving the function as a sort of self-imposed oppression no matter what Obama says. It's getting so bad, according to Brown, that any criticism of Obama is treated as akin to treason... at least it is in the "circles" she runs in, anyway.
Brown can count herself in the same boat as the late-night comedy shows that are finding that any criticism of The One is verboten to their left-wing audiences. Even the supposedly unshakable Bill Maher, who congratulates himself on his bravery for taking on the establishment, has found that he's had to shy from criticizing Obama. These people are seeing that attacking "The Man" is not so funny when it is their man in the crosshairs. Suddenly such folks have a new-found respect for the office and a more circumspect behavior toward the president is now du jour.
Behold one of the new "Fairness" Doctrines - "media diversity" - coming soon to a radio station near you.
President Barack Obama's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released the names of the thirty-one members of their Advisory Committee On Diversity For CommunicationsIn The Digital Age. This May 7 gathering is made up of a laundry list of left-wing grievance groups, with a smattering of radio and television companies included to break up the monotony.
Not a single conservative organization is taking part in this Commission - more than a dozen Leftist groups are. A little ironic for a "diversity" panel, is it not?
Chairing the meeting is Henry Rivera, a former FCC Commissioner who was (and presumably still is) a strong proponent of the Censorship Doctrine, also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine.
Many, many liberals in Washington have over the last several years called for a reinstatement of the Doctrine. But push-back from people who have read and actually understand the First Amendment led the Left to realize that the political price to bring it back was too high, so they MovedOn.org.
Of course, their desire to silence the lone voices of their opposition had not lessened in the slightest. They're still just as dictatorial, just pragmatically so.
The folks at The Hill alerted me to the fact that the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has decided to oppose any reinstitution of the inaptly named Fairness Doctrine.
I know, imagine that... as lefty a group as the SPJ actually agreeing with conservatives that the Fairness Doctrine is an abomination of our Constitutional right to free political speech! You can knock me over with a feather, and all.
The Hill is right to quip that this makes for strange bedfellows, but it would seem like a no-brainer for anyone interested in Constitutional rights and a jealous protection of free speech no matter whose it is:
When Hollywood movies and their stars trash America's brave soldiers, the anti-war press can't give them enough attention.
Yet, when cast and crew members of the soon to be released prequel of the sci-fi classic "Star Trek" visited service men and women in Kuwait on Saturday, newsrooms across the fruited plain couldn't care less.
Our cosmopolitan elites have embraced the smutty Fox cartoon "Family Guy." A month ago, oh-so-sophisticated National Public Radio used their parody song "Everybody Poops" to report on Julius Genachowski, the incoming chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps it was NPR’s way of welcoming in an Obama appointee who everyone expects will "lighten up" at the FCC and let Hollywood go wild with its "poetic license."
Now it’s ABC’s "Nightline" paying homage to "Family Guy," and in the process, telling us a lot more about "Nightline" than about this stupid show. They presented the show’s lame-brained "mastermind" Seth MacFarlane as a man of incredible talent, even a genius. At the top of their April 6 show, anchor Martin Bashir cooed: "Funny Guy. No topic is too taboo, no subject off limits for this critically acclaimed cartoonist."
The Left's Preferred Weaponry - Sometimes The Left is so often keen on science and technology - until they're not. The moment modernity proves them wrong, they demand a return to the Dark Ages.
They bawdily bandy about the "scientific consensus" on global warming. Until mounting contrary evidence and with it an ever-growing number of scientists disagreeing with their apocalyptic assessment force them to shove their heads in the sand and declare the debate closed.
And the solution of these pro-technology liberals to their contrived eco-cataclysm? Full-fledged anti-industrial economic devolution back to the Dutch days of tilting at windmills and warming on a rock in the sun.
They scream bloody murder about butterfly ballots in 2000, so we go electronic and they then divine Diebold conspiracy theories and wish a return to the days of quill and parchment.
A few weeks ago, MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann got exercised at Brit Hume's crediting the Media Research Center for providing fodder for the "Political Grapevine" of his FNC show "Special Report." He was quickly shown as a hypocrite for taking that very information from a left-wing blog.
On April 7, Olbermann was at it again, taking banter from left-wing blogs to attack individuals that promote and celebrate the 2nd Amendment during his "Worst Person in the World" segment.
First, he went after the National Rifle Association because someone sold an anti-Obama T-shirt outside an event at which the NRA was recruiting new members.
The University of Maryland -- my alma mater, for full disclosure -- has made national headlines this week with a pirate-themed porn flick originally scheduled for a full-length screening last Saturday at the campus theater. Under pressure from state legislators, campus officials backed down, yet a student group stepped in the gap, pledging to screen the film in a lecture hall yesterday evening.
Only 30 minutes of the feature-length "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" were screened last night by a group of students running for election in the school's student government, but it was coupled with a panel discussion on freedom of speech, featuring an ACLU representative and some campus college professors.
Covering the story, Tirza Austin of the student newspaper The Diamondback noted that even in the "fraction of the film" screened, "the segment was still explicit and included two different sets of threesomes - one with 'Devil Stick Willy' and two blondes in corsets."
But that wasn't enough for the Diamondback's editors, who included a link to video of the panel discussion AND film screening.
The hubbub over conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh proclaiming he hoped the policies enacted by President Barack Obama fail has gone on for months. It has drawn scorn and condemnation from voices in the media and on the left.
However, one committed and very controversial lefty isn't as up in arms about it as one might have thought he would be. HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher told the Orlando Sentinel on April 6 Limbaugh's remarks weren't as outrageous as some of his allies on the left have alleged. However, he did manage to take one shot at the conservative radio host.
"Maher says he is surprised the Republicans didn't give Obama more of a honeymoon," Hal Boedeker, the television critic for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote. "His take on Rush Limbaugh? ‘We all say crazy stuff when we're high,' Maher says, with a laugh. But Maher doesn't criticize Limbaugh for a line about hoping Obama will fail."
As has been mentioned here before, the Media Research Center is heading up the Free Speech Alliance (FSA). Made up thus far of sixty-five organizations, the FSA is dedicated to protecting the freedom of speech of all practitioners of conservative and Christian talk radio from any and all government regulatory censorship.
Well here is an excellent piece by Peter Ferrara of the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), a Free Speech Alliance member organization, that appeared in Sunday's Washington Times.
This essay captures perfectly the other half of the argument we are making. Just as Rush, Sean, Mark et. Al. have the First Amendment-guaranteed Freedom to Speak, We the People have the First Amendement-guaranteed Freedom to Listen.
The Left's attempts to take away the former inherently abridge the latter too.
We will at this point allow Mr. Ferrara to speak expertly for himself.
When MTV creates hazardous waste on television, there is no Superfund cleanup program. Worse still, sometimes their toxic programs end up getting recycled by desperate executives eager for a sleazy splash. Fox is the latest network to ooze desperation by trying to take Its hottest program, "American Idol," a huge hit with families, and follow it with "Osbournes Reloaded," a show so vile and lacking in redeeming social value that even Fox affiliates (reaching up to 11 percent of the nation’s viewers) have delayed or refused to air it.
After seeing the promos for the program and looking at the six-minute "sizzle reel" the network sent their way, at least 16 Fox TV stations refused to air the rocker-shockers’ truncated 35-minute "variety" special. An additional 10 Fox stations moved it into late night, as late as 1:35 in the morning. Fox was so concerned it screened the whole special for the Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, which sadly decided to stick with sewage in prime time on its 19 affiliates.
Spreading the WordMedia Research Center Founder and President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell issued the following statement on the meteoric rise in the ratings Rush Limbaugh has enjoyed since the inception of the Obama White House and the Democrats' all-out coordinated attack against him.
As announced yesterday, audience numbers surged for Rush-carrying stations across the country, including in several of the nation's largest markets like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. Since the orchestrated campaign continued into March, ratings could reach even greater heights for this month.
I guess he gets partial credit for honesty. And if this latest example of the Left's rush to suppression via Obama's FCC makes you think of the old Censorship Doctrine or any of the new ones -- "localism," "diversity in media ownership" and serving the "public interest" -- well, it should.
The Oklahoma senator gave a lengthy floor speech and mentioned that Sen. Jim DeMint's effort to force an up-or-down vote on the Fairness Doctrine issue, which passed 87-11 in the Senate, was a good beginning.
"Last week's vote was the first nail in the coffin of the Fairness Doctrine, but it was not the end of the attempt on the part of some people to regulate the airwaves," Inhofe said. "Now, I have long been outspoken on this issue, and it gives me great satisfaction that so many of my colleagues voted in favor of free speech over government regulation last week, but the debate has changed."
He warned that an amendment offered by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., which passed 57-41, was equally as threatening.
Law may allow preemptive, premature rescission of broadcast licensesBy Any Other Name Still Stings
Yesterday by a whopping 87-11 vote, the Senate added as a rider to the passed DC voting rights bill the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA). The BFA, if also passed by the House and signed by the President, would kill once and for all the Censorship Doctrine -- also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine.
Much Conservative celebration ensued. However, the revelry is misplaced and premature. It means only that the Left means to destroy Conservative and Christian talk radio by other means.
Because another rider was added via a party-line 57-41 vote. Written by Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, S.160's Purpose is "To encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership, and to ensure that the public airwaves are used in the public interest."
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh published an open letter to Barack Obama Friday imploring the new president to prevent his Party from destroying free speech in America by censoring political views on the airwaves:
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?
Limbaugh's words were in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (h/t Hot Air):
Recently, past and present Democratic politicians have spoken out in favor of reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said it was "absolutely time to pass a standard." Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, came out with a similar message, saying, "We need the Fairness Doctrine back." And former President Bill Clinton said, "You either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side."
However, one has spoken out not in favor of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. Former President Jimmy Carter, not known for his temperament when it comes to denouncing conservative ideals, told a Phoenix radio station, KTAR's Mac & Gaydos that he is not in favor of the Fairness Doctrine.
After getting smacked around by Fox News's Megyn Kelly Monday, liberal talker Bill Press went on WOR radio's Steve Malzberg Show and accidentally exposed his real goal in supporting a re-enactment of the Fairness Doctrine: he wants to be heard.
In fact, he also wants the Fairness Doctrine back for his own financial gain:
I know why I'm interested in it because I get up every morning at 3:45, I do three hours of talk radio every day from six to nine, that's my life, it's my business, I want to make money at it, and I want to be heard.
Wow. Talk about your inconvenient truths!
Those interested in hearing Press's greedy admission should forward to minute 8:50 of this audio link (relevant section transcribed below the fold):
Heritage's points are even more valid today than they were 16 years ago.
At the time, which "so happened" to be the first year of the last Democratic administration, there was legislation in Congress called the "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993" that would have restored the doctrine, which had been overturned by the Federal Communications Commission in 1987.
Here are the three faulty premises highlighted by Heritage's Adam Thierer, followed by why they are even more faulty now:
And today on CNN Radio New York Democratic Representative Maurice Hinchey re-asserted his long held desire to reinstate the Censorship Doctrine.
From the CNN website:
"I think the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," Hinchey told CNNRadio. Hinchey says he could make it part of a bill he plans to introduce later this year overhauling radio and t-v ownership laws.
Free Speech and Free Markets? Nah.For the third time in eight days, a prominent liberal has called for a return of the Censorship Doctrine, otherwise mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine. This time it's former President and current high-dollar global thug speechifier -- and husband of the Secretary of State -- Bill Clinton.
Kudos and our sympathy to Michael Calderone at the Politico, who has to listen to a lot of really bad radio to get these quotes.
On NewsBusters we have for a few years now been chronicling the constant failure of the media to label a criminal or troubled politician with his party affiliation when that politician is a Democrat, we all know. Every couple of days we detail a new "name that party" story where an Old Media outlet reports on a Democrat politician arrested, convicted, or accused of a crime though he seems never to be labeled as such. We've also noted many times the opposite tale where a recalcitrant pol that happens to be a Republican finds his party receiving top billing in the Old Media. We have dozens and dozens of examples.
Well, it appears that at least one member of Congress has noticed the same thing and has mentioned the media's penchant for Democrat Party passing on the floor of the House of Representatives. The Hill's Briefing Room blog gives us the story.
In yet another example of flag spamming and poor corporate over sight Facebook decided this week to remove an ad from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. The group was advertising a petition on their site nostimulus.com which lets people voice their opposition to the near $800 billion stimulus going through congress right now.
After originally screening and approving the ad CNS News, a sister site of NewsBusters and the Media Research Center, reports that Facebook claimed to have received some complaints from users. They then proceeded to put a disapproval notice on it and then yank it from the site all together and notified Americans for Prosperity of their reasoning:
Once the NoStimulus.com Web site started getting a large volume of visitors, Kerpen told CNSNews.com, “they put a disapproval notice on it and they pulled the ad."
A month ago, I noted a comment by Chicago Sun-Times writer Carol Marin who was mildly complaining that President Obama never goes before the press without having a list of pre-approved journalists upon whom he'll call during a press conference. She offhandedly quipped that in the press corps, "most of us don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day."
I wondered last month how long it would take for anyone else in the press corps to notice Obama's tendency to hand pick from among the free press who he will deign to allow to ask a question? I also wondered if this same "free press" would have meekly allowed president Bush get away with treating the press in such a way? Or would they have raised a hue and cry that would have deafened the world? Drudge. at least, noticed then because within a day my post had wracked up over 200,000 views. But, until February 11, no one in the press has seemed too interested in discussing this issue.
The Senator Of Course Gets to Keep His MicrophoneIt seems you can't swing a dead cat in the United States Senate without hitting another proponent of a reinstatement of the Censorship Doctrine.
In today's Politico Michael Calderone delivers the second addition to the censors list in less than a week. Last Thursday, it was Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. Today it's Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin.
Both were appearing on the ever dwindling, shrinking by leaps and bounds Bill Press Radio Show, enjoyed by tens all across the nation.
“Did Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) really believe she could get away with calling for conservative talk radio censorship without revealing her husband's past ties to its troubled liberal counterpart?” the Radio Equalizer's Brian Maloney asked in a Friday night posting. “One day after telling libtalker Bill Press she was interested in pushing Senate hearings into the issue of regulating talk radio content, that's the jaw-dropping conclusion we must make.”
Maloney provided a rundown of “the Stabenow-Athans connection to 'progressive' talk radio” as he listed a “connect-the-dots recap....between her stance and the longstanding ties of Athans to the fledgling libtalk format.” Specifically:
- Athans first found a role in "progressive" talk radio back in 2004 as CEO of Democracy Radio, which preceded Air America and whose programming (Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller) was ultimately absorbed by Jones Radio Networks (now part of Dial Global).