It's no secret the print newspaper industry is struggling. It's become all too common to hear that papers, like the Christian Science Monitor or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have ceased publishing a print edition and gone completely online.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed this challenge and its impact on a government at the Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society earlier this month. According to Albright, the fourth estate was intended to keep government in check and that countries without a free press tend to be authoritarian societies.
"Let me just say, in terms of Democracy and the free press, I think it is absolutely an essential part and all we have to do is go back and look at our Constitution," Albright said. "But I have looked at this from a number of different angles. When I was an academic, wrote about the role of the press internationally in political change. And there is no question in my mind, in terms of authoritarian societies, if you do not have information, you can't operate and it is power."
Today Media Research Center (MRC) president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell denounced the Obama administration for its plans to delve into the private sector for the purposes of researching and regulating the national news media.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced plans for a two-day workshop in December to examine the state of the news industry - which could lead to recommendations for legislation to regulate print, television, and even online media on everything from changes in anti-trust land copyright law to media tax breaks. Some of the proposals being pushed by opinion leaders include direct government funding of media outlets, while other ideas like relaxing anti-trust regulations would still need government approval.
Mr. Bozell issued the following statement in response:
Appearing on his program yesterday, Media Research Center's Seton Motley talked with Glenn Beck about the various regulations the FCC's new diversity czar Mark Lloyd wants to bring upon the terrestrial radio industry, particularly conservative-dominated talk radio.
GLENN BECK: When you read the new diversity officer, what is the most disturbing thing that you have seen? What are the things that he says that stick out to you?
SETON MOTLEY: Well, he's fundamentally opposed to virtually any private ownership of media. [...]
BECK: Tell me exactly what his plan is.
MOTLEY: His plan is to use the nebulous FCC regulations of media diversity and localism to travel alternative routes to arrive at the same destination as the Fairness Doctrine, which is to shut you up by shutting you down. He wants to assault the radio industry to effect an ideological outcome...
You can view the entire segment embedded above on the right.
Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and the brain trust at ThinkProgress probably won't like this, but CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer thinks the Glenn Beck boycott won't have an impact on NewsCorp's (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of Fox News, bottom line.
During the "Stop Trading" segment on "Street Signs" Aug. 24, Cramer explained that Unilever (NYSE:UN) was going all out with its advertising, by not avoiding shows that might offend someone's political sensibilities. Cramer said that strategy was paying off for Unilever, whose stock is up 10 percent since July.
"When I look at it, it's very interesting because there's an article in the same magazine, Ad Age magazine, about how like Unilever is spending like mad, and that they're going to be, Unilever had a spectacular quarter," Cramer said. "My take is that whoever is just trying to parcel and figure out where to be in the Fox News or where to be in the MSNBC, ought to take their cue from Unilever, which had the best quarter of all packaged goods because they flooded all media and it showed that those who pulled back, whether it be from Glenn Beck, or whether it be from Olbermann, didn't do as well as Unilever, which was all in during this period where the rates went down."
As each day passes and President Barack Obama's health care proposal faces more and more opposition, some of the talking heads that appear on the cable news networks are looking for a "boogeyman" to blame for allegedly ginning up backlash. And that "boogeyman" has been conservative talk radio.
However, if recent history is any indication, there could be an effort to take silence conservative talk radio.
Some of the circumstances surrounding the current debate on "reforming" health care are eerily familiar to the 2007 bipartisan effort to "reform" immigration. In fact, the last big policy issue that was defeated when an upset constituency pushed back was the bipartisan 2007 effort to reform immigration.
"Diversity Czar" Lloyd: Regulating Conservative Stations Within an Inch of Their Lives
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has publicly released a letter he penned to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski regarding the July 29th announced appointment of new FCC Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd.
In the press release accompanying the missive, the Senator said he was "concerned with the appointment due to Lloyd’s writings on political talk radio and the Fairness Doctrine."
As the Senator's letter goes on to detail, there is very much more to fear from Lloyd than merely his views on the so-called "Fairness" Doctrine. Lloyd's intentions on the enforcement of the FCC regulations known as "media diversity" and "localism" are no picnic either.
In advance of then-nominee Genachowski's June 16 Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing, my boss - Media Research Center President Brent Bozell - drafted and publicly released a list of questions that Genachowski should have been asked.
Sadly, with the exception of the most pro forma of queries about the mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine, he was not.
Genachowski therefore remains a blank slate on his "media diversity" and "localism" enforcement intentions. We are thusly left to think the worst about his appointment of Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd. The Chairman has to have read Lloyd's writings; his appointing him must mean Genachowski at least tacitly accepts Lloyd's views on the subjects at hand.
Seton Motley, the Media Research Center's Director of Communications, was on the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck to discuss the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s new "Chief Diversity Officer," Mark Lloyd.
Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is virulently anti-capitalist, almost myopically racially fixated and exuberantly pro-regulation. He is a frightening guy to have having any power at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And yet that is exactly where he currently stands, astride the private radio industry he loathes like a Socialist Colossus.
It does not bode well for free speech on the radio airwaves, but as Seton says to Glenn during this appearance, "That's irrelevent to these people."
This is insane. The "Chief Diversity Officer" in question, Mark Lloyd, is calling for the gross operating budget for every private radio station each year to be the fee (tax) they pay for their broadcast license for the year, with the monies going to the always liberal public stations. With whom they then must compete for listeners.
Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is - from all we have read and are reading - virulently anti-capitalist, almost myopically racially fixated and exuberantly pro-regulation. He is a frightening guy to have having any power at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And yet that is exactly where he currently stands, astride the private radio industry he loathes like a Socialist Colossus.
This excellent article by Cover is but the tip of the iceberg on this guy; there will be much more to follow as we continue to wade through his deeply disturbing writings. For instance, we have his farcical book on order.
When Vice President Joe Biden warned us to gird our loins, he apparently meant for us to do so in preparation for his Administration.
UPDATE: Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin read this piece in nearly its entirety last night. His on-air stylings can be found here.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a new "Chief Diversity Officer," communications attorney Mark Lloyd.
But Doctor of Jurisprudence Lloyd is far more than merely a communications attorney. He was at one time a Senior Fellow at the uber-liberal Center for American Progress (CAP), for whom he co-wrote a June 2007 report entitled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio."
Which rails against the fact that the American people overwhelmingly prefer to listen to conservative (and Christian) talk radio rather than the liberal alternative, and suggests ways the federal government can remedy this free-market created "problem."
Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.
Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.
These last two get perilously close to the use of "localism" to silence conservative (and Christian) radio stations, about which we have been warning for quite some time.
You know, liberals should be celebrating. Their man, The Won, is in the White House. They have control of both the House and the Senate, and legislation such as cap and trade and nationalized health care may well become reality - European socialism without having to leave the comfort of home. The Brave New World is on the way. Rejoice in mediocrity for all!
So why are they so grumpy? I suppose it’s because the idea that anyone might stray from the reservation is anathema to them, and this little thing in our Constitution called the First Amendment kind of gets in the way of collective happiness and singing Kumbaya around the campfire.
Noted free-speech champion Keith Olbermann has declared that we have to "legally stop" Glenn Beck. The Fox News host's crime? Not reacting strongly enough for Olbermann's taste when a guest made an over-the-top remark. [H/t reader JKF.]
On the June 30 editon of Beck's show, former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer said: "the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to detonate a major weapon in the United States." Apparently Scheuer thinks that's what it would take to shock the country and its leaders back to their senses. Olbermann was infuriated that Beck didn't "scream at him" or otherwise jump down Scheuer's throat, choosing instead to nod gravely while suggesting that would be the last thing OBL would do.
Today's dispatch from the Associated Press about the Chinese Communist government's attempt to require that a state-developed program called "Green Dam Youth Escort" be installed on all new personal computers sold in that country is all too typical of the awful reporting on this potentially frightening development.
I will refer to Green Dam Youth Escort as "the GD software" for the balance of this post. Many readers will find this abbreviation particularly appropriate once they fully understand everything the GD software could potentially do.
The latest news about the GD software is that the government has delayed what was to be a July 1 installation requirement, but that it intends to go forward with that mandate at some point. In the meantime, for reasons not fully vetted, many PC makers have begun shipping units with the GD software either already installed or included on an accompanying CD.
Considering the gravity of what the Chinese Communist government is trying to do to its people, worldwide media coverage of the GD software has been much lighter than justified. Somehow, what may happen to the free speech and free expression rights of 1.3 billion people isn't anywhere near as important as what's happening in connection with an entertainer who has been dead for a week.
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling:
“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try. “What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.” Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran. “When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,” Thomas said.
The day before the House was to vote on a controversial energy bill destined to be the largest tax hike in American history, it was revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency had suppressed an internal report challenging the entire global warming myth.
Despite the importance of this study, and how it related to a debate about to ensue on the House floor, its existence and suppression went almost completely ignored by America's media.
This, of course, comes in stark contrast to regular and frequent news reports in previous years accusing the Bush White House of intentionally censoring the science of climate change.
Making matters worse, the media have no excuse for this current oversight for several House members held a press conference about this issue early Thursday afternoon (h/t NBer Joseph Johnson):
Riding on a waning crest of bringing change to the United States and cleaning up the environment, Barack Obama is going head to head against Barbara Boxer on a big issue. There are 44 coal ash dumps that have been designated as a "high hazard" to the public. They contain arsenic and heavy metals from coal plants. Barbara Boxer has seen the list and wants to make it public, whereas Barack Obama essentially told her "No, ma'am." It's important to know if you're in the path of one in case it regurgitates a billion gallons of hazardous waste on you.
Green groups are seeing red over this betrayal of campaign promises to bring a new era of openness. In fact, the average Earth-conscious moonbat is going to do a chai tea spit-take when they read about this in the newspaper. (And just wait until they read about Obama deciding to let Big Coal blow the top off 42 Appalachian mountaintops to strip mine.)
But that's where the problem lies. Jump on over to Google News and search for the term "Obama Coal Arsenic". You'll find that you won't really find anything. Anything. In fact, the only mention in the entire vast United States media is a short little editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Concerned that “we know little or nothing” of President Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Media Research Center President (MRC) Brent Bozell sent an open letter on June 15 to the Senate Commerce Committee urging the members to thoroughly query Julius Genachowski.
The panel, headed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) , will hold hearings today on Genachowski’s nomination for the chairmanship of the FCC and for Commissioner Robert McDowell’s reconfirmation.
Commissioner McDowell “has been and remains a bulwark against a return of the Censorship Doctrine – also mis-known as the “Fairness” Doctrine. We know where he stands,” Bozell noted, adding that Genachowski’s views on “critical issues” like censorship, “localism” and “diversity” requirements are unknown.
“Mr. Genachowski must be asked about all of these issues. It is imperative that you - and the American people - get answers to these questions,” Bozell urged the senators on the Commerce Committee. Listed below are a few of the questions the MRC president would like asked:
Leave it to a liberal with a microphone to condemn a practice he relishes when not pontificating.
A recent example -- Ed Schultz from one day to the next on his radio show last week.
On Wednesday, Schultz had this to say about conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt urging Americans not to buy GM or Chrysler vehicles since they are now manufactured by largely government-owned "socialist" companies (click here for audio)
Wall Street Journal reporter Mei Fong wrote a report Fridayabout how some families in China, perhaps with the help of criminals, are marrying off their daughters with no intent of having them honor their vows in order to keep the "bride price," an amount a groom's family typically pays the bride's family.
This development is just one of many perverse side-effects of resulting from the Chinese Communist government's one-child policy (image at top right was found at this web address), which has now been in place for three decades. Because of that policy and the country's male-preferring culture, far more pre-born girls than boys have been aborted, leading to a serious male-female imbalance.
Despite the history, Fong somehow managed to get through her 26-paragraph report without mentioning the terms "abortion" or "one-child."
Here are the relevant paragraphs, with euphemistic words in bold after the title:
However, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh theorized that President Obama may have another method to restrict content over the airwaves in mind. In an interview on Sean Hannity's June 4 Fox News Channel program, Limbaugh explained how Obama could do this - by exercising the influence the government has over the banking sector.
"I want to say one other thing, even if I go over time here," Limbaugh said. "People ask me about the Fairness Doctrine all the time and I've been watching something here - newspapers are losing money. Advertising revenue is down, circulation. But radio companies, too, Sean. Television companies - their advertising revenues are down."
On May 22 of 2009, the Liberty University College Democrats were widely reported to have been shut down by the school’s administration. These reports came across a broad spectrum of media – a search of LexisNexis for the terms “College Democrats” and “Liberty University” from May 20 through today turns up 72 results. Among these results are 35 newspaper articles (among them, the Washington Post and L.A. Times),13 newswires or press releases (including one from the Associated Press), and even two mentions on MSNBC, a 24-hour cable news network.
Ratings aside, a local college club getting face time on a cable news network is quite a feat.
On June 4, 2009, FoxNews.com reported that a nascent Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) was banned from administration approval at a community college in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
According to LexisNexis, FoxNews.com is the only news entity to report on this so far.
Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell yesterday recorded a video thanking the MRC Grassroots Action Team - made up of more than 600,000 individual activists - for their signing nearly 400,000 Free Speech Alliance (FSA) petitions which were delivered yesterday to the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The petition in part "urge(s) members of Obama's Federal Communications Commission (the FCC) and everyone in Washington to reject any and all efforts to censor, limit, or restrain conservative or Christian talk radio."
Mr. Bozell also discusses the MRC's Four Day Call-A-Thon to the offices of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid - which is taking place right now and runs through close of business Thursday - where MRC Action Team members, many, MANY members of the FSA and a whole host of individual radio stations and hosts are having their grassroots/members/listeners place calls to their offices demanding a full, fair stand-alone vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA), which would prohibit the FCC from reimposing the Censorship Doctrine, also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine.
And we are asking you to join in the festivities. Please, in true Chicago voting fashion, call early and often. Speaker Pelosi's number is (202) 225-4965, and Leader Reid's is (202) 224-3542.
We humbly suggest you say something along the lines of:
Today the Media Research Center’s Free Speech Alliance (FSA) will deliver nearly 400,000 petitions – combined with thousands of calls and faxes - to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging them to allow a full, fair stand-alone floor vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA).
"Free speech on the radio airwaves remains in peril so long as the FCC is just a 3-2 vote away from reinstating the mis-named 'Fairness' Doctrine," MRC President Brent Bozell argued in a June 1 statement. What's more, the doctrine "remains a threat to free speech as long as elected officials like Pelosi and Reid... refuse to give the Broadcaster Freedom Act a vote."
The Free Speech Alliance (www.FreeSpeechAlliance.us) is made up of sixty-seven (67) organizations representing millions of Americans dedicated to defending free speech against a return of the Censorship Doctrine or any other assault on the First Amendment and talk radio. National talk show hosts Lars Larson and Rusty Humphries have also been heavily involved in the petition effort.
The Upside Down Ratings World of NABOB On April 9 we wrote of an asinine assertion made about the new Arbitron radio ratings system by soon to be transferred Democratic Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. Well now President Barack Obama has put the imprimatur of his FCC and Administration on Adelstein's addled notion.
Since the inception of tracking those who listen to Guglielmo Marconi's marvelous invention, Arbitron had relied on a personal pen-and-paper diary system and the journal-keepers' honor and memory as to what they had listened and for how long they had done so. The potential for misremembering and book-cooking was simply staggering.
So Arbitron came up with a pager-esque device called the Portable People Meter (PPM). This gadget automatically tracks to where the radio dial is tuned, thereby virtually eliminating human error and the ability to cheat.
Obviously, this is far more accurate way to establish who is listening to whom, right? If you do find this to be a self-evident truth, you are not a master of the obvious, you are - according to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) - a racist bigot.
How so? Because the ratings under the new regime revealed that the numbers for hip-hop, urban and other racial minority stations had long been incorrectly inflated (and conversely the listenership of talk radio had long been underreported).
And this, you see, is not the better results of technological advancement, this is racism.
Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Copps insists that the so-called Fairness Doctrine is "long gone" and "not coming back." But liberal legislators such as socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Democratic presidential aspirants Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) have recently called for a return of the anti-free speech.
That's why Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell is calling on FCC Chairman Copps to call for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring the Broadcaster Freedom Act to the floor for an up-or-down vote:
When this many high-powered elected officials are calling for a return of the mis-named ‘Fairness’ Doctrine, and are actively opposing a vote on the bill to prevent the FCC from reinstating it, it isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s a determination to shut down free speech on talk radio.
The solution is simple: Chairman Copps should call on Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to allow a full, fair stand alone vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act. That way we will know once and for all how each member of Congress thinks – are they for free speech, or are they for the ‘Fairness’ Doctrine?
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: