The Censorship Fairness Doctrine has been something near and dear to the hearts of the far left for a long time. With talk radio and the web being the main pillars of the center-right media landscape, effectively neutralizing conservative radio is a fantasy scenario for Bill Moyers and others like him.
That being said, it is becoming more likely that instead of going the congressional route to squelch conservative radio speech, the incoming Obama administration will try an alternate approach through regulatory bodies and the bureaucracy.
Governor: John? It's the Governor here. Say, you guys there at the Bristol Press are doing a great job. Top notch. But there is that one reporter of yours making a big stink over our proposal to increase the state income tax. He really doesn't get what we're trying to do to help our state move forward. And you know, that bill to renew your paper's subsidy is coming up next week. I'd hate to see it get bogged down in the fuss over this. Know what I mean?
Editor: Um, yes, I know, sir.
The conversation is imaginary but the possibility is real. At least, it is if the proposal of seven Connecticut state legislators were ever to be adopted. As reported at the BristolToday blog, the seven have written a letter to the state's Commissioner of Economic and Community Development asking for state "help" for two struggling local newspapers in their districts. [H/t FReeper abb.]
As Barack Obama appears to be appointing less than totally pro-surrender officials to his inner circle, far leftists are feeling constrained in their criticism by Obama Mania.
A Los Angeles Times article by Paul Richter with an amusing title ("Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet") notes that Obama has appointed or is considering many people who originally supported the war in Iraq (this apparently automatically makes them "hawks").
Richter's hawkish characterization of the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton, Vice-president Elect Joe Biden, and John Kerry is inadvertently amusing to any reader who has followed the machinations in Washington since the 110th Congress began in January 2006.
Richter goes to one peace activist, Kevin Martin, to "prove" that Obama is a "centrist." But in the process, as noted in my bold, we see an antiwar zealot acknowledge that Obama Mania has gone over the top:
According to a Friday New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick, Barack Obama has reassigned Fairness Doctrine proponent, former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera, from heading his FCC transition team: “At least one official initially involved in the transition appears to have been reassigned because of concern about his lobbying or legal work. Henry Rivera, a former Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communication Commission who was involved in planning for the agency’s transition, has dropped out of that role because he had represented clients on communications policy in the last year, the newsletter Communications Daily reported Friday.”
Kirkpatrick went on to report on Rivera’s new position in the Obama transition team: “Instead, on the list that was made public on Friday, Mr. Rivera was listed on the team handling science, technology, space and the arts.” Despite the reassignment, it is unclear if Rivera’s influence over a future FCC appointment has diminished. As the Media Research Center’s Seton Motley explained on FNC’s Your World With Neil Cavuto, Obama will have the opportunity to appoint a member to the FCC in 2009, possibly opening the door to a reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
Barack Obama’s transition team has tapped former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera, a longtime proponent of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," to head the team looking for the man or woman who will soon give Democrats a 3-to-2 advantage on the Federal Communications Commission. [CORRECTION ADDED, 11/14]
It’s another troubling sign that Democrats are serious about trying to reinstate the long-defunct FCC regulation, which can more aptly be described as the "Censorship Doctrine" because of its chilling effect on free speech. In effect from 1949 to 1987, the Fairness Doctrine was an obstacle to open discussion of public policy issues on the radio; its removal in the Reagan years spawned the robust talk radio marketplace of ideas now enjoyed by millions.
While talk radio hosts often warned during the campaign that free speech could be trampled by an all-Democratic majority, the broadcast networks have failed to react to this dangerous threat to the First Amendment. A review shows the broadcast networks — whose affiliates could also be regulated — have failed to run even a single story mentioning the push for a new Fairness Doctrine.
If Morning Joe seems every-so-slightly less up-to-date, there's a reason for it. The show is now seven seconds behind the times. A tape delay has been instituted in the wake of Joe Scarborough's unintentional dropping of an f-bomb two days ago.
B&C reported the change yesterday, and NewsBuster Ken Shepherd discussed it here. The Morning Joe crew had fun with the move on today's show. Coming back from its first break, the show aired tape [via Jimmy Kimmel Live] of CNN's Rick Sanchez coming back from a break of his own. With a screen over his shoulder reading "Transition to Power," Sanchez said: "We welcome you black. Uh, welcome you back." Point made: Joe's not the only cable TV guy capable of an embarrassing slip 'o the tongue.
The crew proceeded to a light-hearted discussion of the move to tape delay, with executive producer Chris Licht proudly displaying his finger poised on the red button.
Douglas Turner of the Buffalo News wants conservative radio talkers silenced. He calls them "virulent," "violent" and "coarse" and hopes that starting January 1 the "work of flushing" them will begin. Turner fills his little anti-free speech screed with claims and a few examples of how rotten he thinks righty talkers are and how they need to be shut down, yet can't seem to find a single cross word to say about the "coarseness" of lefty talkers. In other words, it is plain that "coarseness" or "one-sided" radio isn't really a concern of his. Only eliminating the free speech of the right is his goal not any leveling of the playing field.
Naturally, his is filled with prosaic generalizations. Turner assumes that all conservative talk show hosts "were fond" of addressing Obama as "Hussein," his middle name. Yet, Turner offers no list of those that did. He says righty talkers are "violent" but does not offer a single example to prove the allegation. It also seems that Turner can't understand why radio hosts that call themselves conservative would be "one-sided." Curiously, he didn't excoriate Alan Colmes, Randi Rhodes, or Al Franken for being "one-sided." (I know... Imagine that, huh?)
In what can only be described as delusional, Los Angeles Times writer James Rainey attempted to castigate the right wing media as a bitter and resentful group of shameless journalists - attributes that can only describe the liberal media's behavior for at least eight years now.
The title itself, ‘Right-wing media feeds its post-election anger,' demonstrates that Rainey will not be pulling any punches with his article. But why is he focusing on the reaction of conservative talk show hosts less than one week after Obama's election? Did he forget the liberal media's - nay, the mainstream media's - chronic case of misplaced anger since election night of 2000?
The answer, of course, is no. Rainey's employer, the LA Times, has been one of the biggest offenders of liberal media ignorance in quite some time. After all, The Times has produced rants that read like a rap sheet of bias.
In what could be seen as a disturbing sign for the future, the Barack Obama presidential campaign has blocked the Washington Times newspaper from traveling with the Democratic nominee in the final days of the election.
The ostensible reason given was a lack of space:
Times reporter Christina Bellatoni, who has covered the Democratic campaign since 2007 is being asked to leave the campaign plane starting Sunday. In defending its decision, the Obama campaign said it respected Ms. Bellatoni's reporting and simply ran out of seats on the campaign plane for the finale because of high demand. It also noted that the Obama campaign is allowing some news media critical of the democrat to travel, including Fox News.
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."
Students that belong to a pro-life campus group called Cornell Coalition for Life (CCFL) spent weeks and hundreds of dollars organizing a pro-life display to be featured on the Cornell University Engineering Campus in Ithaca, New York. This was no guerilla campaign, either, because the CCFL applied for and received permission for its display. Yet, scarcely an hour had passed before an associate dean for the university summarily decided on her own to support the removal of the display by an administrative assistant despite that the display was approved by the college. This incident happened on October 22, yet the media has completely ignored this troubling story.
The CCFL had erected its "Elena Campaign" signs in the Engineering Quad to raise awareness among students of the earlier stages of fetal development, stages when many falsely imagine that a fetus is just a "lump of cells." As the CCFL says, its "Elena Campaign" is "a series of light-hearted educational signs with pictures and text detailing the biological development of an unborn child."
The CCFL reports that regardless of approval, the dean and her assistant removed the display.
One of the hottest Internet videos during the mortgage and banking crisis has been a YouTube clip titled "Burning Down the House," which outlines the untold story of how liberal Democrats pressured banks and lenders to throw standards out the window and give money to people who couldn't pay it back.
Try watching it now, however, and you won't be able to, thanks to the growing problem of "flag spam," the practice of abusing online filter systems to squelch political speech with which one disagrees.
We've all seen spammers at work in our e-mail inboxes. Experts estimate that 90 percent of all e-mail messages nowadays are spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail.
Luckily for most of us, the majority of it gets filtered out. That's caused the more sophisticated spammers to change course and target a more vulnerable part of the Internet - the hugely popular Web sites like YouTube, Digg and the blogosphere, where anyone can join the discussion by posting videos, essays, reviews and other content.
While taxpayer-funded librarians organize their self-congratulatory "Banned Books Week," all about their raging love for the First Amendment and the right to speak out, Michael Alison Chandler of the Washington Post was kind enough to notice on Friday that social conservatives have figured out that it's fun to shift the charge of "censorship" to the librarians that reject thousands of titles each year, perhaps with a little political and cultural bias in the process:
More than 40 students, many wearing black T-shirts stamped with the words "Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas," said they tried to donate more than 100 books about homosexuality to more than a dozen high school libraries in the past year. The initiative, organized by Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, was intended to add a conservative Christian perspective to shelves that the students said are stocked with "pro-gay" books.
Most of the books were turned down after school librarians said they did not meet school system standards.
Former Clinton Administration officials and liberal news media personalities who have been sharply critical of the "The Path to 9/11" miniseries fail to point out that top executives, editors and researchers connected with the docudrama ,who are actually quite left of center themselves, were supportive of the project, according to a new film that explores the controversy.
"The Path to 9/11" is a two part ABC television miniseries that aired on Sept. 10 and 11 in 2006. It is based in part on the 9/11 commission report and presents viewers with a dramatization of the events that lead up to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. in 2001. The film highlights the U.S. government's ineffective response to terrorism in the 1990s and in the first few months of the Bush administration.
To suggest the "The Path" was conceived for the purpose of singling out and smearing the former president as part of a "right wing hit piece" aimed against the former president simply does not square with reality, since the project was launched and conceived by several openly liberal ABC executives the new film explains.
The candidate of change, the shining proponent of a "new way" in national politics, says that you aren't allowed to bring a sign to his rally. So much for the right of free political speech. To add insult to injury, this rally was held at the publicly funded University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. So, now the government is lending the weight of its authority to squelch free speech. So, where is the hue and cry about this unAmerican activity? Did the media even note this heavy-handed policy?
But, it is all true nonetheless. The rally was held and weak-spined school officials bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the authoritarian penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities. Some few small voices questioned this oppression of American rights, but for the most part no one seems to have noticed that Virginians had their Constitutional rights quashed that day. Shockingly, some even thought it was a good idea.
Amid all the false media hubub about Sarah Palin being an alleged "book banner" comes much more serious news about the British publisher of "Jewel of Medina," a book about the child-bride of Islamic prophet Mohammed has been set afire:
Three men arrested in north London on suspicion of terrorism continue to be questioned by police. They are suspected of attempting to set fire to a publisher's office in Lonsdale Square, Islington.
The publisher, Gibson House, is due to release a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride, entitled "The Jewel of the Medina."
Virginia State Police chaplains can't invoke the name of Jesus Christ during department-sanctioned events.
But to the Associated Press and its reporter Bob Lewis, that's not the story. In all too typical traditional media fashion, and in what I believe is the wire service's first report on the controversy, Lewis decided that the real story is that Republican lawmakers are objecting to the ruling by the state's police superintendent, and to Governor Tim Kaine's agreement with it.
Before getting to what Lewis wrote, here is a local report on what has transpired, from Roanoke TV station WDBJ:
Six of 17 Virginia State Police Chaplains have resigned over a request they not reference Jesus Christ at public events.
Instead, they've been instructed by the Superintendent to offer non-denominational prayers, a decision made following a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Brent Bozell's latest culture column explored how liberal nitpickers landed in Alaska and quickly jumped to conclusions that any right-wing, Jesus-loving politician must be a book-burner. But Brent wonders if many librarians and "civil libertarians" aren't a lot like the liberal media elite, wanting to insure a serious bias in "acceptable information" without any troublesome conservative activism:
As part of the microscopic scrutiny applied to Sarah Palin’s record, the public has been told that as the incoming Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska in 1996, Palin dared to ask the town librarian what would happen if anyone objected to an inappropriate book. She merely inquired, but "anti-censorship" activists, perpetually filled with visions of a trash can full of burning books, exploded.
At the time, the Anchorage Daily News captured the librarian, one Mary Ellen Emmons, putting up her First Amendment dukes. “I told her clearly, I will fight anyone who tries to dictate what books can go on the library shelves,” she said. “And I told her it would not be just me. This was a constitutional question, and the American Civil Liberties Union would get involved, too.”
President Clinton failed to move aggressively against Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists in 1990s because he needed to keep his approval ratings high to avoid impeachment, a new documentary on the 9/11 attacks suggests.
A detailed historical account of the tepid U.S. response to terrorist activity throughout the 1990s that lead up to the terrorist strikes on the American homeland in 2001 has been withheld from the public until now thanks to the "Clinton Machine," John Ziegler, the film's writer and director, maintains.
In 2006 the Disney/ABC television network was set to broadcast a two-night, prime time mini-series entitled: "The Path to 9/11" on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11. The critically acclaimed production was based in part on the 9/11 commission report and presents viewers with a dramatization of the events that lead up to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. in 2001.
The film highlights the U.S. government's ineffective response to terrorism in the 1990s and in the first few months of the Bush administration.
On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, host George Stephanopoulos seemed to buy into the idea that Georgia provoked war with Russia as he asked guest Mitt Romney, "Didn’t President Saakashvili of Georgia bring some of this on himself by going into South Ossetia?" After Romney informed viewers that Georgian troops were deployed in response to violent attacks by South Ossetians, the ABC host followed up by asking Romney to respond to charges that the push, presumably by the United States, to expand NATO and build a missile defense system was perceived by Vladimir Putin as "belligerent and aggressive." Stephanopoulos: "How do you respond to the argument that by pushing for Georgia to be in NATO, by pushing for Ukraine to be in NATO, by putting a missile defense system in Czechoslovakia, this was seen as belligerent and aggressive by Putin and kind of brought him in?"
By early last week, journalists were in the awkward position of refusing to report on explosive allegations that were almost certain to knock the former North Carolina senator out of the Democratic convention. They were in a box of their own making, one that came to feel airtight and uncomfortable.
When critics, especially on the right, accused the media of protecting a Democrat because of liberal bias, journalists were unable to respond, because to do so would be to acknowledge the very thing they were declining to report.
So, why did the Old Media seem to miss the John Edwards Love Affair story? Well, maybe it was because the Old Media hadn't deigned to decide for us that it was "news" until after the New Media had chewed up and spit out the story for days and days? Apparently, that is what David Carr of The New York Times thinks, anyway. In an interview with CNN he alludes to the fact that he is used to the Old Media deciding when something is officially "news" and that maybe he and his contemporary journalists have lost that level of control they were used to enjoying. This fall from grace is being seen most readily in the Edwards story that the New Media had digested for a week before the Old Media got to it
The CNN piece cites many factors from the fact that the Old Media has a disdain for National Enquirer stories to a claim that the Old Media is reticent to exploit sex stories. The former is a sensible precaution and the later an outright laugher. After all, the Old Media had no problem whatsoever in exploiting the rumors of George H.W. Bush's affair, Newt Gingrich's affair, Newt's successor to be Bob Livingston’s affair, the John McCain affair story, Larry Craig's restroom stall story, or Mark Foley's Page Scandal... but then again, THOSE are Republican sex scandals. The same delicacy the Old Media handles sex stories with as claimed by CNN does not exist for those sorts of stories.
Self-censorship toward radical Muslims continues to be a problem in corporate America. The latest casualty: a book by author Sherry Jones about Aisha, the favored wife of Islam's founder Mohammed, whom he is said to have betrothed when she was less than ten years old.
Writing in today's Wall Street Journal, Asra Q. Nomani tells how the book, "The Jewel of Medina," got canceled by would-be publisher Random House thanks to a politically correct professor of Islamic studies named Denise Spellberg:
In an interview about Ms. Jones's novel, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group, said that it "disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now." He said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received "from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."
After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Mr. Perry said the company decided "to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."
Could the NBC honchos be a tad touchy about criticism of the Beijing Olympics—especially when it comes from its own talent pool? Was there a kernel of truth in Mika Brzezinski's light-hearted warning that MSNBC's Morning Joe crew would "get a call" if it persisted in its mocking of the games for whose broadcast rights the Peacock Network has over the years paid billions?
When the subject of the Olympics arose during the opening segment of today's show, the panel went into an extended coughing fit, coupled with cracks about tanks in Tiananmen Square. Mika joined in the joshing for a while, before finally putting her foot down . . .
Somebody call the Epidemiology Branch at the NIH. It's looking as if we're on the verge of a full-fledged epidemic of Obamania. As we noted here, NYT columnist Bob Herbert suffered an acute bout of the malady on live national TV yesterday, seeing visions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument where none existed in the McCain Obama/Spears/Hilton ad. By yesterday evening, Keith Olbermann had contracted the affliction in aggravated form, claiming, as NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth has noted, to see no fewer than three phallic symbols in the same commercial.
Now, yet another variant of the dread disease can be reported, affecting mental rather than visual acuity. In When "Skinny" Means "Black" at his "Chatterbox" column at Slate, Timothy Noah [file photo] claims to see, yes, racism, in mention of the fact that Barack Obama is thin.
Whoops. On the very day that the New York Times takes President Bush harshly to task for failing to promote human rights in China, the president meets at the White House . . . . with five Chinese human rights activists.
In yet another example of why the west might not beat the onslaught of radical Islamofascism, Minette Marrin of the Timesonline thinks she has found a solution to the clash of cultures. Marrin details the extremism evinced by too many Muslims in England and then posits a solution: ban all religion. Talk about an absurd idea. It's as foolish as throwing out the baby with the bath water. It also discounts thousands of years of worthy and enlightened western culture influenced, guided and based on Christian philosophy.
In To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups, Marrin's wooly headed prescription also serves as a fine example of the most shallow of PC, postmodern "thinking." Famed French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré once said that, "to doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." It is a lesson in discernment and critical thinking that escapes most on the left, and specifically this prosaic, anti-intellectual Timesonline columnist.