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.
Bloggers are being arrested more and more as the importance of the Internet is realized by governments across the world, at least so warns the BBC. It seems an alarming report where community activists and democracy advocates are finding themselves being oppressed by government, arrested, and maybe even tortured because of their blogging. But, one little fact of the story is never really focussed on in this alarming BBC report on the release of the WIA report from the University of Washington. The fact that bloggers aren't threatened much in democratic nations has been glossed over by this report.
Unfortunately, a cursory reading of this piece would leave the reader with the vague feeling that people all over the world are being arrested merely because they are blogging, but that isn't quite the case. The way this report is written serves as a perfect example of a PCism more concerned with upsetting the tender sensibilities of tyrannical, undemocratic governments, than in reporting the oppression of its citizens. It's a PCism gone so far that it makes the report uninformative at least to the most important aspect of the reason these bloggers are being arrested.
The Associated Press has issued a legal threat to left-leaning news and commentary site The Drudge Retort on Thursday, claiming copyright infringement in a series of articles. One example of infringement provided by site operator Rogers Cadenhead consisted of a 57-word citation, taken from a 442-word article—A small fraction of the entire article, and certainly not any more than is necessary to pique the reader's interest in clicking over to the main AP article. I ran into similar problems with the AP way back in March, so I can definitely empathize with Cadenhead's situation.
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:
Typically one does not associate the word inquisition with our neighbors up north in Canada, and yet that is pretty much what is going on there to conservative author and columnist Mark Steyn. Minus the violence, Steyn is being subjected to a twisted court system that always finds defendants guilty and conducts itself in an utterly capricious way.
Steyn's crime? Daring to criticize radical Islam, an offense that many in this country would would no doubt love to criminalize. For his temerity, Steyn and the Canadian magazine Maclean's (which printed Steyn's essay, an excerpt from his book) are being put on trial by the "human rights commission" of British Columbia, one of several such bodies both Steyn and Maclean's have been forced to deal with by the Canadian Islamic Congress. Incredibly, the group claims that its human rights were violated because Maclean's did not allow one of its members a chance to respond in the publication.
What to do about this outrage? The editors at National Review have a few suggestions:
It certainly wasn't surprising how press outlets desperately trying to depict the economy as depression-like in order to get Barack Obama in the White House were practically giddy following the dour jobs report released by the Labor Department last Friday.
What was shocking given the portion of May's unemployment rate rise attributed to high school and college students looking for summer jobs was that virtually no press outlets considered the impact last year's minimum wage hike might have had on young Americans finding temporary positions between school years.
Consider this op-ed published in Monday's Washington Examiner authored by Kristen Lopez Eastlick, the senior economic analyst at the Employment Policies Institute (emphasis added throughout):
Does the First Amendment guarantee a television host’s job security? Former Boston CN8 anchor Barry Nolan suggests just that.
Right of center Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently received the Governors’ Award at the Boston/New England Chapter Emmy Awards. The local CN8 anchor objected to O’Reilly’s honor and passed out the public details of O’Reilly’s sexual harassment lawsuit. CN8 subsequently fired Mr. Nolan.
Nolan aired his protest on the left-wing website ThinkProgress.org claiming free speech has become a "myth" adding "in today’s America, speech is only ‘free’ when you are talking down to someone less powerful than you."
Unless Mr. Nolan is penning this letter from a prison cell, his free speech rights have not been violated. As an American, he certainly has the right to speak out against Bill O’Reilly. However, anchoring a news show is a privilege, not a right. CN8 had the right to fire Barry Nolan for his actions.
Nolan continued airing typical leftist talking points that journalists are intimidated from reporting the "truth" on Iraq and the War on Terror.
If a new poll identified an overwhelming majority of Americans favored increased energy costs associated with a global warming bill currently before Congress, do you think media would report it?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until every citizen had heard about it, correct?
Well, on Wednesday, the National Center for Public Policy Research, an admittedly conservative think tank, released a poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies which found "65% of Americans reject spending even a penny more for gasoline in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" (emphasis added throughout):
Today, I have two short United Press International stories that each have bias in them, but aren't worth a long, drawn out fisking of their own. So I'm combining them into one Newsbusters report. The first UPI report characterizes a Dutch anti-Islam cartoon as having been "found most offensive," as if it were universally accepted that it is, indeed, offensive and the second is a ridiculous report that is treated as "news" when it is really nothing but meaningless nonsense dressed up as news -- the second having the ulterior motive of stirring hatred against the eeevil "rich."
First up is "Cartoonist honored for Mohammed portrait" where UPI reports that the Danish artist who drew the "controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban" has been honored with the Sappho Award by the Danish Free Press Society. This is all good news but the UPI couldn't help but slip in some of their own bias against this brave artist in the last two paragraphs of the report. (my bold emphasis)
Brent Bozell's latest culture column starts from the standard Associated Press boilerplate celebrating how the American Library Association has allegedly kept the country safe from blue-haired censors of anything edgy. But AP and other reporters never dig below press-release level to discover that the ALA has censors of its own. Instead of merely noticing how children's books promoting gay parenting and gay marriage are controversial, the ALA's left-wing activists are pushing a social agenda that includes screening out "inappropriate" conservative titles:
Press accounts leave out that the ALA not only disdains the public "challenges," it lobbies on the books’ behalf. In 2006, the two-penguin-daddy "And Tango Makes Three" was honored as an ALA Notable Children's Book. The librarians’ group isn’t simply for "freedom." It’s for sexual liberation, promoting the "non-traditional," and it takes offense at the idea that parents might not want their children discussing homosexuality in kindergarten. Simon & Schuster, the publishers of "Tango," Simon & Schuster offer discussion questions about the book on their web site. One says: "Tango has two fathers instead of the traditional mother and father. Do you have a nontraditional family, or do you know someone who does?"
Already we can predict how the ALA next year will complain about any objection to a book called "Uncle Bobby’s Wedding," the story of a young guinea pig named Chloe who worries that her Uncle Bobby won’t play with her any more after he "marries" his boyfriend Jamie. The book ends at the "wedding," with Chloe as the enthusiastic flower girl.
Last October, Patrick Ruffini wrote a piece for Hugh Hewitt's blog titled Information Gaps on the Right wherein Ruffini reminded us that most news outlets unsurprisingly lean leftward. He pointed out that this is one of the serious disabilities for the conservative viewpoint getting a wider hearing. Ruffini also highlighted the vast sea of paid-for bloggers that lefties like George Soros and the like are floating out there. It all amounts to the left having far longer reach than we do to set the agenda for the national debate.
And it isn't getting any better.
The Left also seems to be developing a lead in powerful feeders mechanisms that do little more than tee up information for other blogs. ThinkProgress provides a valuable service to the left by leveraging a full-time research staff to be the first to report and frame up news stories. Their content is rarely witty and original and isn’t meant to be. It’s just meant to provide context and a prod for others to cover these stories. The research backing also means they do the legwork to connect the dots in ways that bloggers rarely do. If John McCain says something today, they’re all about telling you what he said about the same thing in March, what he said in 2003, what he said in 1999, and so on.
Of course, there are a few places we can go as conservatives to get a more conservative take on the News. There is Michelle Malkin, Powerline blog, and a host of others. Not to mention the great work we do here at Newsbusters and I should remind people to make Newsbusters a daily visit for news on the liberal slant in the media. If you want a site that drives the agenda on that subject (liberal bias in the news) then Newsbusters is the place.
Left-leaning journalists don't just pull their punches when it comes to criticizing liberal politicians, they also seem paradoxically inclined to do so when it comes to discussing radical Islam. This curious phenomenon (curious in that modern liberalism is highly secular and radical Islam decidedly is not) has repeated itself many times over the years and is really one of the most bizarre behaviors I've seen in politics.
As strange and morally obtuse that we on the center-right believe the western liberal press to be on this issue, surely the more frustrated people have got to be clear-thinking liberals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who face the task of trying to get their ideological compatriots to stand up for rationality and civil society. It's a difficult task made even more frustrating by the high degree of self-censorship among liberal media elites. Writing earlier this week at the Huffington Post, Harris (an equal opportunity critic of all religion) recounts how the Washington Post refused to run an article he wrote on the "Fitna" movie that the paper deemed "too critical" of Islam.
Such behavior originates in not just the usual double-standard westernized religion faces but in a very real fear among left elites that criticizing Islam is a physically dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, as Harris writes, this behavior just exacerbates the problem:
At Smith College, it was a few dozen student activists screaming, chanting and banging pots and pans. With the American Psychiatric Association, it was angry letters from adult activists and bitter stories in the homosexual press. The bottom line is the same: far-left homosexuals successfully intimidated a few cowardly officials and silenced voices they don't want the public to hear.
Not a bad way for neo-Marxist ideologues to celebrate May Day, but you'd think America's watchdogs of liberty, the free press, might raise an objection. Sadly, the liberal media haven't written a word about either story.
Scott Whitlock mentioned that ABC allowed Arianna Huffington to plug her book Thursday on GMA. But Charlie Gibson failed to perform any self-defense on Huffington’s frontal attack on what she calls in her book "The Pontius Pilate Press." (Is Obama the Christ in this scenario? Conservatives are the crucifiers?) Scott noted Gibson merely began: "You think they've taken on the media as well or taken over the media as well. But, basically, you feel that this country has been captured by the more extreme wing of the Republican Party?" So, ABC’s morning show hasn't interviewed Brent Bozell in this century about liberal bias, but they’re putting up no defense to the charge that ABC is an extreme-right-wing GOP subsidiary.
Huffington is making a very bold claim right now, that the media are addicted to fairness and balance, which is wrong, since liberals are right and the "discredited" Right is wrong, so conservatives should be left on the cutting-room floor. They need to engineer conservative "disappearance from the stage":
So much for the alleged conservative conglomerate media. Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports leftist actor Tim Robbins drew a standing ovation last week before the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas for attacking the corporate media for distracting the country from real (liberal) issues with Britney and Hasselhoff stories. But Robbins also sneered that "talk radio geniuses" like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly called him a "traitor" for opposing the Iraq war, and now he "stands chastened" as everything in Iraq is a utopia of democracy and prosperity. The magazine did not note that in April 2003, ABC touted Robbins claiming a McCarthyesque "chill wind" of censorship was blowing across America.
Broadcasting & Cable critic David Bianculli was supposed to host Robbins for a Q&A at the convention, but when Robbins said he brought a speech that he was told was too preachy and negative to give, broadcasters yelled that he should give the speech, so he did. Far from being miffed at having his moderator’s role snuffed, Bianculli glowingly recounted the highlights:
So much for camaraderie. New York Times movie reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis found fellow Times writer Ben Stein's "Expelled," his new documentary on evolution and how the concept of Intelligent Design is being stifled in academic circles, "an unprincipled propaganda piece."
(Catsoulis's politics are pretty easy to peg; witness her simplistic left-wing raves over the 2005 documentary "Waging a Living," based on a book by socialist writer Barbara Ehrenreich.)
Catsoulis not only doesn't buy "Expelled"'s premise that scientific debate is being squelched in academia in favor of Darwin-worship, she calls the movie names:
One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.
Admiration for the movie star Charlton Heston poured out of the obituaries and appreciations when he died. He would say he was an actor, which he certainly was, but he was also a star, a riveting presence that could credibly play great men like Moses. But the story of Heston’s activism came like a cautionary note, that he used to be a civil rights hero, but then he wandered badly astray.
Many were struck at the similarities of the late careers of Heston and Ronald Reagan, two actors who became more conservative as the 20th century moved on, and both passed away through the long and difficult descent of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journalists and biographers who suggest a dramatic conversion of these two men – sometimes with a nasty implication that they cynically switched sides in the debate to keep their faltering careers alive – often fail to acknowledge how the political and cultural ground shifted under their feet, causing the leap.
Clarification: Apparently the Thursday night "Idol" included the "Jesus" lyric. In a somewhat-related item of interest to our readers, my colleague Tim Graham reminds me that West Coast viewers of ABC's "The View" in May 2002 heard a bleep when co-host Joy Behar said the word "Jesus."
The Big Three Networks and Their Plan to Protect Obama (PPO)Why did it take until Thursday March 13, 2008, for the nation to begin to learn about Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? The man whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama has attended and generously funded for seventeen years? Whom he had publicly and repeatedly cited as his mentor and had named as a campaign advisor? Whom he chose to perform his wedding and baptize his two daughters?
Because, until then, we were in the midst of Phase I -- preventative medicine -- of the media's version of campaign health care for the Senator's Presidential bid. Call it the Plan to Protect Obama (PPO).
The Reverend Wright story had been percolating beneath the surface for several years. It finally broke through to widespread dissemination last week. A picture is worth a thousand words -- moving pictures with audio of Wright's anti-American, paranoid rantings from the pulpit have finally inspired many more than that.
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.
Of course, 44 Southern Baptists who buy into the green agenda received a respectful print story in the March 10 Times, widely quoting the church leaders saying things like: "when we destroy God's creation, it's similar to ripping pages from the Bible."
At their 2001 convention, the SPJ urged “tak[ing] steps against racial profiling in [the]coverage of the war on terrorism." It reminded journalists to stopusing "inflammatory" language and condescendingly said to “help audiences understand the complexities of the events in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington, D.C.” Story guidelines are (all bold mine):
— Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.
— When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
Well, here is what might be a landmark case for the blogosphere, for the Internet, and for the future of our new media, citizen journalism. The AP has just sent a cease and desist letter to Brian C. Ledbetter telling him to stop using their copyrighted images on his website, snappedshot.com.
Snappedshot.com is a site predicated on criticism of photo-journalism. In pursuit of his criticism, Mr. Ledbetter uses photos from across the web that he thinks are doctored or misleading in some way. He then reports his opinion on the bias he sees therein.
Because of this pending legal action, snappedshot.com is now been placed on hiatus until the situation can be cleared up.
The email recommended against using wording that implies Castro didn't write his letter of resignation and to rely on reporting by Communist Party daily Granma. It then reminded “Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba” and “'[w]hile despised by some, he is seen as a revolutionary hero...for standing up to the United States.”
Here is the email posted by Babalu (bold mine after email's heading):
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."
Now that the video has been restored, it seems that this was yet another case of liberals abusing YouTube's flag feature. Originally designed to alert the video sharing service of inappropriate content or copyright violations, flagging is often the tool of angry people upset at speech they find disagreeable. (Many Muslims seem to be similarly inclined.)