The Fairness Doctrine, the law that effectively put the kibosh on political talk radio for a number of years, might be coming back if congressional Democrats have their way. According to Fred Thompson, this turn of events was prompted in part by the failure of Air America radio:
The real issue here is not what you “can” see or hear — which is what the Fairness Doctrine was about originally. It’s what you’re “choosing” to see or hear.
Insiders say it was the collapse of the radio station “Air America” that led to this attempt to retool the Fairness Doctrine as a form of de facto censorship. I guess the idea is that, if you can’t compete in the world of ideas, you pass a law that forces radio stations to air your views. In effect, it would force a lot of radio stations to drop some talk show hosts — because they would lose money providing equal airtime to people who can’t attract a market or advertisers.
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh reported on air and at his website Friday that NBC’s “Today” show is going to do a segment Monday regarding his musical parody “Barack the ‘Magic Negro’” (audio available here, subscription required):
Now, this first aired on March 21st. This is May 18th. By the time they get around to doing their profile, it will be two months old as a story.
If you believe what you see from our news media, everybody in the Middle East with the exception of Israelis wants American military forces out of Iraq as soon as possible, and thinks suicide bombers are martyrs to be revered.
Well, meet Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, the former dean of Islamic Law at Qatar University. He was interviewed by Al-Arabiya TV on May 11 during which he made some statements that folks in our media wouldn’t want you to hear (video available here courtesy of MemriTV).
First, Al-Ansari came out strongly against suicide bombers:
If the AP didn’t write about it, it didn’t happen, right? In an article about a topic I blogged earlier in the week here at Newsbusters, the AP also reported it, but with a different angle. The Primary Source, a conservative newspaper at Boston’s Tufts University was charged with harassment and creating a hostile environment on campus by publishing what the paper called political parody; they were found guilty of the charges by a disciplinary panel. The catch is, the AP worded it in a way that only reported half the story and ignored the paper's other harassment complaint that the panel was judging-at the same time-a fact-based satire of Islam.
Did you hear about the nineteen Democrats that sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) expressing concern that a global warming bill being discussed in the House could reduce energy supplies and raise prices?
You didn’t? Want to know why?
Well, because other than Environment & Energy Daily, nobody reported it.
*****Critical Update: Complete text of letter follows.
Regardless, the short piece by Ben Geman was rather extraordinary (h/t Benny Peiser, subscription required, emphasis added throughout):
It goes without question that the San Francisco Bay Area is infamous for its extreme liberal views. Having lived here for 28 years, I know this to be a fact that most residents consider a badge of honor.
Sadly, in the middle of this leftist motif is KTVU’s “Ten O’Clock News,” an award-winning program that often is so liberally biased that it’s unwatchable.
Such was certainly the case Wednesday evening when the station’s political editor, and eight-time Emmy Award winner, Randy Shandobil, featured an antiwar segment asking the question:
We’re now in the fifth year of the war in Iraq, and if the polls are accurate, it’s even more unpopular than Vietnam. So how come we’re not hearing more protest songs?
Amazing, wouldn’t you agree? Alas, it got worse as Shandobil then spoke with the music director of Berkeley’s KALX who blamed the lack of protest songs on the absence of a draft (video available here):
I want my MTV! Somewhere a soldier or sailor in Iraq or Afghanistan is probably thinking that today. According to the AP, on May 14, the Department of Defense blocked “worldwide” the US troops who use its networks and computers from accessing 12 popular websites that include, YouTube, MTV, MySpace, Blackplanet and Photobucket. The Defense Deparmene which the DoD said“take up a large amount of bandwidth, and others that can open up department computers to hackers and viruses.” (emphasis mine throughout)
US Forces Korea Commander (USFK) Gen. B.B. Bell explained in a memo sent out Friday that the new policy will not impact the military's ability to send and receive email, but the “Department of Defense has a growing concern regarding our unclassified DoD Internet, known as the NIPRNET. The Commander of DoD's Joint Task Force, Global Network Operations has noted a significant increase in the use of DoD network resources tied up by individuals visiting certain recreational Internet sites.”
The Volokh Conspiracy reported that yet another college has cracked down on a conservative student paper. The Primary Source, published a fake ad called “Islam-- Arabic Translation: Submission.” It satirized the events of an upcoming Islamic Awareness Week which quoted verses from the Koran and included unpleasant but true statements about Islam and ended with the statement, "If you are a peaceful Muslim who can explain or justify this astonishingly intolerant and inhuman behavior, we'd really like to hear from you!" This earned the students a quick trip before a disciplinary committee facing charges of "harassment and creating a hostile environment." The school ultimately decided not to punish the students, but from now on, TPS must identify who created which content.
Liberally-minded people and liberal institutions may say that they support free speech, but that claim is parsed down to what the definition of “is” is. This is yet another example of “hate speech is not free speech.” Stepping on and even burning the American flag is allowed (as it should be), but stepping on a flag that has the name of Allah written on it, such as a Hamas flag is not. It is fine for atheists to criticize or make fun of Christianity, but they are not allowed to criticize Islam. A liberal calling Condoleeza Rice Bush’s “house n***a” is acceptable, as is using digital blackface, but conservatives who say “tar baby” are hounded. The idea of “hate speech” is rarely applied equally.
PBS won't let the general public watch "Islam vs. Islamists," however blogger Roger Simon has seen it and was quite impressed:
I have to admit the first thing that attracted me to Martyn Burke’s
“Islam vs. Islamists” was that PBS had suppressed it. As is now well
known, the Public Broadcasting network rejected Burke’s documentary -
produced with Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev for the network’s
“American Crossroads” series - on the film’s completion. PBS’ initial
explanation for this blackballing was that the film was not good
When President Bush receives protests as he travels abroad, it’s front-page headline news. Yet, when former Vice President Al Gore is so protested, the media couldn’t care less.
Although the Associated Press did report Gore’s visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to speak at a biofuels conference Friday, virtually no American media outlet picked up the story:
As Gore spoke, outside the hotel demonstrators on bicycles and wearing surgical masks chanted slogans against multinational agribusinesses, saying the biofuel boom will cause deforestation and turn arable land into deserts.
Sadly, there wasn't a lot of details in this piece about the actual protests. Thankfully, I received the following La Nacion article by e-mail yesterday with a translation that offered a lot more insights into the matter:
The big story of the week has been "Mullah Mouse," the hate-spewing Palestinian children's character whose show on Hamas television encouraged kids to kill non-Muslims to help establish world Islamic domination.
You would think that CNN would have wanted to get in on some of that news. It's controversial. The visuals are great and it's eminently topical.
The network did finally cover the story (saying the mouse "reaches out" to children as Ken Shepherd reported yesterday) but the day before, Headline News host Glenn Beck was thwarted in his attempts to cover the story, all over some minuscule nit-picking in the translation. CNN's politically correct staff stopped him from making the report over a single word. Beck discussed the problem on his radio show Wednesday. Click the video above to watch his story. (Hat tip: LGF)
Following the election of conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy to France's presidency, there have been a series of riots from angry protesters upset at his victory. Unfortunately, it's a little hard to know much about the rioters due to the French government's passing a law that makes it a crime to report on riots unless you are a professional journalist:
The French Constitutional Council has
approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of
violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could
lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police
violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French
civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.
The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision
approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police
officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George
Holliday on the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the
end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.
Over the weekend, Al Gore caused somewhat of a stir down in San Antonio for refusing to allow the media to cover a speech he was giving to architects who are also adherents to his global warming gospel.
Thankfully for open dialogue, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News crashed the party. Unfortunately for reasoned dialogue, the reporter, Anton Caputo, failed to report the event with any sort of skepticism, almost falling over himself to praise the veep-turned-envirovangelist.
parts visionary, cheerleader and comedian, Al Gore brought his message
of how to fight global warming to a capacity crowd of receptive
architects Saturday in San Antonio.
The former vice president referred continually to a "new way of
thinking" that is emerging in the country and offered hope in the
battle to control the effects global warming will have on the planet.
How often in the past couple of years as the antiwar voices in the media have gotten louder and more visible have you seen a report about the supposedly poor condition of the American military and troubles with recruitment?
So often that it's nauseating, right?
Well, with virtually no fanfare from a press with a clear agenda, the Army National Guard reported in April that it had achieved a goal it had not been able to attain since 1999.
CBS Radio might be about to get a very expensive lesson in contract law, for terminated former “shock-jock” Don Imus has just hired topnotch legal counsel in what could be the most-watched trial since O.J. Simpson’s.
Don Imus is suing CBS Radio for more than $40 million. He is suing for vindication, according to a media expert, who said “(Imus) wants his name cleared.”
The former talk show host hired one of the country’s top First Amendment trial lawyers to sue CBS for firing him over racial and sexual on-air comments. But Imus points out his contract calls for “irreverent” and “controversial,” and his “nappy-headed ho” remark was certainly that.
Hmmm. That was in the contract? It appears CBS somehow forgot:
Over the past few days, Gates of Vienna discussed a very troubling story about Finnish blogger Mikko Ellila, “who has been summoned by the police for a hearing next week, all because of the content of his blog posts.” Mikko posts in Finnish but contacted several people in English about this, such as the Australian blogger Prodos, who owns the site that hosts the potentially criminal blog. Mikko explained to Prodos why he is going to be questioned by Finnish police:
According to the letter, I am suspected of “hate speech” merely because I have pointed out that Islam is a fascist ideology that advocates killing Jews, atheists, homosexuals etc.
Fellow Finnish blogger Vasarahammer explained more about Mikko's problem:
So, did you hear about the Hamas Parliament speaker who, during a sermon on Sudanese television, called for Allah to kill all Jews and Americans?
You didn’t? Why might that be? After all, this happened about three weeks ago, was reported by Memri TV on April 13 the very same day, hit Digg on April 20, and was reported by CNSNews on April 26.
And you still didn’t hear about this?
Could there be a reason why the media ignored such an extraordinary statement by a Hamas official who happens to currently be the acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, or was this just an innocent oversight by a media obsessed with more important issues?
Regardless, the shocking video is available here courtesy of Memri TV, and the transcript follows (emphasis added):
Since the VT shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia, we have seen all manner of wild-eyed, anti-gunners come out of the woodwork to cynically use this crime as a chance to beat their gun grabbing drums. But, proposing that we send government Stormtroopers to smash down the doors of every home with a gun in it to confiscate their Constitutionally legal firearms is a step I haven't seen in a purportedly responsible newspaper. That is, until the Toledo Blade published a proposal for taking away our right to self-protection that included "Special squads of police" with unlimited powers to confiscate all guns. A hit squad that would traipse about the country invading homes at will and accosting peaceful citizens everywhere.
The author of this tyrannical proposal is Dan Simpson, who is described as "a retired Ambassador" and a "member of the editorial boards of The Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. " He is a former US Ambassador to various African states... which can easily be read to mean one who thinks government knows best, darn the citizen's rights, apparently.
In a typical move, Europeans want to ban something they don’t like. In an English-language article, the Danish Heise Online reported several members of the European Parliament, which is the elected body of the European Union, will submit a draft of a declaration next week that “calls on providers in somewhat vague language to make provisions against "hate pages" part of their standard terms and conditions” with the ultimate goal to “banish racism and hate propaganda from the Internet altogether. This is the same environment in which publishing the satirical Jyllands-Posten Mohammad cartoons (images here)was considered an act of Islamophobia, and therefore hate speech. The draft specifically mentions Islamophobia in the preamble, which would likely mean that anti-terrorism sites like Little Green Footballs,the Brussels Journal and Melanie Phillips, publisher of the book, Londonistan could be labeled "hate speech" (emphasis mine throughout):
The ultimate object of the push by five EU Members of Parliament, Glyn Ford and Claude Moraes of the UK's Labour Party, the Hungarian Liberal Party member Viktoria Mohacsi and the two German European Members of Parliament Bern Posselt (Christian Social Union; CSU) and Feleknas Uca (The Left Party), is to banish racism and hate propaganda from the Internet altogether. The preamble to the declaration mentions anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Romany campaigns. Should the providers refuse to act more forcefully the five initiators of the declaration have vowed to pressure the European Commission into drafting appropriate legislation (the article includes links to the politicians' websites).
Two figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Al Sharpton, were recently targeted with a death threat, but the media treated them very differently. An article by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that when the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown booked Hirsi Ali to speak, along with other Islamic leaders, a Johnstown Imam “tried to block" her from speaking and thinks she should be put to death. Other than the Pittsburgh article, the only news coverage of this was local. Here's a group of men who tried to prevent a woman from speaking and advocated her death, and even in a world hyper-aware of violence against women, the rest of the media ignored the situation and statements like this (emphasis mine throughout):
Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.
"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976.
A few sources, not the least of which is Michael Barone, are reporting that the Democrats are ignoring important Iraq briefings conducted by General David Petraeus in an apparent effort to stymie efforts in Iraq. It is well known that they are not supportive of the troops in Iraq and the president's "surge" plan they are currently conducting, but whether they like the plan or not, to skip these briefings is an act of blatant negligence that borders on the criminal. So where is the MSM's outrage? Why are we not being told of this Democrat negligence?
Although it goes without saying that Internet denizens of all colors, shapes, and sizes typify the concepts inherent in the First Amendment, conceivably nothing incites more ire from bloggers than out of control comments sections.
As this issue came to a head last month in the midst of the Kathy Sierra debacle – a computer programming instructor that ended up canceling speaking engagements due to death threats – a debate has ensued throughout the blogosphere concerning what should be done to increase civility without jeopardizing free speech. This has even gone so far to evoke discussions of creating a “bloggers code of conduct.”
In reality, comments sections can be so hostile that many bloggers debate the pluses and minuses of having them at all. Law professor Ann Althouse posted a deliciously comic view on this issue Saturday that is much like John Kerry’s position on funding the Iraq war (emphasis added):
The American press is so encumbered by political correctness and ignorant of Islamic doctrine that it is allowing extremist Muslims in this country to mask a hard-core ideology in minority politics. So says M. Zuhdi Jasser, a moderate American Muslim leader (h/t: LGF).
This pandering on the part of the American press (I would add international as well), is preventing the emergence of a pan-Islamic consensus to marginalize extremists like Osama bin Laden, Jasser argues. Instead, the reverse happens--criticism of Islamists gets suppressed by naive liberals who misguidedly think it's racist:
Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic broke the story on April 10, 2007 about PBS's censorship of the documentary, Islam vs. Islamists from its America at a Crossroads series which debuted this week. The film's producers, Frank Gaffney, Alex Alexiev and the veteran filmmaker, Martyn Burke of ABG Films, Inc. have since presented in shocking detail their painful protracted experiences trying to navigate the censors at PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which funded the film with $675,000 of the taxpayers' monies but now has chosen to shelve it. In just the last week of public debate, there has been a firestorm of outcry from the public who are demanding that oppressive methods of editorial content control by power brokers at PBS be investigated and the real story behind the shelving of Islam vs. Islamists be exposed. PBS's exploitation of the public dime and the public airwaves for the narrow point of view of the Islamist sympathizers with the exclusion of the anti-Islamist Muslims is just now beginning to be understood.
With co-host Whoopi Goldberg on the set, the ladies of "The View" continued to discuss the Imus controversy on the April 20 show. Goldberg felt strongly that Imus deserved at least a strong suspension and noted that, while all Americans have free speech, our words can still have consequences. The guest co-host then went through a long list of celebrities whose careers were damaged from inflammatory statements. Rosie responded with another one of her scary predictions and Joy Behar reacted with the "Nazi Germany" card.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: I think racist is one thing. But when people start to say this person has a dissenting political opinion, therefore we want them off the air. That's when we're in dangerous territory. That’s what I think.
that disgraced radio talk-show host Don Imus has been booted, can we
finally get down to some “real talk” about the multiple issues embedded
in this racial theater? There is a lot to sort through here, but after
a week of debate centered around “nappy-headed hos,” half-assed
apologies, cries of censorship, and a curmudgeonly shock jock’s lame
attempt at being funny, many pundits have moved beyond the core issue
and now are talking about the perceived double standard they feel
exists between what Imus said and what often comes from the mouths of
Yet Imus and hip-hop really don’t have much in common. Imus was host
of a radio show that focused on the real news of the day, while hip-hop
is a fictionalized form of cultural expression. Imus is real, featuring
real guests and humor based on real topics. However loudly hip-hop
might claim to be real, it is not real; it is a form of representation.
This is why so few rappers use the names on their birth
certificates when performing.
In all the media furor over fired radio host Don Imus, one fact was very rarely reported: that Imus is not a conservative. In truth, he is a moderate liberal. Aside from his stand against the Iraq war, support of John Kerry, abortion-rights, and the Democratic takeover of Congress, perhaps the biggest indicator of his liberal credentials was that liberal media elites like Tim Russert, Jonathan Alter, and Nina Totenberg appeared on his show on a daily basis.
Being in like Flynn with the left-wing media snobs didn't do anything for Imus when it came down to it, however. Many GOPers and conservative intellectuals would do well to learn this lesson. Trying to get in with the liberal media crowd (bashing fellow conservatives works best) will never earn you any protection.
Even if you're naturally a moderate conservative, it still won't earn you any respect from the far left's rage, as centrist conservative radio host Michael Smerconish is finding out. Writing at Classical Values, Eric Scheie reports:
In the wake of the Imus affair, MSNBC is airing an all-day discussion on the theme "What's OK to say?" Poet Maya Angelou appeared at 11:05 AM EDT, and in the course of her interview with MSNBC's Peter Alexander, had this exchange:
ALEXANDER: Dr. Angelou, you're an author and an artist. I guess the question is, is there a need for more censorship of our media and of our arts, are you comfortable with that? And if that happens, when does it end? What is OK to say?
ANGELOU: Exactly. I agree with that. I think the society decides upon the censorship. Each person censors himself or herself. Do you think, if any of these hip-hoppers, if they said about Mrs. Bush what they say about black women, do you think they would be given a microphone? Do you really think so? So we have to censor ourselves. And then, the society makes that decision.
Touchy, touchy! Diane Sawyer is in the business of dishing out tough questions and challenging people's answers. But when a guest on today's "Good Morning America" politely corrected her on a First Amendment matter, the GMA host was quick to accuse him of "attacking" her.
Los Angeles-based radio talk show host Larry Elder was Diane's guest, in to discuss the Imus matter. Sawyer introduced him as a "conservative radio host" though on his own site Elder describes himself as a "libertarian" and "a blend of fiscal conservative and social liberal." Of course we all know how many times the MSM has described Al Sharpton as a "liberal" in the course of his innumerable appearances over the last week or so: that would be precisely zero, at last count.
Elder opined that Imus' punishment did not fit the crime. Imus' comment was offensive, sexist and racist, said Elder, "but he apologized, apologized again, did the obligatory beatdown tour à la Michael Richards by appearing on the Al Sharpton show, and as far as I'm concerned, that should have been enough. In the grand department store of life, Don Imus operates in the toy section and I think that those remarks should have been taken with some perspective, but they weren't."