Though arriving at the party somewhat late, USA Today covered this story on Wednesday: “In a dispute between the ‘new media’ of the Internet and the ‘old media’ of broadcasting, liberal bloggers and conservative talk-radio hosts are accusing each other of trampling the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech.”
As this issue has surfaced coincident with liberal members of Congress proposing a media reform bill that would require, amongst other things, conservative talk radio stations to give equal time to opposing viewpoints during their broadcasts, doesn’t this raise quite a compelling hypocrisy inherent in what the left sees as free speech?
Put simply, how is limiting speech that you don’t agree with an exercise in expanding free speech? And, isn’t it most egregious for members of the new media – which clearly epitomizes the explosion of free speech around the world – to be using this fantastic invention to mute the voices of others?
Dan Riehl at his Riehl World View blog expounded on this concept:
This is a sad story for blogging as it runs contrary to a fundamental principle of blogging, that all individuals with incredibly different voices have a chance to be heard. To see such a truly democratic medium turned into a tool used in an attempt to shut down another voice, regardless of the medium, is an unfortunate thing for bloggers of every political stripe. Where does it end?
Possibly answering this question was an article from the liberal blog Raw Story published on Sunday:
Concerns about monopolies and fears of a possible "fascist" takeover of the US media have prompted a Democratic congressman to push to restore the Fairness Doctrine, RAW STORY has learned.
"Media reform is the most important issue confronting our democratic republic and the people of our country," Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) said at the Free Press National Media Reform Conference held in Memphis, Tennessee last weekend. "This is a critical moment in history that may determine the future of our country…maybe forever."
Hinchey told RAW STORY he plans to reintroduce the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) that would break up media monopolies and restore the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission under the Reagan administration.
Who are the “fascists” that Hinchey et al are worried about? Take a guess:
“If Rush shoots his mouth off, he must give equal access to our side,” Hinchey said. “The American public will begin to get both sides or all sides of an issue. That is basic – fundamental to a democracy.”
Starting to get a clearer picture of what is really going on here?
This isn’t about free speech or the First Amendment. This is about silencing conservative voices to expand the amount of liberal opinions that are thrust upon the populace.
After all, one of the positions of the liberal bloggers concerning this Spocko issue was that ABC/Disney had no right to try and stop him from using audio clips from KSFO’s broadcasts, a position that I likely agree with. However, at the same time, these folks are trying to stop KSFO from making the statements present in those clips.
As such, these folks are fighting to allow bloggers to copy and air statements made by radio personalities that they themselves object so strongly to that they want said personalities to not be allowed to make. In effect, the bloggers are saying that they should be free to disseminate examples of what they feel is hate speech at the same time that they are trying to invoke a boycott of those committing the act.
Anybody see an extraordinary hypocrisy here?
In the end, folks that are using the ideals inherent in the First Amendment to curb or restrict speech really need to take a long look in the mirror, especially those in the new media who in the past decade have been given a tremendous gift that they currently don’t seem to appreciate.
As amazing as it might seem, our liberal brethren on the opposite side of the aisle don't understand that the more they look this horse in the mouth, the less freedom they might find they have in the future.