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Wishful Thinking There are those who hang their First Amendment hats on President Barack Obama's statement that he isn't for reinstating the Censorship Doctrine, also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine. These people are ignoring ever mounting examples of the censorious intent of this Administration on all things information.
They are playing the Ostrich Defense despite the fact that nearly every Obama appointee to anything that has anything to do with regulating anything is a strident Leftist whose first impulse is to loathe the American people exercising the freedoms the Constitution affords them.
Just three days after his November victory, President Obama floated the name of Henry Rivera - a virulent "Fairness" Doctrine proponent - to head his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transition team. An outcry by we at the MRC and many others caused Obama to move Rivera elsewhere in his transition pantheon a week later.
Now we have Cass Sunstein, President Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar." Who has written:
"A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government."
That warms the free speech cockles, does it not?
As is often the case with liberals, Sunstein's warped thinking often leads to contradictory prescriptions for imaginary ills.
Sunstein says the "problem" is "limitless individual choices." His answer? The government force-feeding you more choices. From the WorldNetDaily article:
Sunstein first proposed the notion of imposing mandatory "electronic sidewalks" for the Net. These "sidewalks" would display links to opposing viewpoints. Adam Thierer, senior fellow and director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom at the Progress and Freedom Center, has characterized the proposal as "The Fairness Doctrine for the Internet."
But either his conscience or Reality got the better of him.
Later, Sunstein rethought his proposal, explaining that it would be "too difficult to regulate [the Internet] in a way that would respond to those concerns." He also acknowledged that it was "almost certainly unconstitutional."
Glad to see Sunstein's elevator does rise to that particular floor. Eventually.
Sunstein has in the past proffered a whole host of anti-liberty and often bizarre notions. He is in fact as bad on the Second Amendment as he is on the First.
In his book "Radicals in Robes," he wrote: "[A]lmost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the Court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms."
In his 2004 book, "Animal Rights," he wrote: "Animals should be permitted to bring (law)suit, with human beings as their representatives …"
In a 2007 speech at Harvard he called for banning hunting in the U.S.
President Obama, in introducing Sunstein as his nominee, made his usual effort to make the radical sound mainstream. And make Sunstein's worst qualities out to be his best attributes. The TelePrompTer read:
"As one of America's leading constitutional scholars, Cass Sunstein has distinguished himself in a range of fields, including administrative law and policy, environmental law, and behavioral economics. He is uniquely qualified to lead my administration's regulatory reform agenda at this crucial stage in our history. Cass is not only a valued adviser, he is a dear friend and I am proud to have him on my team."
This is from all appearances an Administration reflexively opposed to the practice of freedom by a free people. This is certainly an Administration that has repeatedly brought to the fore people radically opposed to the freedoms afforded us in the First Amendment.
Which is why Obama's narrow pledge on the "Fairness" Doctrine leaves us - unsated. And most likely unprotected from a regulatory assault on conservative and Christian talk radio.
P.S.: The good news is his is an appointment that requires Senate confirmation, so he can be stopped. FSA member the American Conservative Union has created a website called Stop Sunstein through which you can submit petition signatures to do exactly that.
H/t: Intrepid MRC Intern Mike Sargent.