Posted: January 12, 20091:00 am Eastern
On July 21, I wrote a column for WND warning of the coming fight for free speech on talk radio
The triumphant left now denies any intention of re-imposing a "Fairness Doctrine" to strangle talk radio. Don't you believe it.
Loony left websites and blogs deride conservative concern about re-imposing this gag on political speech through the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, as "wingnut propaganda" and "fear mongering." Another post declares the "Fairness Doctrine" the "bogeyman du jour." Other posted comments include erudite musings on "the need" of "right wing radio" to set up a "straw man" to attack and then declare victory when the "Fairness Doctrine" is not re-applied to talk radio.
Conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill were concerned enough to introduce a bill last Wednesday that would prevent the FCC from approving the so called "Fairness Doctrine." Sen. Jim DeMint joined me on air to discuss the legislation, and you can hear that interview here.
Obama himself has denied any intention of re-imposing the "Fairness Doctrine."
But actions still speak louder than words.
Obama appointed Henry Rivera to the transition team to review appointments to the FCC, where Democrat appointees will become the majority in 2009 and the chairman will be a Democrat. Rivera was an FCC commissioner in the 1980s. He supported the Fairness Doctrine then, and was replaced by Ronald Reagan with a commissioner who favored free speech.
Rivera has consistently supported re-imposition of the "Doctrine" and his transition team mission to select future FCC commissioners speaks volumes about Obama's true intentions. His position was so clear on this that, according to the New York Times, Obama moved him to another position on the transition team in November to deflect criticism.
What is clear is that FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell's term ends June 2009. His replacement by President Obama would give the Democrats a 3-2 majority on the commission and the chairmanship.
What's also very clear is that the legal authority to re-impose the "Fairness" gag is still in place. President Reagan got the FCC to lift the gag, but he could not convince the Democrat-controlled Congress to repeal the law giving the FCC the authority to impose it.
In fact, Reagan had to veto a Democrat bill that would have mandated the FCC impose the "Fairness Doctrine."
Democrats in Congress still feel the same way today.
On Election Day, Sen Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was asked by Fox News if he supported telling radio stations what content they should have, and he replied "I think we should all be fair and balanced, don't you ?"
Sen. Schumer also said in that same interview, "The very same people who don't want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC to limit pornography on the air. I am for that ... but you can't say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another."
In other words, for Sen. Schumer, talk radio equals pornography.
Last July, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed her support for the "Fairness Doctrine" to fight "right-wing hate radio"
In 2007, Senate Majority Whip Dick (Block Burris) Durbin, D-Ill., a close ally of Obama, told the Hill, "It's time to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. I have this old fashioned idea that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they're in a better position to make a decision."
Senate Rules Committee Chair Dianne (Seat Burris) Feinstein, D-Calif., said, "I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit. But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness."
Given the relentless liberal slant and the (tingle down my leg) cheerleading for Obama during the election in the traditional media, talk radio is the other side of the story. Talk radio is the "balance" and "fairness."
However, liberals who profess to love free speech may be getting wary of the free speech-based criticisms of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. The left may be seeking another way to get rid of talk radio.
The radical Center for American Progress, or CAP, published a paper last year titled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio." The paper criticized the dominance of "conservative" ownership of radio stations resulting in what the authors called a lack of diversity of ownership.
This paper went on to propose a return to rules limiting ownership to only two stations (instead of today's eight) in a given media market, to require leftist activists be given a veto power in license renewal procedures and a new fee be imposed on commercial broadcast licenses to support "local programming" by PBS!
One of the co-authors of this CAP paper is Paul Woodhull. CAP bio information on Woodhull fails to mention that he co-founded the companies that produce liberal talkers Ed Schultz and Bill Press. "Fair and balanced" indeed.
CAP is leading the charge among liberals to not arouse the country with a blatant anti-free speech campaign to re-impose the "Fairness Doctrine." Their "progressive" approach is to use the lower profile regulatory power of the FCC to bully station owners to achieve the same end â€“ eliminate successful conservative talk radio.
By whatever means, the diversity-loving, tolerance-preaching crowd on the left simply cannot stomach a "diversity" that includes conservatives, and will not "tolerate" conservative talk radio.
One way or another, talk radio continues to be demonized, and calls for censorship are getting louder.