Posted: May 06, 200912:07 pm Eastern
Â© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Members of a coalition organized to fight attacks on America's First Amendment rights in response to a multitude of developments under President Obama are expressing alarm at the United Kingdom's decision to ban popular U.S. talk radio host Michael Savage from its shores.
British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced yesterday that Savage was on a list of people who would be unwelcome in the island nation.
Roger Hedgecock, who recently was named as the chief of the new American Radio Free Speech Coalition, said the designation is a shot across the bow to American rights.
"The British government action barring Michael Savage is a frightening preview of what we can expect in our own country as the PC police shut down the voices of dissent," he said.
The coalition was launched under the Don't Touch My Dial slogan to defend free speech and First Amendment rights from a variety of attacks that have developed, including the current Washington demand for a return to some form of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which has been determined by the Supreme Court to be constitutionally questionable.
One effort is Washington's plan to assemble local "commissions" to provide "accountability" for radio station. Free speech advocates contends the groups would be no more than complaint boards for liberal interests to launch attacks on conservative talk radio.
Some found the U.K. move against Savage to be so outlandish they looked for further reasons behind it.
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One WND reader said, "[Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano has been releasing odd DHS lists about extremists, heavily criticized by Savage, and mysteriously he appears on England's watch list at the same time? Napolitano should be forced to resign over this and not just Smith."
Napolitano's recent "extremist" reports have targeted Americans who support Second Amendment rights, third party political candidates, homeschool and oppose abortion as "extremists" who would bear close watching.
Joseph Farah, founder, editor and CEO of WorldNetDaily, wrote in a commentary that the U.K. ban wouldn't track logically, pointing out that Savage wasn't asking to travel there.
But he said if the ban is clothed in the backdrop of what's happening in Washington, it makes a little more sense.
"Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress are conducting a scorched-earth war on the First Amendment. The Federal Communications Commission will soon be headed and controlled by an appointee who thinks government, not the free market, should control broadcast programming. The appointee to be regulatory czar for the administration has flirted with ideas like a 'Fairness Doctrine' for the Internet and mandatory 24-hour, cooling-off periods before sending angry e-mails. As we speak, local 'commissar commissions' are being established in every radio market to monitor programming and challenge broadcast licenses on the basis of content. Hate-crimes legislation has passed the House and is headed for the Senate â€“ a bill that would punish thoughts and speech and provide, for the first time, special protections to a new 'victim class' of pedophiles," he wrote.
"There is little question for any serious and objective observer that the new Washington power structure is targeting the most significant voice of dissent left in America â€“ talk radio," he continued. "I believe with near 100 percent certainty, though I admit I can't prove it, that the initiative for this symbolic effort to ban Michael Savage from a country he had no intention of visiting came not from London, but from Washington."
Savage's audience is the third-largest in the U.S., and he's been arguably the most critical of Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress.
"He was the perfect target for a pre-emptive and insidious attack on his character," Farah wrote.
The Don't Touch My Dial coalition said Smith's linking Savage with "terrorists and Neo-Nazi murderers" was a "disgraceful injustice."
Other members of the coalition include Lars Larson, Rusty Humphries, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Steve Gill, Joyce Kaufman and Steve Malzberg.
Kaufman wrote that she does not "subscribe to any of the many conspiracy theories designed to strike fear in the hearts of patriotic Americans."
But word of Savage's ban "sent a shudder down my spine."
"How did two great western civilizations, the U.K. and the U.S. find themselves challenging John Locke's ideals and the U.S. Constitution?" she asked.
"We cannot call ourselves a Judeo-Christian nation, we cannot speak without fear of national or even international censure and sanction, the fourth estate has become the president's cheerleaders rather than inquisitors, and when half a million patriots gather together in mock 'American Tea Parties,' they are ignored and marginalized by the very government they are attempting to petition for a redress of their grievances," she wrote.
Savage, she said, "is making his stand. He stands alone on the wall. He has fought these battles before, on the air, in the courts and in the court of public opinion. I say every patriot needs to join him on the wall this time. These are the times that separate the men from the boys and the women from the boys as well. When the Patrick Henrys and Molly Pitchers need to get off their butts and up on the wall."
One WND reader copied the news agency in on an e-mail to Smith:
"It is obvious you do not listen to his show on a daily basis and rely on others to tell you what Dr. Savage is all about. Let me briefly tell you what Dr. Michael Savage is all about. His manifesto is borders, language and culture. Something your country could definitely focus on as you continue to allow the hordes of illegal Muslim immigrants to come in your country and erode your borders, language and culture. â€¦ If you are going to put Savage on your black list, you better put me and millions of other listeners of Dr. Savage on that list as well."
The "Fairness Doctrine" at issue now in the U.S. was established in 1949 by the FCC to require broadcasters to provide "fair" programming, essentially demanding the broadcast of opposing views.
But the Supreme Court in 1969 ruled that while the policy did not violate a broadcaster's First Amendment rights, if the doctrine ever began to restrain free speech, its constitutionality should be reviewed. In 1974, the court said the doctrine "dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate."
Ten years later, the court found the rationale that debate was scarce and therefore the opposing viewpoints should be required was flawed, and in 1987 the plan was abolished.
At the Frugal-CafÃ© blog, Vicki McClure Davidson wrote, "It seems bizarre that a radio entertainer in one country can be banned from entry into another simply because of their opinions. Especially if those opinions aren't of the 'All capitalists must die like pigs' variety."
"I didn't see Michael Moore or Al Franken on the list, nor Janeane Garofalo or Keith Olbermann or Sandra Bernhard for their hate speech. What about William Ayres or Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Al Sharpton? They may not have asked to be allowed to enter the U.K. Or they could all be on the longer, unpublished list, right up there with 'who knows who.' Would it be reasonable to assume that Howard Stern would also be on the U.K. list for his outrageous behavior?" she wrote.
"I'm curious. Does the ban in Britain work both ways? If so, does this mean the U.K. won't be hypocritical and will deport their own left-wing extremist comedian Russell Brand for his 'undesirable behavior'? Yeah, thought not," she wrote.
Brian Myrick of the Seattle Examiner said, "The idea that his [Savage's] views might pose a threat to the United Kingdom or its citizens â€“ as do other persons who made it on the list â€“ is â€¦ preposterous. â€¦ If Britain is a teeming pool of volatile hate, only waiting for someone to walk along and toss a match, that is a societal problem for the British to tackle as a nation."
Note: Concerned individuals may contact Britain's Home Office Secretary Jacqui Smith by e-mail, call 011 44 20 7035 4848 or fax 011 44 20 7035 4745.