Liberals — now controlling both the White House and Congress — are ready to revive the so-called “Fairness” Doctrine to destroy conservative talk radio. The Media Research Center has formed a new “Free Speech Alliance” to defend conservatives’ most effective political weapon against the return of what should be called the “Censorship Doctrine.”
The GOP is nearly leaderless, self-shredded by its steady diet of “Me Too” bipartisan liberalism.
Conservatives were active, agitating against these capitulations of principle. But in the end Congressional Republicans ignored them and enabled Democrats and their allies, the “compassionate conservatives” — aka big government Republicans –, to grow government big enough to squeeze themselves out as the majority party.
Talk radio remains conservatism’s super-highway. It dominates the dial and has been the one public bastion of unfettered, undiluted conservative thought throughout these last dark days and years.
This is precisely why the Left wants to shut it down by bringing back the antiquated anti-free speech Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation misnamed the “Fairness” Doctrine, which was rescinded in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.
The conservative movement grasps the vital need to rally together to defend free speech and preserve talk radio. Thus the already overwhelming rush to play a part in the Free Speech Alliance. So far, twenty-nine organizations have signed on in just over two weeks.
The FSA’s primary objective is to make the Censorship Doctrine the political third-rail it should rightly be — one that no politician, no matter how earnest his or her desires, dare touch. Should any official even hint at reinstatement, members of the FSA stand ready to provide a coordinated, broad-based and devastating response.
And already we have had some success, as Censorship Doctrine proponent Henry Rivera, President-elect Barack Obama’s former FCC transition leader, will tell you. The FSA’s response to Rivera’s appointment was so fierce that less than a week later he had been “reassigned” elsewhere within the Obama transition team.
The FSA’s member organizations’ day-to-day issue interests are found throughout the conservative panoply, but they all recognize the preeminent nature of the threat of the Censorship Doctrine. The silencing of Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and so many others would limit severly conservatives’ participation in the national political debate.
Individual Americans all across the nation — who exit polls show never wavered in their conservatism — also understand the danger and are engaging in the fight. Already well over 200,000 have signed the Free Speech Alliance petition demanding that the Censorship Doctrine never again be returned to blight the land. They too stand ready to act whenever the First Amendment is threatened.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Nothing focuses the mind like the sight of the gallows.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senators Jeff Bingaman and Diane Feinstein are but a few of the elected Leftists who have openly expressed their will to shut down conservative talk radio. Sen. Chuck Schumer recently likened it to pornography; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called its hosts “generators of simplicity.”
All of this high-powered support for censorship on Capitol Hill is frightening — but not necessary to bring back the Censorship Doctrine. No Congressional action at all is in fact required. All that is needed is a 3-2 vote by an Obama Administration’s FCC, and presto! it will be back on the books.
President-elect Obama has publicly stated he is not interested in its return. But then again, he publicly stated for years his support of the public financing of political campaigns and on two public occasions stated he would accept public financing for his Presidential effort. He kept publicly saying “No” to bypassing the public finance system right up until the moment he said “Yes.”
Conservatives cannot be blamed for remaining skeptical of Obama’s single public “No” on reinstating the Censorship Doctrine, especially considering his first impulse was to appoint Rivera as his man to head the FCC transition team. And he has in the very recent past shown no compunction in threatening to bring the force of the FCC to bear on his political opponents. (Then Obama could only ask the government regulators to act; very soon he will be able to order them to do so.)
Capitol Hill is now thoroughly dominated by Leftists who openly express their desire to censor talk radio. The White House is now occupied by a man who has repeatedly demonstrated he does not like opponents speaking freely and will bring the full force of government to bear to silence them.
The time to act is now. The continuing growth of the Free Speech Alliance illustrates that the occasionally wayward and divided conservative movement understands this and is united in stopping the return of the Censorship Doctrine. The never-errant American people are also climbing aboard in droves.
The First Amendment is at stake. Here’s the on-ramp; let’s ride.