The assault on the 1st Amendment that is being planned by the government and the extremist Left is not limited to their desire to silence conservative talk radio. Newspapers and television are not immune to the anti-First Amendment efforts that are at work here. In addition, the internet is also a target for receiving the restrictive aspects of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” as a means of stifling criticism for anything that is being reported or commented upon. Apparently the administration wishes to silence any avenue from which the truth can escape the yoke of government tyranny. ~ Roger Hedgecock, Talk Host and Chairman of The American Radio Free Speech Foundation and DontTouchMyDial.com
For a fleeting moment earlier this year, we thought we had a victory on free speech. The Senate had an 87-11 vote on a rider to the D.C. voting rights bill. They called it the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA), and it would once and for all end the Fairness Doctrine.
But the enemies of free speech don’t give up that easily, and they wrap themselves in groups with names like “Free Press” and “Media Matters.”
The target is not just conservative political radio; Christian radio is in the cross hairs, too. So on the same day we were relieved to see that Senate vote a rider was added to the same bill by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il). It passed on a mostly-partisan 57-41 vote. The wording was innocuous. It said its purpose was, “To encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership, and to ensure that the public airwaves are used in the public interest.”
The Durbin Amendment is filled with nice concepts like “localism,” “media diversity” and “meeting the community interests.” Which are euphemisms for limiting content on radio and television by imposing the same requirements that the “Fairness” Doctrine would.
What is coming is not about fairness. It is about silencing certain voices. If the government is to decide “community needs” and “media diversity,” that means the free market can’t. Which is, entirely, the liberals’ point.
They believe that communities don’t need conservative views: in the culture of big government and the media that supports it, liberalism is the norm. Nothing that disagrees with their narrative — especially independent conservative thinking — is normal or even possible. And when “localism” and “diversity” are layered atop government-dictated “community needs,” all you can have is the liberal view all day every day.
In addition to regulating radio, there’s talk of regulating the Internet and bailing out newspapers. This is not about fairness or diversity or community interests. This is about propping up liberal media that aren’t sustained by the free market. To compete in the free market you have to have both ideas and commercial viability. Liberal newspapers and radio don’t have either, so they fail. And now the liberals want to prop them up with taxpayer money and special laws to enable them all to function like NPR.
What’s the next hurdle? It is mobilizing against any government intervention into political content on radio or internet and the preservation of private ownership of newspapers. Log on to DontTouchMyDial.com to find out how you can be involved in this movement. The Democrats have the votes to do whatever they want in Congress and the FCC and impose rules without legislation from Congress. So make your voice heard to Congress and the FCC, and it will make a difference.
On May 7, the FCC is having a hearing on diversity in media. Henry Rivera is on the panel. Rivera is an infamous supporter of government-controlled media. He resigned from the FCC in 1985 because he opposed the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. Initially, Mr. Rivera was the interim FCC Chair during the Obama transition. Due to the controversy over his past service on the FCC, his was out.
We the people have successfully poisoned the well on the phrase “Fairness Doctrine.” But the Democrats and this administration will not give up, and they will approach it in a different way. The terms will be innocuous and seem fair, but when you ask a person whether they want to nationalize the press or control content on radio, newspapers or television, people get it.
There is a reason why the press is called the Fourth Estate. A free press is essential in protecting our liberty. This is not the first time our free speech has been threatened. The Alien and Sedition Acts of the early 1800s led to the arrest of editors of newspapers who opposed the Adams administration. Then in the early 1900s, there was a period of “Yellow Journalism,” and free speech was maligned again. In this century, the broadcast media is under scrutiny. Television is a bastion of the left, so radio has filled the void with many conservative voices. Radio, the Internet, and a free press is the balance to have hammer on the left.
Political speech is worth fighting for. Don’t sit on the sidelines on this one. Log on to DontTouchMyDial.com and get involved today.