When the subject of the “Fairness” Doctrine comes up, Democrats respond “Obama’s said he won’t for it”. It’s both correct and irrelevant; Obama doesn’t need to do a thing; the cynical among us believe he knows that full well, and that he’s got henchpeople to do that hyperpartisan, not-so-hopey-changey work for him.
And they are doing it:
Another Democratic U.S. senator has gone on record as supporting the reinstatement of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” adding, “I feel like that’s gonna happen.”
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told radio host and WND columnist Bill Press yesterday when asked about whether it was time to bring back the so-called “Fairness Doctrine”: “I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else – I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.”
Did you catch that?
We need “Accountability” and “Standards” for free speech?
Can you imagine if, at any point in the past eight years, any Republican had suggested we needed “standards” for any First Amendment liberty? He’d have been tarred and feathered…no, he or she’d have been pilloried in the media, and quietly shuffled off the stage.
Of course, no Republican suggested doing any such thing to the civil rights of Americans in the past eight years.
Asked by Press if she could be counted on to push for hearings in the Senate this year “to bring these (radio station) owners in and hold them accountable,” Stabenow replied: “I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that’s gonna happen. Yep.”
I have felt that the Democrats were going to use Obama’s anointment and coronation as an excuse for overreach; in their decades on the intellectual margin, they have become brittle, shrill, dogmatic…
…and I guess, given these proposals, “authoritarian”:
“For many, many years, we operated under a Fairness Doctrine in this country,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., told Albuquerque radio station KKOB last year. “I think the country was well-served. I think the public discussion was at a higher level and more intelligent in those days than it has become since.”
It was not. It was dreary, monochrome, and nobody cared, because nobody listened to it.
And yes – behind the shaking heads and the solemn assurances, the Dems have been lining up behind the proposals.
And, lest we forget, the Dems don’t need Obama, or Congress, or the title “The Fairness Doctrine” to ram this piece of garbage through:
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Bush appointee whose term runs through June, however, warned that Democrats may be adopting a stealthier approach to shutting down conservatives on talk radio.
In a speech to the Media Institute in Washington last week, Multichannel News reports, McDowell suggested there are efforts to implement the controversial policy without using the red-flagged “Fairness Doctrine” label.
“That’s just Marketing 101,” McDowell explained. “If your brand is controversial, make it a new brand.”
Instead, McDowell alleged, Democrats will try to disguise their efforts in the name of localism, diversity or network neutrality.
McDowell further suggested that the FCC may already be gearing up to enforce the “Fairness Doctrine” through community advisory boards that help determine local programming. While radio stations use the boards on a voluntary basis now, McDowell warned if the advisory panels become mandatory, “Would not such a policy be akin to a re-imposition of the Doctrine, albeit under a different name and sales pitch?”
I warned you about this months ago. The Dems have been preparing the ground for this fight for quite some time.
And while Republicans’ prediction of “Fairness Doctrine” legislation remains unfulfilled and highly speculative, a WND investigation has revealed that McDowell and Walden aren’t just fear-mongering, as some have suggested. A think tank headed by John Podesta, co-chairman of Obama’s transition team, mapped out a strategy in 2007 for clamping down on talk radio using language that has since been parroted by both the Obama campaign and the new administration’s White House website.
In June of 2007, Podesta’s Center for American Progress released a report titled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” detailing the conservative viewpoint’s dominance on the airwaves and proposing steps for leveling the playing field.
I worked this report over when it came out. Please read that piece – it’s one of the better pieces I’ve written.
To borrow a phrase from Reagan, we do have a time for choosing, here. After eight years of whinging endlessly about Americans’ civil liberties that were never in the faintest shred of danger, we now face a genuine threat to the First Amendment, intended purely to stifle debate in this country.
Part of me hopes the Democrats try. They’ve overreached badly in Obama’s first two weeks; this would be the mother lode.
(Coming soon – Fairness Doctrine FAQ)