Obama administration no longer issuing denials on Fairness Doctrine

posted at 12:00 pm on February 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when the Left laughed at conservatives’ concerns over the Fairness Doctrine? Barack Obama already said he opposed the reimposition of the FCC rule, they said.  After all, Obama’s campaign gave this definitive statement in June 2008:

“Senator Obama does not support re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters,” said press secretary Michael Ortiz in an e-mail to B&C late Wednesday.

“He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible,” said Ortiz.

As our friend Jim Geraghty reminds us, all of Barack Obama’s statements come with an expiration date.  Today, Chris Wallace interviewed David Axelrod and asked him directly about the Fairness Doctrine — and suddenly the White House adviser got a lot less definitive:

WALLACE: Will you rule out reimposing the Fairness Doctrine?

AXELROD: I’m going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC, to, and the president, to discuss. So I don’t have an answer for you now.

That’s hardly a denial, as Politico’s Michael Calderone notes:

Lester Kinsolving, the conservative radio host, has twice asked Robert Gibbs about it in the briefing room, and each time, the press secretary didn’t reveal the administration’s position.

Last week, I reached out to press office staffers in order to find out if the administration’s position is the same as in June, and have not yet received a response.

If Obama’s position on the Fairness Doctrine is the same as during the campaign — and I have no reason to believe it isn’t — stating such clearly would quickly silence a lot of conservative critics who assume the Democratic president is going to try and reinstate the defunct policy. Otherwise, the Fairness Doctrine chatter on the airwaves isn’t likely to die down.

It’s an easy question.  Does this administration believe in free speech or government censorship?  Their sudden inability to provide a clear answer, when they had no problem giving such assurances eight months ago, does not bode well for the answer.

I’d like to say I told you so to all of those who accused us of paranoia, but the window on that ability to do so on the airwaves looks like it’s about to expire — like all of Obama’s campaign promises.

The American media should be ashamed of themselves on this issue.  They pose as the defenders of the First Amendment and free speech.  Why are Chris Wallace and Michael Calderone the only MSM people pursuing this?


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I disagree, I do not believe Keith Olbermann should be allowed to say what he says, nor do I believe Michael Savage should be allow to either.

I am sorry, but I can’t accept that statement. I do not want you or the government deciding what is correct speech. They do that in places like CUBA and the USSR not in the USA.

sonofdy on February 16, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Remember – that person goes into the voting booth come every election….a whole bunch of his listeners just did.

Thats keiths right and those voters rights.

sonofdy on February 16, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Thats keiths right and those voters rights.

sonofdy on February 16, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Fine, but remember what happened to Sarah Palin.

Keith Olbermann was the one who muddied the waters about what she actually said about seeing Russia and what Tina Fey said.

Had someone of a dissenting view been sitting there next to Olby it would have never taken hold the way it did.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 3:20 PM

That is the price we pay for a free press, and free speech.

When did that become old fashioned?

sonofdy on February 16, 2009 at 3:23 PM

That is the price we pay for a free press, and free speech.

When did that become old fashioned?

sonofdy on February 16, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Ok, but I do not understand how the Fairness Doctrine will stop free speech.

It will only hold the talkers responsibl;e for what they are telling the public. I don’t understand how that could be a bad thing, unless those opposed want to propagate and push rumor and innuendo about someone.

It would work both ways and stop the Olbermann and Michael Moores of the world as well.

What’s so wrong with detering them from stretching and bending the truth?

Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her back porch, Tina Fey said it in a skit – which was fine – it was political satire.

But Keith Olbermann ran with it and turned it into political dialouge, even Barbara Walters believed she said it.

Thank God he doesn’t have a political radio show.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 3:30 PM

AprilOrit: I recommend you re-read the first amendment and study a little on the censorship laws in places like Nazi Germany and the USSR. You really can’t see the future unless you know the past.

This is exactly why world history should be taught every year.

sonofdy on February 16, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Ok, but I do not understand how the Fairness Doctrine will stop free speech.

.

The Fairness Doctrine is meant to close down all political discussion on AM radio only. That it only affects conservatives is just their bad luck (wink, wink). The TV channels will say they only report the news and so should not be affected. NPR will say it’s already balanced. The beauty of the Fairness Doctrine is that the words “Conservative,” “Liberal” or “Republican” don’t have to be mentioned when enforcing it. All they have to do is insist that poorly listened to shows appear as balance for popular shows. The station then either has to comply and go bankrupt, or it fights in court forever and goes bankrupt (winning isn’t a solution because the next day another case will pop up). The stations only out would be to change formats in order to save itself the never ending trouble of broadcasting political talk. That’s why there was no political talk radio the last time there was a Fairness Doctrine. What could be more Anti-Freedom of Speech?

Fred 2 on February 16, 2009 at 4:15 PM

The Fairness Doctrine is meant to close down all political discussion on AM radio only.

Not true at all. Where does it say that all political discussion is automatically shut down?

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 4:20 PM

That’s its beauty. No one mentions anything. All that happens is that political talk slowly disappears as the station owners realize it’s cheaper and easier to switch formats to Top 40 and Golden Oldies. That’s why there was no talk radio the last time there was a Fairness Doctrine. A Fairness Doctrine guarantees a million complaints of a station’s unfairness, that all have to be answered by a squad of full-time lawyers. And you might even lose a few lawsuit, in which case you are forced to broadcast a show with no listeners. It’s troublesome, expensive and never-ending. What could be more anti-Freedom of Speech?

Fred 2 on February 16, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Fine, but remember what happened to Sarah Palin.
Keith Olbermann was the one who muddied the waters about what she actually said about seeing Russia and what Tina Fey said.
Had someone of a dissenting view been sitting there next to Olby it would have never taken hold the way it did.
AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Imagine, though, that on every opinion show you’re required to have somebody with an opposing opinion… it would get kind of ridiculous. Seems we just have to think critically, and reason for ourselves whether Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house or Al Gore said he invented the internet.

Constantine on February 16, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Imagine, though, that on every opinion show you’re required to have somebody with an opposing opinion… it would get kind of ridiculous. Seems we just have to think critically, and reason for ourselves whether Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house or Al Gore said he invented the internet.

Constantine on February 16, 2009 at 4:53 PM

It’s a tough call. Talk Radio and Cable News are full of smear-meisters looking to destroy careers.

For once I wish we had the power to turn the tables on them and detroy theirs – give them a taste of their own medicine.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 4:58 PM

It would work both ways and stop the Olbermann and Michael Moores of the world as well.

What’s so wrong with detering them from stretching and bending the truth?

First of all you would have to believe that they are interested in being fair, which they are not. Next you would have to believe that they are just interested in stimulating intelligent thought, which they are not. Then you would have to believe in the Tooth Fairy and Mother Goose. To think that these people even care about being fair is to still believe that Obama has every intention to rein them in, which he will not. As it says in Romans 1 they are diluted in their thinking and anyone who disagrees with them will become their targets. My question to those conservatives who voted for these so called changes is. Did you really think that these fascist liberals where going to bring positive change to America? If you believed that then you spent to much time watching that very, very, very fair left wing show called, The View, where they don’t stretch and twist the truth at all. Anyone want to buy some swamp land?

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 5:17 PM

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Why the need to quote Scripture? You lost me with that crap.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 6:13 PM

The great thing about freedom of speech is that no one can take it away from you. They have to scare you into giving up that freedom. There will not be a religious debate here. We will all find out how that turns out one day. I have just stated the obvious and commented on it. You have the right to your opinion. But it is interesting how those on the left think that they are the only ones who have that right and everyone else, including Christians need to be shut up. I just read an article about how many who live in Europe think that the Jews are still to blame for all the problems in the world. It is amazing how as time goes on, some things just don’t change. Change, now where have I heard that word before.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 6:40 PM

The great thing about freedom of speech is that no one can take it away from you. They have to scare you into giving up that freedom. There will not be a religious debate here. We will all find out how that turns out one day. I have just stated the obvious and commented on it. You have the right to your opinion. But it is interesting how those on the left think that they are the only ones who have that right and everyone else, including Christians need to be shut up. I just read an article about how many who live in Europe think that the Jews are still to blame for all the problems in the world. It is amazing how as time goes on, some things just don’t change. Change, now where have I heard that word before.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Ahem, I am one of those jews who believes politics and religion do not go together.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Maybe not. But politics and morality do.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Maybe not. But politics and morality do.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 6:51 PM

You need to stop listening to Hal Turner….

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 7:14 PM

I don’t know who Hal Turner is but you being Jewish I’m sure you know the story about how King David forgot all about morality as he was standing on the balcony staring at Bathsheba. Immorality plays no favorites. It takes no prisoners. And it does destroy countries and lives.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 7:41 PM

I don’t know who Hal Turner is but you being Jewish I’m sure you know the story about how King David forgot all about morality as he was standing on the balcony staring at Bathsheba. Immorality plays no favorites. It takes no prisoners. And it does destroy countries and lives.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 7:41 PM

OK, wll then I guess we are on the same page because it just so happens that I find both Far Right and Far Left Talkers very immoral.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 7:53 PM

It will only hold the talkers responsibl;e for what they are telling the public. I don’t understand how that could be a bad thing, unless those opposed want to propagate and push rumor and innuendo about someone.

You don’t understand why instituting viewpoint discrimination (holding people responsible for what they say) would be a bad thing? What part of “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of expression, or of the press” don’t you understand?

From the bill’s text:

(5) News consumers, particularly those of talk radio, are overwhelmingly exposed to a single point of view. A 2004 survey by Democracy Radio revealed that 90 percent of all broadcast hours on talk radio are characterized as conservative. This imbalance results in issues of public importance receiving little or no attention, while others are presented in a manner not conducive to the listeners’ receiving the facts and range of opinions necessary to make informed decisions.

(6) The 2004 survey, done by Democracy Radio, found that there were 2,349 hours of local conservative programs broadcast every week versus 555 hours of local progressive programs, and 39,382 hours of national conservative programs broadcast every week versus 2,487 hours of national progressive programs.

The reasons for passing this bill include the disparity in hours logged for different viewpoints on talk radio. So Congress is passing this bill at least in part because they want to change the expression of viewpoints over the airwaves. The Fairness doctrine is thus absolutely a violation of the First Amendment, because it subjects the speaker to government whim regarding whether he expressed both sides of a controversial issue or not. “Any color of shirt so long as it’s multicolored” is not freedom of choice, and “any speech so long as it’s multisided” is not freedom of expression.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 7:54 PM

I should amend my previous post: the problem is not that “holding people responsible for what they say” equates to viewpoint discrimination, but rather that “holding people responsible for what they say” is a misleading way of putting it. People are already held responsible for what they say in various ways: laws against defamation, fighting words, incitement to violence, and so on are on the books. What the Fairness doctrine attempts to do is hold people responsible for releasing content that someone doesn’t like and therefore thinks is “unfair.” Which is, at its heart, fundamentally absurd. If you don’t like what you’re listening to because you view the content as unbalanced, you can stop listening to it. You don’t need to stifle the speech on account of it being unbalanced.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 7:59 PM

So you believe it was Fair and ok for Keith Olbermann to spread the misconception that Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house, when in fact it was said by Tina Fey?

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 8:08 PM

Maybe not. But politics and morality do.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Wrong. The right to freedom of expression includes the right to express immoral positions just as it includes the right to express unbalanced positions.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 8:09 PM

OK, wll then I guess we are on the same page because it just so happens that I find both Far Right and Far Left Talkers very immoral.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Good for you. You understand what being responsible with your freedoms is all about. Making responsible choices in life goes hand in hand with maintaining those freedoms. When a nation of people start making bad immoral choices then the consequences that follow are something that they do not usually like. But just because they don’t like those consequences does not mean they will not happen. History has shown this to be true. Time and time again.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Maybe not. But politics and morality do.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Wrong. The right to freedom of expression includes the right to express immoral positions just as it includes the right to express unbalanced positions.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 8:09 PM

No, as I said true freedom comes with responsibility. You can argue till your blue in the face but bad choices are bad choices. Those bad choices are what tilts a nations to destruction. How balanced do you think that is?

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 8:17 PM

So you believe it was Fair and ok for Keith Olbermann to spread the misconception that Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house, when in fact it was said by Tina Fey?

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 8:08 PM

1. “Fair” has nothing to do with it.
2. A newscaster lying on TV (surely not an unprecedented occurrence) is insufficient reason to abridge the Constitution.
3. I believe Sarah Palin could sue for defamation:
a. Olbermann’s lie could cause her significant political damage, because her original statement was true and Olbermann’s misquote was false;
b. Olbermann could be reasonably expected to know the difference between what Palin said and what Tina Fey said, given his position.
c. Because of Olbermann’s position, his repeated misstatement is either a knowing lie (actual malice) or reckless disregard for the truth (if he hadn’t bothered to figure out what she actually said).

Certainly Olbermann can’t claim defense on truth, privilege, statement of opinion, fair comment on a matter of public interest, or innocent dissemination.

In any case, this situation is not a case of unbalanced reporting, but of dishonest reporting. There’s a huge difference. Enacting the Fairness Doctrine may not do anything about falsehoods like Olbermann’s, while still having all the negative effects previously described. Therefore, the Olbermann situation can only be described as a straw man, set up so that the real issue of unbalanced reporting can be avoided.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 8:22 PM

No, as I said true freedom comes with responsibility. You can argue till your blue in the face but bad choices are bad choices. Those bad choices are what tilts a nations to destruction. How balanced do you think that is?

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 8:17 PM

The Bill of Rights is not to be abridged based on allegations of irresponsibility. Furthermore, do you really trust the government to decide what is “immoral,” what is “bad,” what is “responsible” and “balanced”? A child needs to be protected from making “bad choices.” I hope that the US is not yet a nation of children.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Of course Keith Olbermann has the right to spew his opinion, and his right to do so does not rest on someone else getting equal time on his show or his station to refute it.

I’m afraid April, you don’t understand the concept of free speech, and you think there is actually a “truth” that can be determined for everything, when there isn’t.

The historical background on this whole thing is that it won’t be applied to places where liberal speech already dominates, and/or any “opposing voices” won’t actually be all that opposing.

The listeners and watchers don’t NEED someone else to come in and tell them what to listen to and who to heed. They are perfectly capable of flipping the dial and coming to their own conclusions, as they are not actually children need guiding by their betters.

You can’t control who or what people listen to “before they go into the voting booth,” nor should you even try. If they don’t vote the way we would like, well, that is just the way the cookie crumble.

The Fairness Doctrine or any such plan isn’t going to do anything to protect Sarah Palin, but it will prevent us from hearing about Sarah Palin. We have libel and slander laws already that people can avail themselves of when they want, including Sarah Palin.

Speech and opinion is not meant to be “nipped in the bud,” and should never be nipped in the bud.

That is the essence of free speech.

Alana on February 16, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Get ready for the oppressive left in this country. The increase in taxes is just the beginning. They have more power as a result of Obama’s election and they will attempt to squelch freedom of speech in the USA by imposing the “Fairness Doctrine”. They can’t stop themselves. The left as a group is intolerant of anything, or anyone, who doesn’t agree with them.

This is only the beginning, folks.

EyeOnTheSky on February 16, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Hands up who thinks the Nazis were immoral? Yet their speech is not stifled on account of immorality:
When the Nazis Came to Skokie
National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Hands up who thinks the Nazis were immoral? Yet their speech is not stifled on account of immorality:
When the Nazis Came to Skokie
National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 8:38 PM

You have my hand up on that one. there is a saying, ” Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat history”. The Nazi’s followed Hitler down that path to destruction. Thank God that there where those that chose to stand up against this immorality. Making that choice is not an easy one. But either way there where choices made. Right choices to stop an evil man and his followers and evil choices to destroy those that disagreed with them. That sounds like Socialism to me. The Fairness Doctrine is designed to do the same thing that Hitler did. Shut up his critics. Not to level the playing for evil purposes. Because the playing field is already unbalanced towards evil. You talk about freedom of choice, Yet these socialist want to restrict the freedom of everyone who disagrees with them. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are only document that will stand as long as our leaders care about them. Let’s take this a little further. This, as I said will not be a religious debate but I have one question. If their is a God and if the Bible is His word, do you think that one word of any law that is passed, including this Fairness Doctrine will change one single word from His word? We are not robots, but we are responsible for the choices we make. Like it or not. And those politicians that think they can change that will also be held responsible for the choices they make.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 9:01 PM

Get ready for the oppressive left in this country. The increase in taxes is just the beginning. They have more power as a result of Obama’s election and they will attempt to squelch freedom of speech in the USA by imposing the “Fairness Doctrine”. They can’t stop themselves. The left as a group is intolerant of anything, or anyone, who doesn’t agree with them.

This is only the beginning, folks.

EyeOnTheSky on February 16, 2009 at 8:36 PM

I’m afraid you’re right. Totalitarians-in-waiting.

ddrintn on February 16, 2009 at 9:08 PM

darwinatridge, we’re in violent agreement that the Fairness doctrine should not be enacted.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 9:22 PM

darwinatridge, we’re in violent agreement that the Fairness doctrine should not be enacted.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 9:22 PM

Yes we are.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 9:47 PM

The Fairness Doctrine or any such plan isn’t going to do anything to protect Sarah Palin, but it will prevent us from hearing about Sarah Palin. We have libel and slander laws already that people can avail themselves of when they want, including Sarah Palin.

She’s a public figure – would have a hard time proving she was libeled and slandered.

The historical background on this whole thing is that it won’t be applied to places where liberal speech already dominates, and/or any “opposing voices” won’t actually be all that opposing.

I disagree – it you were right Air America would not be concerned and they are.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 9:49 PM

I disagree – it you were right Air America would not be concerned and they are.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 9:49 PM

Air America is concerned because the only ones that listened to their trash are those on the far left. Does anyone know if they are recipients of any bailout money? Because they where going broke because they could not get the advertising dollars for that exact reason. They did not have much of an audience.

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Is it just me or does Axelgrease look like a sleazy used car salesman?

jimmy2shoes on February 16, 2009 at 10:27 PM

darwinatridge on February 16, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Article from News Busters.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 10:37 PM

She’s a public figure – would have a hard time proving she was libeled and slandered.

Yes, she would have to prove “actual malice” or “reckless disregard for the truth” to make a slander/libel charge stick, which a non-public figure wouldn’t have to do. But I already covered that – either Olbermann knew he was lying, or he didn’t care enough to find out. Do you think she would have an easier time charging that his misquotation was “unbalanced”? Gimme a break. Oh, and…in case you didn’t notice, Olbermann doesn’t run a radio program, so the Fairness doctrine wouldn’t apply to him. It’s utterly meaningless to discuss whether a “fair” opposition to Olbermann would have solved anything, because no such opposition is in the offing.

The historical background on this whole thing is that it won’t be applied to places where liberal speech already dominates, and/or any “opposing voices” won’t actually be all that opposing.

I disagree – it you were right Air America would not be concerned and they are.

AprilOrit on February 16, 2009 at 9:49 PM

Did you read the part of the bill I quoted talking about how 90% of broadcast hours and more than 90% of broadcasted programs are conservative? That’s the part of the media that will be affected by the Fairness doctrine. The areas of the media dominated by liberal thought, e.g. televised programs like Keith Olbermann’s, will be unaffected. Putting up Air America as a single anecdote is disingenuous.

Math_Mage on February 16, 2009 at 10:56 PM

We are getting closer and closer to 212 farenheit.

Team Obama is showing signs of going for a complete power grab. AprilInOrbit is going for the big lie “nothing to see here, move along”.

The truth is that this is the beginning of a deliberate attempt to silence dissent. The issues are

- the am band was pretty much dead after the onset of FM.
- Some heavyset cigar smoking guy named rush somebody started going with a talk format and it took off.
- Conservative talk radio flourishes. Liberal talk radio falls on it’s face – look at err america and the station in DC.
- If the fairness doctrine is implemented, it will mean tha t broadcasters will have to split their time. Since half of that time will fail to generate listeners and revenue, the stations will be forced to abandon the format entirely.
- The so called mainstream media will not be affected by this. AprilInOrbit keeps mentioning the straw man arguement of P*nishead Oblieman. He would NOT be affected by the fairness doctrine.

This is the beginning folks. It’s only gonna get worse.

The idea of fairness for the mainstream media will be that someone gets to have a tingle somewhere besides their legs to offset chrissy matthews.

bullseye on February 16, 2009 at 11:26 PM

It is never a good thing when government decides what political speech you ought to be listening to. Listership and consumer demand should drive what is broadcasted, nothing else.

Those who think the Fairness Doctrine is a wonderfully equitable thing, don’t have memory of its last installation, when it was used to strongarm broadcasters for political gain.

If liberals had anything worth listening to, they would be able to compete in the talk radio market. Unfortunately no one, not even liberals themselves, are willing to listen to it. This is why it will shut down conservative talk.

Rather than take the hits in the ratings by being forced to present liberal talk, the stations will simply change formats to financial talk, or merely play music to avoid lawsuits from wacko activist organizations who will march and chant at their studios.

Additionally, liberals are not talking about applying it to NPR, public television, network television, cable television, newspapers, magazines, book publishers, movie studios, etc. The only media that Fairness Doctrine supporters are concerned with, is the one media where Conservative thought thrives. Why?

It’s unfortunate that liberals do not support free speech.

jjrakman on February 17, 2009 at 12:28 AM

This was taken from Neal Boortz’ website from yesterday. It should give you a different perspective on how the “Fairness Doctrine” will work.

They’re really cranking up the language out there. Jerry Brown, the California Attorney General, was on Michael Savage’s talk show last week pushing the idea. Governor Moonbeam (or whatever they call him this week) actually said “A little state control never hurt anybody.” Now that’s a nice little Democrat. Democrats love state control. Only government is bright enough to do these things … not the private sector, and certainly not the people. No Democrat in his right mind would ever let the public decide what they wanted to listen to on radio.

Let me clue you in on something. If any leftist or Democrat ever tells you that the Fairness Doctrine is about restoring some sort of balance .. that person is lying in your face. The Fairness Doctrine is about destroying syndicated talk radio .. nothing less.

Try this: I want you to pay a visit to the Media Matters website. Media Matters is an organization that has dedicated itself to the destruction of conservative talk radio. In fact, the Clinton/Soros myrmidons at Media Matters are setting up the infrastructure they need to launch a full-scale attack on talk radio as soon as the Fairness Doctrine is reinstated. Now if you were to ask these folks what they’re up to, they would tell you that they’re just about fairness and balance. Again .. they’re liars. They’re lying straight to your face.

Click this link. You’re going to see the Media Matters website in the background with a dialogue box in the center. “Join our Team Today!” it says. “Help us hold the media accountable.” The box reads “Send me Media Matters newsletters and action alerts.” Then come the sign-up spaces. Action alerts? Well, they ask for your first and last name – but that’s voluntary. They then require your email address and zip code. Now just why would they want your zip code? Well … let me tell you.

On their main page Media Matters says “Over the next few months, we’ll be developing new tools to help you take action on both the national and local levels.” What kind of action? Complaining to individual radio stations and making equal-time demands, that’s what kind of action.

Media Matters is building a database of radio stations around the country that carry their two main enemies, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I’m probably not important enough for them to waste the time building a database for me. Perhaps that’s a good thing. But I’ll guarantee that they have a list of Hannity radio stations .. and that list includes all of the zip codes in the signal coverage area for each radio station. Here’s how they will use that information:

After implementation of the Fairness Doctrine Media Matters staffers and volunteers will monitor what’s being said by Hannity. (We’ll stick with Sean for this example). As soon as Hannity voices an opinion on a controversial issue – like socialized medicine – Media Matters will get into their database and send emails to members of their “action network” in virtually every Hannity zip code. These “action network” members will be encouraged to call their local Hannity radio station and demand, pursuant to the Fairness Doctrine, time to express an opposing viewpoint. The radio stations will be forced to interrupt programming to present a constant stream of these “opposing” sound bites or risk losing their licenses to operate. In just a matter of days these radio stations will be completely fed up with the constant stream of Media Matters (and other organizations, to be sure) generated demands for equal time. They’ll start dropping these syndicated shows like hot coals. This may turn out to be good for local talk talent … but it will kill syndicated talk radio. That, after all, is the ultimate Democrat goal. They know they can’t succeed in the genre, so destroy those who can.

Heywood Jablome on February 17, 2009 at 1:11 AM

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