“Free” Speech in the Obama Era
posted at 12:55 pm on October 12, 2009 by Howard Portnoy
Forget about the Fairness Doctrine. It’s history — yesterday’s new. Of course, by the time the Obama administration is done with its all-out assault on the First Amendment, you may find yourself longing for the simple days when any opinion expressed on the airwaves had to be “balanced” by the opposing view.
If you don’t already know the name Julius Genachowski, you should. In June of this year, he was confirmed and sworn in as Obama’s new FCC Commissioner. And what has the new commish been up to since his hiring? To the delight of opponents of free speech everywhere, he has been waging a zealous campaign for “net neutrality.”
Net neutrality — despite its benign, almost positive-sounding ring — is defined at a site called Save the Internet as a way “to expand the rules to protect a free and open Internet . . . against increased efforts by providers to block services and applications over both wired and wireless connections.” You don’t need a scorecard to understand that a phrase like expand the rules is liberal-speak for more government regulation. As to “providers” blocking “services and applications,” that too should strike a familiar chord to anyone following the health-care reform debate. Its alternative names include free enterprise and healthy competition, both anathema to big government in general and the current administration in particular.
Save the Internet, by the way, is sponsored by Free Press, a name that will be familiar to Glenn Beck viewers and listeners. The group’s founder, Robert W. McChesney, is a self-avowed Marxist who favors a complete overhaul of communications as we know it — a “communications revolution,” to use his phrase of choice — as one means to combatting social inequality. By a remarkable coincidence, Genachowski selected as his press secretary a woman named Jen Howard, whose previous credentials include a stint as a Free Press spokeswoman.
But the coincidences don’t stop there. Free Press also has ties to Obama’s Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd, himself no stranger to Marxism and radical ideas. Lloyd has expressed admiration for Hugo Chavez and Venezuela’s “incredible democratic revolution” and has demanded that white people” step down from important positions so power can be handed off to “people of color” and “gays.”
And what are Lloyd’s views about free speech? For one thing, he believes the Fairness Doctrine never went far enough in fostering “coverage of important issues in a way that spoke to the diversity of interests in local communities across our country.”
If you find Lloyd’s views troubling, you are not alone. Last month, Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, a member of the Congressional Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, expressed grave concerns over some of Llyod’s stated positions. He asked Genachowski to make Lloyd available for questioning by the subcommittee, which the FCC Commissioner agreed to do. That interview before Congress has yet to occur.
Cross-posted at Zombie Contentions
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