In our 2007 book “The Death of Talk Radio?” Cliff Kincaid and I warned
that if Democrats were to retake the White House, they would implement
their plan to dismantle conservative talk radio. It didn’t take long.
On Election Day, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York went on Fox News and
said, “I think we should all be fair and balanced, don’t you?”
may have thought he was being clever, but talk radio hosts such as
myself have reason to be wary. Anyone who is a consumer of talk radio
either for entertainment or to keep up with current events should be
concerned. Schumer was not being cute; he was being arrogant.
the election over, and with the Democrats about to control both houses
of Congress, the White House, and—with President Obama’s appointment
power—the federal judiciary, liberals like Sen. Schumer and
organizations like Media Matters for America have no reason to hold
back. They don’t believe the First Amendment has any relevance to talk
radio and they intend to end conservative dominance of the dial.
not like they’ve been all that stealthy anyway. The “Media Act” bill,
introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York, has been floating
around for a long time. And there are prominent Democrats who have
openly pined for a “Hush Rush” measure including Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen.
Diane Feinstein and Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
But Schumer took it
a step forward, practically announcing that the era of talk radio is
over: “The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want
the FCC to limit pornography on the air. I am for that. But you can’t
say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you
are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.”
Schumer is comparing conservative talk radio to pornography, is he?
This would be laughable except for the fact that “progressives” now
hold the cards. If they want to deem talk radio as porn, only the
Supreme Court stands in their way. President Obama can fix that with a
few appointments, which he almost certainly will get.
strange thing about all this is that the Democrats, at least for now,
are winning. Why would they want to tamper with the current system?
have two rising media stars: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, both
on talk-cable and both on MSNBC. Olbermann is a flaming liberal and
Maddow, while not as intentionally objectionable in her rhetoric, is
just as far left. During the election cycle, their shows shot into the
one million viewer range, putting them in the rarefied air of Fox’s
Potentially, the Democrats could put a cork in Rush
Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (on radio) and Michael Savage while leaving
Olbermann and Maddow unscathed. That’s because Cable TV is
Unfair? Maybe. But we are talking about an unbalanced Congress in more ways than one.
isn’t going to hurt anybody. I just can’t imagine these people who
want to fight against fairness,” said Congresswoman Slaughter to Bill
Moyers back in 2004. But this is “media fairness” in the same way
that Obama promises to spread “economic justice.” Obama’s long-used
term is code for “spread the wealth” just as the “Fairness Doctrine” is
an Orwellian name for shutting up the opposition.
coming, Congressman Mike Pence introduced “The Broadcaster Freedom Act”
in 2007 that would prevent government tampering with free speech on the
air. At that time, all Republicans signed on to sponsor the bill. A
lone Democrat, Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, cosponsored it. That
speaks volumes about how Democrats feel about censorship.
then, we’ve seen a candidate elected to the presidency who bristles
when anyone speaks out against his ideas. Look what happened to Joe the
Plumber and to certain reporters who worked for papers like the Dallas Morning News that endorsed McCain.
Fairness Doctrine is going to make a comeback, and the only thing that
might stop it is the American people. They must realize that if the
new liberal majority takes away the right of talk hosts to comment—it is also taking away their right to listen.