The Free Congress Foundation on Friday, April 13, is hosting a panel discussion on liberal attempts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine in order to intimidate, harass and censor the conservative media. I am pleased to participate because the threat is a real one. In a new report posted on the AIM website, we document how leading Democrats and their allies have no compunctions about using the full force of the federal government to manipulate media coverage in their favor. The Fairness Doctrine would put bureaucrats from the Federal Communications Commission in charge of managing editorial content on radio and TV networks, channels and stations.
The organized left-wing campaign against Fox News, in order to keep Democratic presidential candidates out of any debates sponsored or co-sponsored by the channel, is a taste of what is to come. The left-wing campaign against Fox News is one reason why the channel hired former liberal Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. as a commentator and analyst. In fact, Ford had been a favorite of the channel during his run for the Senate, and he had received campaign contributions from Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the Fox News parent company, and other News Corporation executives. The channel has been feeling the heat.
Of course, the notion that the channel is a conservative Republican mouthpiece is completely absurd and is offered only for the purpose of intimidating its executives and news personalities and moving it further to the left. AIM has put forward a very detailed critique of the channel on conservative grounds, noting its timid coverage of Senator Hillary Clinton and its backing away from asking important questions about Senator Barack Obama’s mysterious past. Many of these concerns can be found in our Fairness Doctrine report.
This brings up the other serious problem that we face–self-censorship. Tragically, the conservative media, which we now depend on for alternative news and information, have been very disappointing in their coverage of a number of key controversies and issues of public importance. In the face of a campaign to return the Fairness Doctrine, the natural reaction of many in the conservative media might be to bend over backwards to an even greater degree, in order to accommodate the left.
North American Union
One example is the reaction to evidence that U.S. officials are laying the groundwork for a North American entity, sometimes called a “North American Community” or “North American Union” of the U.S., Canada and Mexico in economic and other spheres. I attended a Washington conference devoted to developing a North American legal system that included literature outlining the creation of a North American Supreme Court. Lou Dobbs of CNN had me on his show recently to talk about it. “It’s clear that you’re as astounded as I am and as my colleagues are that more people in the media are not focusing on this issue,” he said. Indeed, it is a story with dramatic implications for the survival of our nation as a sovereign entity. Yet, Dobbs is the only major media figure to consider the issue newsworthy. Conservative radio host Michael Medved openly ridiculed those who are covering the issue, and Fox News won’t touch it.
In the latest developments, Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm, has uncovered federal documents indicating that secretive “working groups” in the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a Bush Administration initiative, are working on a “One Card” concept to facilitate cross-border movement between the three countries. The SPP is being sold to the public as an attempt to help business, but the documents indicate a far-reaching effort to erase national borders and even national identity. Previous documents released by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal a strategy called “evolution by stealth” to undermine the sovereignty of the three countries. That suggests a determined effort to keep this from the American people.
It may be difficult for the rest of the media to continue ignoring the controversy because opposition to the SPP is growing not only in the U.S. but Canada and Mexico. In fact, activists, academics, union officials, politicians and journalists from Canada, Mexico and the United States were in Ottawa from March 31-April 1 to organize opposition to the initiative. Judi McLeod of the Canada Free Press reports sources close to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as saying that he is firmly against Canada being part of any North American Union and that Canadian sovereignty is “everything” to him.
Global warming is another story that gets pathetic coverage. Leading liberals such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have openly stated that the debate over global warming is over and that the media have an obligation to report that only one side is based on science. In Kennedy’s case, he was actually hired by the Fox News Channel to host a one-sided special on global warming. We are constantly told about a supposed “consensus” in favor of the man-made global warming theory but the fact is that 18,000 Americans with university degrees in physical science have signed a petition declaring that there is no convincing scientific evidence that the human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gasses is causing catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. One of the signers, Dr. Arthur Robinson, editor of the highly informative Access to Energy newsletter, calls the claimed scientific consensus in favor of the man-made global warming theory “an outright lie.”
Coverage of “gay rights” is another terrible blemish on the national press. All major U.S. papers support gay marriage and even run announcements of same. The influence of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which enforces conformity in the media on this issue, helps explain why it is rare to find objective coverage of the movement that exists in the U.S. and other countries of thousands of former homosexuals. Alan Chambers, the former homosexual who runs Exodus International, tries to interest the media in the fact that true change from homosexuality is possible and that people have experienced and can talk about true change. Chambers says he employs a full-time communications specialist to reach out to the media but that the Fox News Channel has “never responded” and shows no interest. In general, he adds, the media have a pro-homosexual slant, although he did find Lester Holt of NBC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN to be fair in their handling of the controversy.
Chambers tells AIM that he is troubled by the practice of national news organizations giving money to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). All major news organizations, including Fox News, have given grants to NLGJA. Chambers recalls an official of the group advising the press not to cover former homosexuals because it would be comparable to quoting the Ku Klux Klan about civil rights. That is the mind-set that guides the media on this matter.
The AIDS Theory
In a related matter, questions about the HIV/AIDS theory are not considered worthy of media attention, even though the U.S. has spent about $200 billion on HIV/AIDS and an AIDS vaccine since 1981 without a cure being found. An international organization of more than 2,300 scientists, medical doctors, journalists, health advocates and business professionals has formed “Rethinking AIDS,” in order to raise those questions. Among other things, it points out that the definition of AIDS in Africa does not require HIV testing and that symptoms of a disease said to be AIDS are compatible with symptoms of malnutrition. As such, critics of the AIDS theory argue that “AIDS in Africa” should be fought with a campaign to raise living standards, not force controversial and potentially toxic anti-AIDS drugs on the populace. Nevertheless, an international airline tax is now being collected to buy and distribute these controversial drugs to people around the world, especially in Africa. The campaign is being waged with the backing of the United Nations.
On this matter, the Fox News website did perform a public service, running a column in 2005 by Jonathan M. Fishbein on how he uncovered widespread scientific and professional misconduct at the National Institutes of Health Division of AIDS. Fishbein, whose case is the subject of the Honest Doctor website, charges that the agency “knowingly and cunningly covered up evidence of shoddy conduct in a trial examining the safety and efficacy of [anti-AIDS drug] nevirapine to prevent the maternal-to-child (“vertical”) transmission of the deadly AIDS virus.” Yet a Google search will disclose very few stories in the major media about the Fishbein allegations.
Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design
Like the AIDS and man-made global warming theories, Darwin’s theory of evolution is another accepted truth, as far as most of the media are concerned. The emerging scientific theory of intelligent design is typically panned by the media as religious in nature. The Discovery Institute maintains a blog completely devoted to misreporting of the evolution issue, documenting how “much of the news coverage has been sloppy, inaccurate, and in some cases, overtly biased.” The bias was reflected in the non-coverage, in December of 2004, of atheist philosopher Antony Flew’s pronouncement that advancements in science, especially in DNA research, had convinced him of the existence of God.
More, Not Less, Information
Whatever one may think of these various issues and controversies, there are two legitimate sides to the debates and yet many national news organizations, including the “conservative” Fox News Channel, have decided to either ignore them or cover only one side. These are not insignificant or trivial matters. They concern profound issues of national and global importance that affect our lives and our country.
Under the circumstances, a federal Fairness Doctrine sounds appealing but we know that it is an initiative that is designed mainly to give “progressives” even more access to the media and increase the power they already exercise. Conservatives have to remain committed to freedom of speech and freedom of information while increasing their own pressure on the liberal and conservative media to be truly “fair and balanced.”