Supporters of Barack Obama like the idea of a “Fairness Doctrine” that would crack down on talk shows like those of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and their enthusiasm grows when the idea of taking the radio icons off the air is introduced.
According to a new ATI-News/Zogby poll, Obama backers are at odds even with independents and undecided voters on the issue of clamping down on free speech on the airwaves.
“Barack Obama has shown a stunning lack of tolerance for free speech
throughout the course of this campaign,” said ATI-News president Brad
O’Leary. “His presidency, combined with supermajorities for Democrats in
Congress, would almost certainly bring back the so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine’
and allow the Democrats to snuff out any broadcasters with whom they
The new survey talked with 1,203 likely voters nationwide from Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percent.
Those likely to vote for Obama supported reinstating the “Fairness Doctrine” by a margin of 49 percent to 36 percent, and Democrats support it 47 to 38 percent. Independents marginally support the Fairness Doctrine 42 percent to 40 percent, though this is within the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error. The remaining respondents all replied “not sure.”
But then the poll asked, “Some say the Fairness Doctrine could
result in popular radio shows, such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, to be
taken off the air in some markets. Knowing this, do you support or oppose
reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine?”
The results then revealed those who say they will vote for Obama support reinstating the “Fairness Doctrine” 53 percent to 37 percent, with 10 percent not sure. That’s while independent voters opposed the doctrine 49 to 40 percent and undecided voters rejected it 50 to 17 percent.
“When informed that the Fairness Doctrine might take Limbaugh and Hannity off the air, the percentage of Democrat likely voters who support the Fairness Doctrine rose to 53 percent,” according to O’Leary. “However, the percentage of independents opposed to the Fairness Doctrine rose.”
The doctrine was instituted in 1949 by the Federal Communications Commission and soon was recognized as a tool for silencing views authorities found objectionable. The FCC repealed the rule in 1987 after admitting the plan “had
the net effect of reducing rather than enhancing the discussion of
controversial issues of public importance.”
According to O’Leary, the results show Obama and the Democrats would rather silence their
detractors through oppressive regulation than compete on an even playing
He said several situations already have given evidence of that:
- When Chicago radio station WGN scheduled journalist Stanley Kurtz to talk
about Obama’s ties to unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, the Obama campaign recruited 100,000 supporters
to act in a cult-like manner and besiege the station with protests.
- When “Joe the Plumber” questioned Obama about his plan to raise taxes on
small businesses, Obama supporters sought to destroy Joe and publicly
embarrass him by digging through his tax files, work history and personal
- Obama forces also tried to hush a national organization that ran TV and
radio ads attacking the candidate’s position on an issue. In that instance,
Obama’s general counsel fired off a letter threatening the licenses of
stations that didn’t pull the ad “for the sake of FCC licensing and the
- After seeing a dip in the polls in September, the Obama campaign
dispatched prosecutors and law enforcement officials in Missouri to act as
so-called “truth squads” to target anyone who runs ads on TV or radio
critical of Obama.
“There is nothing ‘fair’ about the Fairness Doctrine, and re-establishing
the doctrine would have the chilling effect of silencing America’s 2,000
talk radio show hosts that discuss politics,” warned O’Leary.
He said if Democrats achieve supermajorities in both houses of Congress and Obama is installed in the White House, “freedom-of-speech will be purged from our nation’s airwaves,”
O’Leary, whose newest book, “The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values,” reveals what could be expected in an Obama presidency, is president of ATI-News and is the former president of the American Association of Political Consultants.
In a commentary about the results of the poll, O’Leary wrote that Bill Ruder, who was President Kennedy’s assistant secretary of commerce, said, “We had a massive strategy to use the ‘fairness doctrine’ to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters and hoped the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”
Obama, according to his spokesman, believes in opening the airwaves “to as many diverse viewpoints as possible.” He also supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality and more minority owners of broadcast outlets.
“While the television and newspaper industries are dominated by left-wing bias, talk radio has been the only voice for Americans to hear the other side of the story, and with overwhelming success. Today 100 million people in 50 million households tune into news and talk radio each week. There is nothing fair about the Fairness Doctrine and re-establishing the doctrine would have the chilling effect of silencing America’s 2,000 talk radio show hosts that discuss politics,” O’Leary wrote.
Titled “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” the piece clearly targets the many evangelical Christians seeking “change,” particularly the young, who could tip the election in favor of the Illinois Democrat. At the end of the letter, the fictional Christian laments that these people “simply did not realize Obama’s far-left agenda would take away many of our freedoms as a nation, perhaps permanently,” pointing to a new, liberal-majority Supreme Court unlikely to change for 30 more years.
“I get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat,” says the fictional writer. “Now in October of 2012, after seeing what has happened in the last four years,” America is no longer “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more,” the letter writer says.
Focus on the Family Action, established as a separate legal entity from Focus on the Family, has expanded abilities under the IRS code to lobby for political change.
Among the possible developments by 2012:
- Homosexual marriage has been ruled a constitutional right that must be respected by all 50 states.
- Elementary schools have compulsory training in varieties of gender identity. Courts rule parents cannot opt out their children, because the training is deemed essential to psychological health.
- Evangelical and Catholic adoption agencies cease to exist after the Supreme Court rules they must agree to place children with homosexuals or lose their licenses.
- Church buildings are now considered a “public accommodation” by the United States Supreme Court, and churches have no freedom to refuse to allow their buildings to be used for wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples.
- Obama signed the Freedom of Choice Act, as he promised the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, nullifying hundreds of state laws that had created even the slightest barrier to abortion.
The letter also envisions the restoration of the “Fairness Doctrine.”
As a result, “nearly all conservative stations have now gone out of business or switched to alternative formats such as country or gospel or other music. Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010.”