WASHINGTON – As popular opposition to the reinstitution of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” mounts, Barack Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress will end-run critics with legislation that will curb dissent on talk radio through the imposition of “localism” rules and community watchdog boards across America, charges a new book by a former NBC Westwood One talk-show host.
In “Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech,” author Brad O’Leary says the plan amounts to the development of party-approved “commissar committees” to censor the kind of lively and free-wheeling debate America has known since the scrapping of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” by President Reagan’s Federal Communications Commission in 1987.
By demanding radio stations answer to local community watchdog boards to ensure programming is “balanced,” “fair,” “diverse,” “tolerant” and “serving the public interest locally,” O’Leary says the rules and legislation being planned will once again make talk radio accountable to politicians, political activists and bureaucrats at the FCC.
The ultimate threat over the heads of radio stations is license renewal, he explains.
“Far-left groups such as ACORN [Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now] stand at the ready to pressure these boards into silencing conservative talk radio programs, either through intimidation or the loss of broadcast licenses,” says O’Leary, who, during the presidential campaign, wrote the best-selling book, “The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values.”
The book points out there were only 75 radio talk shows in America during the last year of the “Fairness Doctrine” rules. Today, there are more than 3,000.
“The liberals’ once-dominant media forum is fading fast, in part because Americans have discovered real diversity of ideas elsewhere,” O’Leary writes. “The enemies of free speech know this. They also know that, if they are to accomplish their goal of stifling all debate, they will have to control all media outlets.”
While the Obama administration and some Democratic congressional leaders have denied efforts to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine,” none have denied efforts to stack the FCC with appointees open to the idea of reining in talk radio.
“Under the rubric of ‘broadcast localism,’ it is clear the commission is proposing no less than a sweeping takeover by Washington bureaucrats of broadcast media,” wrote Rep. John Boehner, House minority leader, in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin as far back as last June. “The proposals and recommendations for commission action contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking amount to the stealth enactment of the Fairness Doctrine, a policy designated to squelch the free speech and free expression of specifically targeted audiences.”
Those regulations would specifically “reinstitute advisory boards to regulate broadcast content and revive a host of other rules the commission dropped more than 20 years ago,” explained Boehner.
Also revealed in “Shut Up, America” is evidence that Obama’s new FCC chairman wants to create a “Fairness Doctrine” for the Internet to regulate and censor online speech.
Julius Genachowski, an Obama friend from Harvard Law School and the mastermind behind Obama’s online fundraising machine, is an ardent supporter of so-called “net neutrality” regulations, perceived by O’Leary as a first step toward “Fairness Doctrine”-style regulations on content for the Internet. Genachowski would have government decide what content Internet operators and network owners must provide.
“Incredibly, he claims this is to keep the Internet free and open to all,” says O’Leary. “In reality, his goal is to usher the heavy hands of federal regulators into the tent. Genachowski would give federal regulators editorial authority over what private operators must provide.”
Genachowski also advocates creating new media ownership rules that promote a diversity of voices on the airwaves. In fact, Genachowski is credited with helping craft the Obama technology agenda, which states: “Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.”
“Such language is bureaucratese for government control,” explains O’Leary. “So-called ‘public interest’ requirements would put broadcasters at the mercy of local review boards. Such boards would, of course, be politically charged entities with the power to bar any broadcast content that is not deemed to be in the ‘public interest’ of the local community.”
“Shut Up, America: The End of Free Speech,” published by WND Books, is in bookstores nationally today. O’Leary launches national promotion for the book today.
“If you want to see the blueprint for the plot to silence talk radio, this is it,” says Joseph Farah, founder of WND and WND Books. “How important is this? If you want to see the people in charge in Washington remain there perpetually, ignore this threat. The plot to end free speech and the free press in America is the ultimate incumbent protection plan.”
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Brad O’Leary, please e-mail Tricia Erickson.