A radio company executive and the author of a new book on censorship says Democrats in Washington are infuriated simply by the existence of conservative values, and since they know the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” probably is unconstitutional, they are seeking the same thing through the back door.
The comments come from Brian Jennings, the national vice president of talk programming at Citadel Broadcasting and the author of “Censorship: The Threat to Silence Talk Radio.”
“I think the Democrats have switched gears and they are going through the back door to the FCC to try and accomplish the same thing,” Jennings said in an interview with Greg Corombos of Radio America/WND.
“These Democrats have been trying to crack down on talk radio and particularly conservative talk radio for the past 20 years,” he said.
The audio of the interview has been embedded here:
Jennings warned the “back door” consists at this point of two strategies: demands by Democrats that radio stations generate a certain amount of the programming “locally,” an effort that would eliminate for some stations the option of carrying nationwide talk radio leaders such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
The other attack comes from local “accountability” boards that remain under consideration.
The boards essentially would be censorship boards, he said.
“At the least it would instill fear in speech and at the worst it would turn into a censorship board,” he said.
Jennings said Democrats simply believe that conservative talk radio is too powerful in the U.S., even though the liberal “viewpoint” is heard in myriad other venues, including National Public Radio, network television and media publications.
In his book, he notes, “If key Democrats have their way, the principles of the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine will once again be enforced and allow government to control the content heard on free radio, a mandate that will have far-reaching implications for all media.”
The “Fairness Doctrine” was policy in the U.S. until the 1980s, when it was abandoned under President Reagan. The change then was quick.
“Conservative talk radio burgeoned, giving rise to the father of conservative talk, Rush Limbaugh, and such hosts as Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, and others. The format was a smash hit – resonating with listeners from coast to coast and giving a powerful voice to the conservative movement. Soon such programming, attracting an estimated 50 million listeners weekly, dominated the airwaves where liberal talk radio failed. Popular, profitable, outspoken, powerful, influential – it’s what the American people wanted, and its success was the Democrats’ worst nightmare,” he writes.
“Now, the principles of the Fairness Doctrine threaten to be reinstated – if not directly, then through back-door tactics involving ownership of stations,” he said.