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Since the 2008 election, radio show hosts and fans have wondered how an Obama-run Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would treat conservative talk radio. Would they pressure Congress to bring back the Fairness Doctrine and effectively silence voices critical of the administration?

This week, the FCC made a troubling move in that direction, floating the idea of giving the Internet the status of a “utility,” thereby putting it under increased government control.

While the plan is focused on controlling the Internet and not broadcasting, remember that many listeners tune in to their favorite shows on streaming audio, or listen at their leisure through subscription podcasts. These premium memberships also represent an important source of revenue for conservative talk radio hosts.

“If the Fairness Doctrine ever comes back,” many listeners may have assured themselves, “Rush Limbaugh and the like can always do their shows on the Internet.”

Now it looks like talk radio needs to come up with yet another backup plan, just in case.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush spoke for many on Tuesday when he declared that the liberal media and Democrat politicians were actually disappointed that the would-be Times Square bomber had turned out to be a Muslim terrorist instead of, for example, a tea party member (FREE audio).

This week, Limbaugh delivered a powerful personal monologue, on a subject he gets asked about a lot: How does he handle being under constant attack from his critics?

“It’s very simple, as far as I’m concerned,” he answered. “A man’s defined by the nature of his enemies. The president of the United States, and we know who he is, thinks I’m an enemy, makes me pretty proud.”

Speaking of which, online media mogul and tea party supporter Andrew Breitbart praised Rush’s magnanimous approach to critics, but told “The 700 Club” he had his own strategy: “The difference between me and Rush is Rush is accused of being uncivil with these people when in fact he’s polite with them. I’m not, because I’ve had enough with the type of games that they play” (FREE video).

Limbaugh made a few more enemies when he mocked the allegedly “environmentally conscious” Obama for failing to respond sooner to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, even though the government has a plan in place to deal quickly with such emergencies.

Sean Hannity

On his television show, Hannity spoke to fellow talk radio host Mark Levin about the thwarted Times Square terror bombing. They both blasted the mayor of New York and other who were eager to blame the attempt on “right wing tea partiers” (FREE video clip):

Mark Levin

On his own show, Mark Levin proudly announced the release of his father’s book, “Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Illustrated,” for which he wrote a touching preface.

Believe it or not, one of Levin’s biggest fans lives north of the border. Judy McLeod of the Canada Free Press raves, “In ways that go beyond scoops, Levin’s nightly radio show is a harbor in storm swept troubled times. Even as things seem at their lowest in ‘ObamaNation,’ Mark Levin keeps alight the flame of hope, the longing of better days just around the corner.”

This week, Levin called Obama’s rhetoric “diabolical,” and accused the president of “acting like this is all a game.”

Levin also made a startling statement regarding a major conservative media outlet: “I’m reaching a point now where I’m not going to use information I find at National Review Online. … It looks like the kids have taken over” (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

The morning the story broke, Ingraham spoke to the mothers of the “Freedom Five” – the teenagers suspended from school for wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

During the week, she was highly critical of Janet Napolitano and Homeland Security, wondering if they could really take credit for preventing the Time Square attack. Ingraham also compared the Gulf oil spill to Hurricane Katrina (FREE audio).

Laura’s premium members enjoy extras like special video presentations. Here’s a sample, with Ingraham “on the rooftops of Washington, D.C.,” answering listener questions (FREE video).

Michael Savage

Savage unleashed his fury at the mainstream media for initially insisting that the failed Times Square bomber had to be “a middle-aged white male” (FREE audio).

He also had a message for “the typical big New York City liberal” – “You people are sick in the head! You are mentally deranged!” (FREE audio)

G. Gordon Liddy

Could America be marking the last ever “National Day of Prayer”? Liddy raised that ominous question in light of a Federal court ruling declaring the observance unconstitutional.

Liddy’s wide-ranging topics of conversation included Obama’s relationship with Israel (with guest Caroline Glick), transvestite teachers in your child’s classroom and the surprising news that a “dwindling bee population” is impacting industries around the world (FREE audio).

Hugh Hewitt

Guests like Marc Theissen debated with attorney Hewitt about whether or not “Mirandizing” the thwarted Times Square bomber was a wise idea on the part of law enforcement.

Mark Steyn saw one of his 2006 predictions about the decline of Europe come true this week, as Greeks rioted against massive cutbacks to their government entitlements.

He explained to Hewitt: “Greece has run out of Greeks to stick it to. That’s the problem in Greece. So they’re asking Germany to bail it out. Well, Germany has issues all of its own. It couldn’t afford a stimulus, because it doesn’t have enough young Germans ever to pay off the borrowing, and foreign creditors know that. But in the broader sense, you know, already Germany is propped up by the United States, and that the U.S. Army lives in Germany, and so absolves Germany of the need to pay for its own defense. So Greece is propped up by Germany, Germany is propped up by the United States. As California and New York and other states go down this one-way road to the abyss, who is going to prop up the United States? There’s no good answer to that question.”

Glenn Beck

“Mother’s Day is a scam!”

Glenn Beck startled listeners this week, when he explained that the annual holiday was actually “started by Woodrow Wilson” – President Wilson and his progressive policies having become a favorite target of Beck’s recently.

Beck met archenemy, Joe Klein of Time magazine, at the periodical’s “Top 100″ banquet in New York this week. Needless to say, the encounter was … awkward (FREE audio).

In an excerpt from his new anti-Glenn Beck book “Common Nonsense,” author Alexander Zaitchik claims that the radio show host’s famous tears “have become a distinctive corporate-brand handle”:

“‘There were definitely times the crying was a tactic,’ remembers Vinnie Penn, Beck’s former co-host in New Haven,” in Zaitchik’s book. “‘He’d be crying on-air. Then we’d go on commercial break and he’d phone in an order for a bacon-and-egg with cheese. Then we’d come back on air and the tears would be back.’”

And now, from the left side of the dial …

Not surprisingly, one liberal talk show host wasted no time blaming the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on … George Bush!

It sounds like satire, but Stephanie Miller cooked up a flimsy conspiracy theory involving the former President and Halliburton. Now if only Miller and those like her could explain how George Bush can be a “complete moron” and an “evil genius” at the same time.

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