Farewell, “Fairness Doctrine.” Hello, “Public Values Test.”

Earlier this month, Michael J. Copps of the Federal Communications Commission outlined his vision of the FCC as a “consumer protection agency,” mandated to ensure that “all citizens have access to worthy media.”

Conservative talk radio hosts and their astute listeners worry that Copps’ proposed “Public Values Test” for media regulation will ultimately silence broadcasters deemed “unworthy” by partisan bureaucrats.

They weren’t alone in their concerns. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, wrote a letter to Copps, stating, “I hope … that you do not mean to suggest that it is the job of the federal government, through the [FCC], to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume.”

This comes on the heels of Al Sharpton’s vow to force the FCC to remove Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves.

One industry insider, however, comments, “The last thing the FCC wants is to be forced into regulating content. It’s got enough problems with its slippery rules about what’s indecent and obscene.”

Rush Limbaugh

The mayor of Bristol, Conn., is demanding an apology from Rush Limbaugh.

During a discussion of the ESPN sports channel, Limbaugh said, “That’s all there is in [Bristol]: ESPN and a couple of cheap hotels.”

Limbaugh had fun with the WikiLeaks “document dump” of global secrets, joking, “Where are the WikiLeaks cables proving that the CIA invented AIDS? Where is Obama’s birth certificate?” (FREE audio).

Limbaugh called the extension of unemployment benefits “Inertial Security” – a “retirement program for the unemployed” (FREE audio).

A caller called “Burt in St. Louis” delivered a stirring outburst about “the demonization of the rich” that had Rush cheering (FREE audio).

Sean Hannity

“Sean Hannity seems to be letting his guests do most of the talking these days. I’m not sure if this is just because he can’t stop smiling long enough about the new tax cuts deal, or because he is trying to avoid the wrath of the bloggers in their underwear whom he believes are tracking his every word.”

So (somewhat bizarrely) says Sadhbh Walshe, the official “right wing media watchdog” at the UK’s left-leaning Guardian.

“NewsHounds’ spitballs couldn’t hit the broad side of Sean Hannity’s mansion,” wrote Calvin Freiburger at NewsReal, referring to another progressive blogger’s obsession with Hannity’s low-tax philosophy.

Hannity’s guests this week included Michelle Bachman, Juan Williams, Karl Rove and Bill Bennett (audio is member’s only).

Michael Savage

“The last time we spoke with conservative talk radio host Michael Savage, the
‘conversation’ lasted about 12 seconds,” recalled the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli, in a somewhat pointless column about Savage’s forthcoming novel, “Abuse of Power.”

“Why is there no record of Michael Savage being banned in the WikiLeaks cables?” wondered the talk radio host this week (a year and a half ago, Savage was listed as one of the “undesirables” forbidden to enter Great Britain).

At his website, Savage is calling on listeners to “be a Savage detective. Please go to the WikiLeaks site or sites and try to find any and all mentions of Michael Savage! … You may become an international celebrity and help free an innocent man from continuing persecution.”

On the air, Savage mocked “sissy Americans” and the “growing police state,” after a tiny terrier on a plane managed to divert a flight (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham cornered Newt Gingrich on his shifting stand on illegal immigration and the DREAM Act. After telling Ingraham he favored granting citizenship under certain circumstances, she played a clip of him recorded just the day before, seeming to contradict that (FREE audio).

In contrast, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama took a strong stand against amnesty when he was Ingraham’s guest. Laura was also joined by Michele Bachman and Senator Tom Coburn. On a seasonal note, Ingraham condemned the shameful “atheist war on Christmas” (FREE audio).

Mark Levin

Some GOP leaders and pundits were “giddy” about this week’s tax deal, but Mark Levin said, “Count me out. I’m worried” (FREE audio).

This deal simply extends the status quo, Levin explained, while the Democrats walk away from the table with more taxes and tax credits (FREE audio).

Michele Bachmann told Levin that President Obama “flat out lied” during his press conference on the tax cut plan. “[Obama] made one, kinda, odd statement after the other. And he said that Republicans oppose various credits for the middle class. Those are flat out lies!”

Levin also took up the cause of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who was forced to step down in 2005 after charges of wrongdoing.

“The media created a monster out of Tom DeLay,” Levin told listeners. “Whether you agree with everything he did is beside the point. He doesn’t deserve this.”

Glenn Beck

Are you ready for … Glenn Beck: comic book hero? So many listeners checked out the story about the forthcoming graphic novel when Beck mentioned it on the air, the ComicBookResources.com site crashed.

According to CharityFolks.com, Glenn Beck raised more money for charity than any other celebrity this year, including over $1 million for the Special Operations Warriors Foundation.

With the DREAM Act closer to becoming law, a caller to Beck’s show wondered if spending time on a tanning bed could get him “illegal alien” status and thus access to new federal goodies (FREE video).

Asked to imagine an alternative universe in which Al Gore had defeated George Bush in 2000, Beck obliged with a satirical piece for New York Magazine.

And now, from the left side of the dial …

Isn’t it reassuring to see progressives react with wisdom and sanity when tragedy strikes?

Take Rosie O’Donnell. The satellite radio host opined this week that the person who “suffered the most” during the illness and now death of Elizabeth Edwards is … her philandering ex-husband, former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards (FREE audio).

As Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney puts it, “O’Donnell sets a new standard for broadcast idiocy.”

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