The Federal Communications Commission is drawing fire from conservatives for proposing that radio and television stations, and newspapers be monitored by government to ensure they are airing “unbiased” stories and programs.
And while many say the proposal is dubious at best and won’t go anywhere, talk-radio king Rush Limbaugh is suggesting, “Don’t be so sure.”
Limbaugh’s staff, he told listeners, all were scoffing at the notion that their fellow broadcasters would go along with such an intrusive, Orwellian scheme.
But Limbaugh explained that the government is promoting the monitoring program as an effort to “figure out how to get more minorities owning broadcast outlets.”
By painting the endeavor as a “civil rights” issue, Limbaugh said, it’s a “way to get everybody to lay down.”
“Who’s gonna oppose that?”
Limbaugh also pointed out that the proposal dates back over 10 years, but it is only being discussed now because the Wall Street Journal and AdWeek quoted an FCC commissioner’s candid description of the plan.
“I’ve got nothing against Adweek,” Limbaugh continued, “but I mean, of all the news outlets, there wasn’t one that covered it? Here’s my point: Not one major media newsroom, news division stood up and said a thing about this.”
So if the establishment media couldn’t even be bothered to investigate and report the disturbing story, one that would impact their very own businesses, Limbaugh said, why should anyone believe that they would ultimately oppose its implementation?
“I can make the case that I don’t think they would,” Limbaugh said. “Most people think instinctively, reflexively, the media are not gonna put up with something like that. ‘No way! You’re gonna have a government monitor in my newsroom? … No way, pal!’
“But I can see where, given the current circumstances that exist today, they wouldn’t oppose it. In fact, I could make the case to you that they would welcome it.”
The media, Limbaugh said, might very well cooperate with the “monitoring” program as a way to “get even closer to Obama” and “impress” him.
“Remember, Obama’s the king. They all serve the guy. They’re all on the same team.”
Then Limbaugh speculated that the FCC got the idea from journalism professors.
“Folks, if you don’t think that that’s entirely possible, you are not paying attention to what’s going on,” he told his audience. “There is no journalism anymore. … The purpose of the media in New York and Washington is to advance the Democratic Party agenda.”
The liberal media’s strange silence about the proposal simply serves as proof, he said.
“There isn’t any reaction to this where you would think there would be,” Limbaugh pointed out. “It is conservatives standing up to defend the media. They’re not standing up in righteous outrage or indignation over what would happen to them.”
WND CEO Joseph Farah recently wrote about the Obama administration’s open attacks on the First Amendment through its legal action against bestselling author and scholar Dinesh D’Souza, whose “2016: Obama’s America” was one of the biggest documentary movie hits of its kind.
Washington also has in its cross-hairs Friends of Abe, a group of conservative Hollywood figures that applied for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, he wrote. And last year, Eric Holder’s Justice Department shocked the media establishment by monitoring the phone records of reporters at the Associated Press and Fox News in an effort to identify leakers of classified documents within Barack Obama’s own administration.
Wrote Farah: “Some defenders of the Obama administration question whether this represents more than a circumstantial case of abuse of free speech, freedom of the press and the right to dissent. That’s really the wrong question. A better question is: Do these developments measure up to the anti-First Amendment rhetoric of the Obama administration and its hand-picked officials in key agencies? And the answer to that question is most definitely ‘yes.’”
He pointed as an example to Mark Lloyd, the chief diversity officer of the Federal Communications Commission.
Among Lloyd’s statements:
- “It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies. [T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.”
- He hailed Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez for his “incredible … democratic revolution.” Lloyd expressed admiration for the way Chavez attempted to shut down opposition media in Venezuela.
- “What we’re really saying is that the Fairness Doctrine’s not enough,” Lloyd says. “And that having a sort of over-arching rule that says broadcasters ought to be ‘fair’ or ought to provide issues important to communities and that they ought to do it in a fair and balanced way is simply not enough – unless you put some teeth into that and put some hard, structural rules in place that are going to result in fairness.”
- One of Lloyd’s ideas for doing that is by getting rid of white people in positions of authority in FCC-regulated media: “This … there’s nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions. And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We’re in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power.”
WND reported months earlier that the attack on press freedoms had been signaled.
According to “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed” by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, Obama’s advisers were so adamant about silencing voices who oppose their position on man-made global warming, they “outrageously” recommended Obama “reinstate the anti-free speech Fairness Doctrine in order to shut up some of global warming theory’s most effective challengers.”
The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, effectively making political talk radio unsustainable for any local station.
Critics charge the doctrine is as an attempt to regulate news and talk radio, thus violating First Amendment rights.
It was brought to an end in the 1980s under the direction of President Ronald Reagan’s Federal Communications Commission.
But in 2011, the Presidential Climate Action Project report resurrected the idea.
Reads the PCAP report: “National discourse today is tainted – and in some cases poisoned – by unbalanced ideological use of the public airwaves … To improve and better inform public discourse, it is time for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.”
A survey taken at the close of Obama’s first term by the Society of Professional Journalists revealed that government gatekeepers already were doing a great job of keeping reporters away from news.
The assessment found “that information flow in the United States is highly regulated by public affairs officers, to the point where most reporters considered the control to be a form of censorship and an impediment to providing information to the public.”
The SPJ surveyed 146 reporters who cover federal agencies for the online survey.
“Journalists overwhelmingly agreed with the statement that ‘the public was not getting all the information it needs because of barriers agencies are imposing on journalists’ reporting practices,’” the report said.
According to the survey of reporters, 70 percent consider government controls censorship. Three-quarters of the respondents said they have to “get approval from a public affairs official before interviewing an agency employee.”
Among the findings:
- Three-fourths of journalists reported they have to get approval from a public affairs officer before they can interview an agency employee.
- Half the reporters said agencies simply prohibit reporters from interviewing agency employees at least some of the time. Eighteen percent said it happens most of the time.
- Seventy percent said their requests for interviews are forwarded to public affairs officers for routing to whomever they want.
- Some 16 percent of the reporters said their interviews are monitored in person or over the telephone all of the time.