The libertarian Cato Institute just issued a report called “Fairness 2.0: Media Content Regulation in the 21st Century.”

While noting that a “return to the Fairness Doctrine … now seems unlikely,” they say it is “very likely, however, that politicians from both the left and the right will try to extend government control over the media beyond current policies.”

The Cato report warns that the Federal Communications Commission “may be poised to enforce the most intensive government oversight of broadcast programming in decades – perhaps even in the history of the agency.”

Sure enough, new FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is becoming more outspoken about his plans for the agency.

While praising “the rich cultural diversity that makes America America,” Copps took aim at “loud and strident” conservative talk radio hosts who are warning that localism is the new fairness doctrine and who are “shouting ‘communism’ from their perches.”

Previously, I mentioned Jeffrey Lord’s troubling American Spectator article about the coalition of liberal churches scheming to silence talk radio in general, and Rush Limbaugh in particular.

On Wednesday, Lord was Lou Dobbs’ last guest on his final CNN show, and described this disturbing campaign in more detail (FREE video).

Rush Limbaugh

Speaking of the Fairness Doctrine, Rush Limbaugh celebrated a special anniversary this week. Three years before the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine made it possible for Rush to take the conservative talk radio revolution nationwide, one Sacramento station took a chance on the ambitious young “right wing” talker.

Back in 1984, KFBK hired Limbaugh to replace recently fired Morton Downey Jr., and the rest is history. On Wednesday, Rush revisited his old stomping grounds and reminisced in an entertaining and enlightening one-hour special (FREE audio).

And speaking of radio history, last weekend Rush Limbaugh helped induct fellow conservative talk show host Neal Boortz into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Limbaugh recalled that Boortz “asked me 17 years ago, maybe 16 years ago, he said, ‘Look, if I ever am inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, will you present me?’ And I said, ‘Sure, I would be happy to.’ Never thinking it would happen” (You can read a portion of Limbaugh’s address at the ceremony here).

On Veterans Day, Rush took “what could be the most ignorant caller in the history of the show” then blasted President Obama for “suddenly being worried about money, about 50 measly billion dollars to win a war” (FREE video).

P.S.: Congratulations to my fellow Canadian blogger, Kate at Surveying the media’s stubborn attempt to psychoanalyze the Fort Hood terrorist, Kate joked that apparently, “‘Allahu akbar’ is the new ‘cry for help'” – this week, Limbaugh’s in-house parodist Paul Shanklin created a fake public service announcement using her line (FREE audio).

Glenn Beck

The weird fascination with Glenn Beck continues: This week he was subject to a hit-piece in Playboy, mimicked by Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” by Jon Stewart and parodied on the off-color comedy show “South Park” (FREE audio).

Media watchers are even talking about Beck as the next Oprah, because he’s turned so many fictional thrillers into bestsellers by having his favorite authors on the air.

Speaking of books, Glenn Beck will make publishing history when the children’s version of “The Christmas Sweater” debuts at No. 1 at the New York Times bestseller list on Nov. 15, giving Beck five No. 1 books in a row.

Beck returned to the air after his appendicitis attack on Wednesday, asking the pertinent question: Why is he more likely to be described as an “extremist” than the Muslim terrorist at Fort Hood (FREE transcript)?

Beck quipped, “I’m an extremist. I dare expose what no one else will, that there are anti-free-market officials now, Marxists, socialist, self-proclaimed communists in and around the White House. I think I’m an extremist because I think that is probably not a good idea, but Nidal Malik Hasan, oh, he just was picked upon, he was misunderstood, he was quiet, he was a good American. He just snapped.”

Hugh Hewitt

TalkPac is a group set up to protect talk radio, through the Broadcaster Bill of Rights and other free speech initiatives. Now Hugh Hewitt tells listeners via his blog that TalkPac is “raising money to defeat Democrats in 2010” who are “supporting cloture on ObamaCare.”

As he always does on Veterans Day, Hewitt devoted his entire show to raising money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and speaking to wounded Marines and other servicemen (Audio is members only).

Mark Steyn hasn’t read Sarah Palin’s forthcoming book yet, but he told Hewitt he was looking forward to it:

I think it will be mocked, but the fact is this woman has had one of the worst years in American public life ever, and she’s still standing. And she’s the one who, unlike the (National Republican Congressional Committee) experts with all the highly paid consultants, she came up with the phrase that crystallized the health-care issue for most people, “death panels,” which I think is the best way to put it, essentially you’re putting government bureaucrats in charge of your health-care decisions.

And so the idea that this woman is an idiot when she managed to do what in fairness to me and every other right-wing pundit, and to the Republican Party, and to the big conservative magazines (we) had not been able to do, I think that testifies to a kind of natural, political genius. And I like her for that.

Mark Levin

For the first hour on Tuesday, Mark Levin only took calls from liberal listeners (“and other assorted miscreants”), asking them to explain their positions on issues foreign and domestic. One for the “Best Of” vaults (FREE audio).

Dennis Prager

A somber Dennis Prager spent this week helping listeners come to terms with the Fort Hood terrorist attack.

Ann Coulter (whose book “Guilty” is just out in paperback) talked with Prager about the nature of victimhood. Prager believes that the sense of privileged victimhood our society now encourages is the major cause of evil in the world, a theory that impressed Coulter.

Prager also took on those pundits who were proposing that Major Hasan couldn’t be blamed for not wanting to kill other Muslims on the battlefield.

“But I thought terrorists weren’t ‘real Muslims,'” Prager mused. “Isn’t that what they’re always telling us? Then why would it be difficult for a loyal American Muslim to fight against them?” (Audio is members only. For an alternative to paid premium memberships, you might want to investigate the option of “TiVo for radio.”)

Prager wrote a perceptive article about Hasan’s motives for FrontPage magazine this week as well.

G. Gordon Liddy

On Veterans Day, G. Gordon Liddy welcomed one of the last surviving “Band of Brothers,” Wild Bill Grenier, now in his nineties. A great interview!

Liddy was also joined by “Stolen Valor” author B.G. Burkett, who has worked tirelessly to expose the thousands of fake veterans who are scamming the system out of millions of dollars, and in some cases, holding political office and influencing public policies.

Burkett and Liddy had particularly choice words for Sen. John Kerry.

Fred Thompson

“Show me how diversity makes our military forces better,” and how it makes our soldiers safer – that was Fred Thompson’s challenge to General Casey, who he said was throwing around the word diversity “while they’re still mopping up the blood in Fort Hood” (FREE audio).

Thompson also filmed a special Veterans Day message this year (FREE video).

Finally, on the left side of the dial …

“Radio Equalizer” Brian Maloney catches MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow calling herself a radio talk show host – even though she hasn’t had a radio show for about a year (FREE audio).

It’s probably just a goofy slip, but as Maloney points out: when conservative pundits make misstatements like that, leftist “watchdogs” never let them forget it. He says he’s “not holding his breath waiting for Jon Stewart” to mock Maddow’s resume padding.

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