Talk radio could receive fatal blow if president wins 2nd term.
WND EXCLUSIVE by JOE KOVACS
PALM BEACH, Fla. – The radio shows of broadcasting giants such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and many others could be drastically changed if Barack Obama wins a second term in office, says a brand-new book forecasting the president’s agenda through 2016.
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 are so adamant about silencing voices who oppose their position on man-made global warming, they are “outrageously” recommending 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 reportresurrected 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 Doctrin.”
The authors of “Fool Me Twice”note that “President Obama’s advisory commission, it seems, cannot stomach the public raising questions about the ‘science’ underlying global warming theory and the entire green agenda. Never mind the stunning revelation that much of the so-called settled science is, in fact, questionable, and that certain politically motivated scientists conspired, with evident success, to suppress that knowledge. For PCAP, the public, along with dissenting scientists, simply have no right to air such questions.”
Limbaugh, host of the nation’s top-rated radio program, said previously “the whole Democrat Party” supports revival of the controversial policy.
“If they get their way,” Limbaugh said, “they’re going to do their best to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine. We’re not going to go down without a fight, and I’m not crying about this. I’m just trying to illustrate what’s at stake here. It’s a lot more than judges. These people are going to try to consolidate their power and just get rid of anybody that disagrees with them. All dissent is going to be squelched.”
Limbaugh says the Fairness Doctrine is not equal time, and during a 2008 program, he explained how it used to work:
“I’ll use myself,” he said. “Let’s apply it as it does today. I talked about the leftists and their environmental wacko agenda. OK, so how many leftist groups are there in this country that could call every one of my 600-plus radio stations and say, ‘We don’t like what Limbaugh said, and we need a chance to respond.’ So you’ve got 600 general managers at radio stations, ‘We have to, the law says I gotta put ‘em on here.’
“So you have to put on nonprofessionals, give them some time, they get a chance to answer this stuff, you end up with boring radio, and you end up with a nightmare of logistics. The way it would manifest itself over a passage of time is that a lot of management just wouldn’t put up with. ‘I can’t run a radio station this way where most of my day is spent answering the phone from a bunch of liberals demanding that they get some time on the radio to respond to whatever my conservative hosts are saying,’ and so they shut it down. They kill the format, and they go play Chinese opera or whatever. That’s the objective.”
Constitutional or not?
Meanwhile, some of the brightest legal minds in America are questioning the legality of the Fairness Doctrine.
As WND reported, at least one U.S. Supreme Court justice has suggested the off-the-books policy could be declared unconstitutional if it’s revived and brought before the bench.
In written discussion on an April 2009 ruling cracking down on indecent language on television, Justice Clarence Thomas called the policy “problematic” and a “deep intrusion into the First Amendment rights of broadcasters.”
The Pacific Justice Institute, a California-based legal group specializing in the defense of religious freedom and other civil liberties, called the remarks by Thomas “very significant.”
“To my knowledge, this is the first time a sitting Supreme Court justice has weighed in on this issue,” Matt McReynolds, a PJI staff attorney, told WND.
“It could potentially take a lot of steam out of the movement from those who want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. It also provides a lot of ammo to those who have been saying it’s unconstitutional. Now we have some validation from a member of the court.”
Thomas questioned the viability of Supreme Court precedents dating back to the 1960s, long before the explosion of media sources beyond radio airwaves.
“The text of the First Amendment makes no distinctions among print, broadcast, and cable media, but we have done so,” Thomas noted.
“It is certainly true that broadcast frequencies are scarce but it is unclear why that fact justifies content regulation of broadcasting in a way that would be intolerable if applied to the editorial process of the print media.”
He also noticed “the number of over-the-air broadcast stations grew from 7,411 in 1969 … to 15,273 by the end of 2004.”
If Congress and the president bring the doctrine back to life, there is no doubt lawsuits will fly.
“We are prepared to take legal action should it be reinstated,” said Brad Dacus, president of PJI. “Justice Thomas’ opinion is very encouraging to everyone who believes in free speech and government non-interference with public debate.”
The PCAP is not alone in calling for the silencing of the critics of global-warming theory.
As WND was first to report, just prior to his appointment as Obama’s so-called regulatory czar in 2009, Cass Sunstein wrote a lengthy academic paper suggesting the government should “infiltrate” social network websites, chat rooms and message boards.
Such “cognitive infiltration,” Sunstein argued, should be used to enforce a U.S. government ban on “conspiracy theorizing.”
Sunstein’s official title is administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Among the beliefs Sunstein classified in his paper as a “conspiracy theory” is that man-made global warming is a deliberate fraud.