Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Democommie Attack On Free Speech

The Left is not merely a threat to our economic freedom. For years, it has been building the groundwork for a new assault on our intellectual freedom, describing its own speech as rational and enlightening—while branding anything said by spokesman for the political right as dangerous propaganda that is not protected by First Amendment.

Here's a new example of that campaign: a report from a Leftist think tank demanding new regulations on broadcasters for the express purpose of suppressing conservative talk radio. This report is explicit in tying together the left's assault on free markets and its assault on a free marketplace of ideas. Describing what is, in fact, an utterly unregulated free-for-all of speech, it declares that "There is little free speech or free choice in a market system."

We can presume that this is in contrast to all of the freedom of choice available in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, or in Vladimir Putin's Russia—places where the government has decided to correct the "unfairness" of the private media by taking over the airwaves.

"Talk Radio 'Dominated' by Right," Kara Rowland, Washington Times, June 22 A report from a liberal think tank yesterday criticized the "right-wing domination of talk radio," saying the current landscape does not serve all Americans.

In a report titled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio," the Center for American Progress concluded that 91 percent of weekday talk radio is conservative, compared with liberal content at 9 percent. The group, which said it analyzed 257 news and talk stations owned by the five biggest radio broadcasters, calls for stricter media-ownership limits and public-interest requirements.

"There is little free speech or free choice in a market system that pushes out one-sided information 90 percent of the time on the radio," said John Halpin, a senior fellow at the center. "Radio stations are licensed to operate in the public interest. Promoting one point of view over all others does not meet any reasonable public-interest standard."…

Democrats seized on the findings, touting the study as further evidence that government intervention to make the media more "fair" is needed.

"The American people should have a wide array of news sources available to them. The more opinions they can hear, the more news sources they can learn from, the better able they will be to make decisions," said Jeff Lieberson, spokesman for Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, New York Democrat.

Mr. Hinchey is preparing to reintroduce his Media Ownership Reform Act, which among other proposals calls for a return to the "Fairness Doctrine," a long-held requirement that broadcasters give equal time to opposing views when covering political issues. The doctrine was repealed in 1987 because it violated the First Amendment….

"My biggest question there is who decides what's fair," [Chris Berry, general manager of DC conservative talk station WMAL-AM (630)] said. "To have someone who in some way is policing the airwaves like this violates the very tenets of the First Amendment."

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