Jul 30, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from WND: 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 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.”
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.”