Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2012 foes band together to save conservative radio

You want to endear yourself to the grassroots for 2012? Emulate South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and South Dakota Senator John Thune, both rumored to be in the mix for '12.

Today, the two Senators introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act in the U.S. Senate, and in the House, 2012 darkhorse Mike Pence teamed up with Greg Walden of Oregon to introduce a similar measure.


“One of America’s greatest pillars of democracy and freedom is our Constitutional guarantee to exercise free speech. For over 200 years, the First Amendment has allowed Americans to voice opinions, thoughts and questions of their choosing without the fear of Government reprisal. This guarantee is now threatened by some liberal ideologues who are frustrated with the free flow of ideas on talk radio. The bill we have introduced will stop them in their tracks and help protect the vibrant marketplace of ideas we have today in our media. I advise every American to be hesitant when government officials offer to regulate the media in the name of ‘fairness.’ Our support for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech means that we must support the rights granted to even those with whom we disagree. Simply put, giving power to a few to impose ‘fairness’ in the media is a recipe for an Orwellian disaster.”


"The time has come to do away with the Fairness Doctrine once and for all. Over the past few months, some of the most powerful Democrats in Congress have made their intentions to restore this Depression-era regulation clear. However, bringing back the Fairness Doctrine would amount to government control over political views expressed on the public airwaves. It is dangerous to suggest that the government should be in the business of rationing free speech."


"Since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, Talk radio has grown rapidly due to the power of the free market. We should not allow our government to suppress free speech by reversing this decision and regulating the marketplace of ideas. Democrats want to impose an unfair doctrine that destroys Talk radio and silences the voices of millions of Americans who disagree with their vision for America. But the First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees the right of free speech, regardless of political affiliation, and this legislation will protect this sacred right."

A list of Republican House Co-sponsors.

A list of Republican Senate Co-sponsors.

These are important measures. Despite last year's vote against federal funding for the Fairness Doctrine, the issue is not dead. Obama and a Democratic congress can sneak it in via the FCC. That's why these new measures are so important, if upholding free speech is something you can get into.

Finally, if you want to read a primer on the Doctrine's historical origins, its exploitative potential, and flimsy constitutional "support", check out George Will's piece.