10.01.2008 0

Making Free Speech History

  • On: 10/23/2008 17:11:03
  • In: First Amendment
  • By William Warren

    2008 may make history.

    With Senator Obama already lining up his cabinet and Nancy Pelosi knowing “100% Barack Obama is going to win,” the confidence levels amongst Democrats are running extremely high to say the least.

    Also at an all-time high is Democrats’ utter disdain for all things conservative.

    Whether it’s John Murtha painting the Pennsylvania conservatives as racist rednecks, Joe Biden mocking Joe the Plumber for asking Obama a tough question, or Barack Obama himself skewering the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or FOX News, it is all-too clear how the Democrats feel about those on the other side of the political aisle—especially those that are the most vocal.

    In just a few months’ time, Democrats might very well be able to communicate this abundant abhorrence and enduring frustration not just in words but in legislation.

    Predicting a monopoly on both the executive and legislative branches of government, Democrats are chomping at the bit to force feed Republicans all sorts of Big Government, left-wing legislation just despite them. One such item on their agenda, however, should have every American worried—not just conservatives.

    Ever since it’s death in 1987, Democrats have waited eagerly for the chance to resurrect the so-called “fairness doctrine.” This atrocity of a law would require that radio stations “mandate” fairness by allotting equal airtime to various political viewpoints. In essence, the free speech of people like the aforementioned Limbaugh and Hannity would be regulated and restricted. The government would control what is acceptable popular voices would be silenced.

    The (un)fairness doctrine is a blatant, unashamed attack on what is arguably the most essential American right—free speech. This totalitarian regulation could have very well been plagiarized from the pages of a George Orwell novel.

    Under a Democrat controlled House, Senate and Presidency, the (un)fairness doctrine’s resurrection is not a question of “if” but “when.” President Obama would be able to unilaterally re-implement the doctrine minus any new legislation.

    Writing in the New York Post, Brian C. Anderson had the following to say regarding the ban on free speech:

    “The Fairness Doctrine was an astonishingly bad idea. It’s a too-tempting power for government to abuse. When the doctrine was in effect, both Democratic and Republican administrations regularly used it to harass critics on radio and TV.”

    Moreover, as Adam Thierer of the Heritage Foundation chronicles, the (un)fairness doctrine has been found to be both unconstitutional and inherently unfair time and time again since its inception in 1949.

    In the 1969 case Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC, the court ruled that if the doctrine ever limited free speech, its constitutionality should be questioned. In the 1974 case Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, the Court found that the (un)fairness doctrine “inescapably dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate.” Again in 1964, the Court ruled that the doctrine was intrinsically flawed and severely limited the scope of public debate in FCC v. League of Women Voters. And in 1987, the (un)fairness doctrine was finally repealed by the FCC and kept there by Ronald Reagan’s veto.

    Although proven wrong time and time again, America’s left—and arguably every member of the Democrat party—still finds the idea of legislating “fairness” to be a wonderful idea. Having lusted after such anti-democratic power for so long, Pelosi, Gore, Kerry, Obama and the rest will use this historic opportunity to bolster their power by silencing the opposition for which they carry so much unbridled animosity.

    Although it may sound drastic, any attempt on behalf of government to tread on free-speech in any way should never be taken lightly.

    Government authority rests on the precipice of a slippery slope: If radio should be mandated for “fairness”, then why not the internet? If the internet, then why not all other forms of media? Why not school and collegiate discourse? Why not all public discourse?

    Where does it end?

    So as the Democrats lick their lips and begin making their plans for January 20, 2009, Americans everywhere must know what is on the line.

    If anything else, the 2008 election may make history by making free speech history.

    William Warren is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.

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