President Barack Obama's recent statement about his opposition to resurrecting the so-called Fairness Doctrine is a good first step, but shouldn't be the only step his administration takes to burying political censorship by the FCC for good, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist argued in a joint statement released today.
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After all, liberal organizations and individuals like MoveOn.org, ACORN, John Podesta's Center for American Progress, House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) have expressed their intention to silence talk radio by alternative regulatory means such as nebulous FCC "diversity" in ownership and "localism" requirements.
President Obama must make clear his opposition to those back-door regulations as well, Mr. Bozell declared:
"We are glad that President Obama says that he ‘does not believe the (so-called) Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated.' But he should state his opposition to the use of any FCC regulation with the intent of censoring talk radio. He should also guarantee a veto of any bill that will silence free speech on the airwaves.
"The President should also insist that his nominee for FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, publicly pledge right away - before his confirmation hearing -- that he too vows not to use the regulatory powers of the FCC to silence talk radio. We need to know definitively that the man who will head up Obama's FCC will in every way possible preserve free speech on the airwaves.
ATR President and Free Speech Alliance petition signator Grover Norquist agreed:
While I'm pleased to hear the President say he opposes revival of the ironically named "fairness doctrine," I'd like to hear him come out with full-throated support for freedom of speech. Government censorship has many forms, and while President Obama now opposes this form, where does he stand on the more ominous issue of censorship by proxy under the friendly sounding ‘localism' banner?
Call me a skeptic, but while what a politician says worries me, what they explicitly don't say worries me even more. If liberals want an equal voice on talk radio they simply need to produce a product the public wants to hear. It's the public rejection of the products they've offered thus far that has made liberal talk radio a failure, not some ‘vast right-wing conspiracy.'