Media Research Center President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell today called on all of President Barack Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominees to pledge to preserve the First Amendment freedoms of conservative and Christian talk radio. Bozell asserted that if they do not do so, they should not be confirmed by the Senate.
Denouncing the so-called Fairness Doctrine is not enough. Last Thursday, the Senate passed a rider from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that creates broad new free speech-suppression regulatory powers for the FCC.
The nebulous Durbin Amendment potentially allows for the FCC to prematurely rescind talk radio station licenses and creates many new regulatory avenues by which the FCC can silence talk radio with such vague requirements as "encourag(ing) and promot(ing) diversity" in media ownership and "ensur(ing) that broadcast station licenses are used in the public interest."
Said Mr. Bozell in a statement:
The time has come for all of President Obama's nominees, and Obama himself, to publicly vow to protect conservative and Christian talk radio from ALL forms of government censorship. So far their silence has been deafening. Should [FCC Chairman-designate] Mr. [Julius] Genachowski and Company not vow to protect the First Amendment freedoms of talk radio, the Senate should refuse to confirm them.
All the pieces for the silencing of conservative and Christian talk radio are being put into place. Aspects of the Durbin amendment create the impression of a new FCC censor power to pull station licenses mid-term - and many new ways to regulate talk radio out of existence.
These are frightening new governmental censorship powers, and Obama's FCC nominees should pledge not to use them to shut down talk radio. The ‘Fairness' Doctrine is dead, long live the new ‘Fairness' Doctrine - the Durbin Doctrine."