Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Silencing New Media

Now some may call this conspiracy mongering, but think about it. The Left has wanted to shut down and silence the New Media ever since Rush Limbaugh launched his highly-successful radio show, and spurned on a revolution in media. Since then he's spawned Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, etc. on the airwaves. Hugh Hewitt helped create another level of the New Media by promoting and encouraging bloggers to get on board with the digital revolution. Michelle Malkin took the blogs in a new direction with vlogging, or video-blogging. But as The Lady Logician noted yesterday, given what we've seen in this election, the writing is on the wall that if the Left wins this year they'll do their best to shut us up:

Conservative-friendly media better get ready. Should Barack Obama win the presidency and the Democrats control Congress, as now seems likely, they will launch a full-scale war to drive critics — especially on political talk radio — right out of legitimate public debate.

Signs of what the new environment will be like for the right are already evident:

• When the National Rifle Association recently released television and radio ads in Pennsylvania targeting Obama's history of anti-gun votes, the Obama campaign's general counsel fired off bullying letters to stations that ran the spots, implying that they may have violated public-interest obligations.

• When the 527 group, the American Issues Project, came out with a commercial linking Obama to former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, the campaign (unsuccessfully) complained to the Department of Justice that AIP had broken campaign finance laws, and managed to spook some stations away from the ad.

• When two different conservative writers looking into Obama's background appeared on Chicago's WGN-AM Radio, the campaign's "action wire" energized its activists to bombard the station with rage-filled phone calls and e-mails, making the program more difficult to conduct.

(The show, hosted by the eminently reasonable Milt Rosenberg, had on both occasions invited the Obama campaign to send a representative to respond; the campaign preferred to answer with digital brownshirts.)

These crude efforts are only a start.

A Democrat-controlled Washington will use sweeping new rules to shush conservative political speech. For starters, expect a real push to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

True, Obama says he isn't in favor of re-imposing this regulation, which, until Ronald Reagan's FCC junked it in the '80s, required broadcasters to give airtime to opposing viewpoints or face fines or even loss of license. But most top Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, are revved up about the idea, and it's hard to imagine Obama vetoing a new doctrine if Congress delivers him one.

Make no mistake: a new Fairness Doctrine would vaporize political talk radio, the one major medium dominated by the right. If a station ran a successful conservative program like, say, Mark Levin's, it would also have to run a left-leaning alternative, even if — as with Air America and all other liberal efforts in the medium to date — it can't find any listeners or sponsors. ...

This measure — aimed at national syndicators like Salem Radio that make conservative shows available from coast to coast — is just a sneakier way of shrinking the listenership of hosts like William Bennett or Hugh Hewitt, or even getting them off the air altogether.

Obama, like congressional Democrats, also wants to regulate the Internet, the only other medium in which the right does well, via its influential bloggers.

If this does go down expect New Media to be the equivalent of the Samizdat that was run in Soviet-bloc countries to get around the imposed censorship. That is what we'll be reduced to. We won't have the strong voice we have now, but the voice will still be alive.

The question remains to be seen if Congress is smart enough to construct such a bill that would pass constitutional muster. It lasted for nearly forty years (established in 1949, and abolished in 1987), and when it was repealed the rise of the New Media was inevitable. The Left would love nothing more that to silence us once and for all, and if they get the big wins this year -- the White House, the House with a solid majority, and the Senate with a filibuster proof majority -- the new Fairness Doctrine may not be too far away.

Publius II


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