Monday, June 25, 2007

Standing Athwart History

Fire of Liberty
During the last month Republican voters, conservatives and fans of talk radio have discovered that Senators like Trent Lott and Lindsey Graham have become angered at the fact that the "loud folks" are bugging them thus making it hard for them to do what they want to do rather than what their voters want them to do. To make matters worse, you've got Senators Feinstein so exasperated with Americans voicing anger at this horrible bill that they are threatening to "deal" with talk radio and even Senator Feinstein noting she is "looking at it." with regards to bringing the Fairness Doctrine back to life. Thankfully, we have the editorial staff of National Review standing athwart this liberal march and yelling stop to such non-sense by publishing the following editorial piece. Here a look:
Nothing has worked too successfully for liberal political talkers. Rush, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, among others, are as dominant as ever. The only thing that has changed is that liberals now seem less interested in challenging conservative talk radio in the marketplace than in strangling it with government regulation. And that presents a much greater threat than another misguided attempt to find the liberal Limbaugh.

A new blueprint for a government takedown of conservative talk radio comes from the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, founded and run by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta. In a report entitled, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio ,” the Center outlines a plan that would, if implemented, do enormous damage not only to conservatives on talk radio, but to freedom of speech as well.

Surveying 257 stations owned by the top-five commercial station groups, the report’s authors found the unsurprising news that 91 percent of total weekday talk programming is conservative, and just nine percent “progressive.” Rather than attribute that imbalance to the generally conceded superiority of conservative programming — most radio professionals would tell you that Rush Limbaugh is simply better at what he does than any of the liberal opponents who have tried to compete with him — the report finds a deeper, more sinister case. “The gap between conservative and progressive talk radio,” it concludes, “is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system. “ According to Podesta’s Center, those structural problems can only be solved by government action.

First, the report proposes new national and local limits on the number of radio stations one company can own. Second, it recommends a de facto quota system to ensure that more women and minorities own radio stations. And finally, it says the government should “require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.”

The two-for-the-price-of-one attempt to have the government both stifle voices that don’t meet “enforceable public interest obligations” while raising money for government broadcasting is certainly a worthwhile strategy for the Left. Not for free speech and free markets, however.
Thank God for National Review and the champions of freedom of talk-radio for standing up to the political back room deals being hatched in the closed quarters of the Senate.

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