Apr 30, 2009

Obama's War on Free Speech

By Joseph Farah

Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are intent on nationalizing media in the U.S. much the same way they nationalized the U.S. auto industry and the nation's banking and financial institutions.

This isn't the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."

It's much worse.

Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks and months:
  • a new appointment to the position of chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who will implement a plan to create "community advisory boards" of community activists to monitor the content of talk-radio programs, threatening stations that carry dissenting content with broadcast license challenges;
  • billions of additional dollars to be invested in so-called "public broadcasting" – those entities already funded and controlled by government;
  • bailouts of failing newspapers perceived as essential propaganda tools for the party.
It's a program worthy of the old Soviet Union – where the old joke noted there was no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.

But this is no joking matter. The First Amendment is at stake.

Sign WND's Petition to Block Congressional Attacks on Freedom of Speech and Press now!

The FCC is currently composed of two Democrat and two Republican commissioners. Obama has nominated a new chairman, Julius Genachowski, which would give Democrats a 3-2 majority once he is confirmed.

But the nominee is not just another Democrat. He's a Democrat with a plan.

Genachowski advocates creating new media ownership rules that promote a diversity of voices on the airwaves. In fact, Genachowski is credited with helping craft the Obama technology agenda, which states: "Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."

Translation? Government control of broadcast media – particularly the kind of talk radio Democrats find so annoying.

The party in power wants to remain in power perpetually. And to do so, like so many other power-hungry parties of the past, it seeks to control the debate and stifle dissent.

Because the party in power looks to National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System as the models of fairness and balance, look for massive new "investments" in these official voices.

And, lastly, look for the bailout model to be used to keep the party's choice newspapers on life support.

Just last week, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., all but assured employees of the deeply troubled Boston Globe, a newspaper owned by the New York Times, that he will not allow the paper to go out of business despite falling revenues.

All of these may seem like unrelated developments. But they are not. They are part of a sophisticated plan to socialize the media – preserving with taxpayer dollars failing media institutions that support the party in power and using the coercive power of government to crush those media institutions that are critical of the party in power.

The plot was not hatched inside the White House or even in the halls of Congress. It was developed by John Nichols of the Nation magazine and Robert McChesney, a self-described neo-Marxist media theoretician.

The essence of their program – "the need to promote an understanding of the urgency to assert public control over the media."

"Our claim is simply that the media system produces vastly less quality than it would if corporate and commercial pressures were lessened," they wrote in "Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media."

Amazingly, they cite the founders' commitment to a free press as their inspiration.

I guess they forgot to absorb the literal meaning of the First Amendment that begins: "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. …"

That's the origin of the game plan.

You can watch it unfold soon.

Or, you can put your foot down and say boldly, "Not with my money, you don't."