Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We Must Preserve Our Right to Free Speech

The Bill of Rights Article 1 states,  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ;or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assembale, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  This became the first amendment because it was recognized for a democratic republic to remain free, the people must forever be insured of these protections.

Today we stand at risk of having these very rights restricted at the hands of a misguided government. Should this occur  it will be for nothing less, and for no other reason, than institutionalizing politically correct speech. The entire first amendment is under attack. However, for the purpose of today's discussion we will concern ourselves only  with the freedom of speech and the press.

The right to, and guarantee of, free speech is to insure that dissenting, unpopular and potentially offensive political dialogue can not be shut off. The guarantee of a free press is a natural continuation of this principal  and is to insure the Government cannot regulate the press. These principals are a connerstone of any democratic republic. Should these freedoms be restricted, or lost altogether,  the people's freedoms shall be lost with them.

Our government, beginning with our national leadership, and including the socialist/statist representatives in congress, want to shut down views that differ from their own and their agenda. This is most noticeable with respect to the disdain shown by this group for  conservative talk radio, conservative bloggers, and Fox News to name a few. The reality is they simply wish to shut down dissenting viewpoints.

There are two ways which these anti freedom zealots will do this. 1) by re authorizing and enforcing the so called Fairness Doctrine, and 2) by regulating and restricting that which is allowed to freely travel on the internet. Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Harry Reid; et all have all come out in favor of re authorizing the fairness doctrine. While President Obama has yet to give his nod of approval I suspect it is only a matter of  time before he does.

We would all do well to write our congressmen and senators expressing our demand that  the fairness doctrine remains just as it is today... dead. By making our voices heard We The People can stop the attempt to abridge our freedom of speech and press. Now for a bt of history.

The Fairness Doctrine became a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission in 1949 and was intended to insure that holders of broadcast licenses presented issues of controversial nature and important to the public in a honest, equitable and balanced nature.  It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to controversial matters and to present contrasting or opposing viewpoints.

In 1985 under FCC Chairman Mark Fowler, the commission began to repeal parts of the Fairness Doctrine stating “that the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.”   In 1987 the FCC abolished the doctrine by a 4 – 0 vote stating, “the intrusion by government into the context of programming occasioned by the enforcement of [the Fairness Doctrine] restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters … [and] actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and the degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists.”  The commission also suggested that due to the multitude of media voices in the marketplace the doctrine may be deemed unconstitutional.

At the time the doctrine became policy there were essentially only three major television networks, and a relatively limited number of radio broadcast stations.  In 1949 it was arguably an appropriate step for the FCC to insure controversial and unpopular viewpoints were heard and given equal time.  Today, with the growth of AM and FM radio, cable networks and satellite television, and the explosion of the internet it is much easier to expose the public to controversial viewpoints.

Given the current communication technology and almost instant access to a multitude of contrasting viewpoints; the Fairness Doctrine, aside from possibly being unconstitutional, is definitely not needed.  The only purpose the Fairness Doctrine would serve today is to limit controversial and opposing viewpoints from being heard.  This is perhaps why the only people we hear clamoring for it’s reinstatement are the socialist/statist politicians in Washington DC.  They simply want it reinstated to use it to shut down the conservative media, primarily in talk radio and the internet.

Rational Nation USA is relatively certain everyone is aware that Great Britain's banned Michael Savage, conservative talk show host, from traveling to the country. They had placed him on a list of terrorists and murderers, and for what reason and by what justification? Simply for expressing viewpoints that do not hold with the current British Governments socialist/statist ideology. What is most interesting is this, Savage was not carried on any British radio stations. This begs the question from where did it gain it's information to make such a decision?

If you are asking at this point why Michael Savage is being brought up here, it is a fair question. Obviously Britain is free to act as it pleases with respect to Mr. Savage. Britain is certainly not bound by the first amendment to the United States Constitution, and if the nation of Britain feels it has cause for this action it would be considered within it's rights to act accordingly. I would not argue the point.

My reason for bringing this up is precisely this; Mr. Savage asked the U.S. State Department to intervene on his behalf.  To exert diplomatic influence with the British Government, a supposed ally, to remove him from the list and clear his good name. To date Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has refused to do so. This refusal speaks volumes,  and is the sole reason I bring Michael Savage into this discussion.

Ask yourself this; if your own government will not stand up for your right to free speech abroad, particularly when the offending country is a supposedly free state and an ally of America , can you reasonably expect your government will uphold your right to free speech at home? Mark my words, the socialist/statist power structure in the United States is chomping at the bit to gain the power through re enactment of the so called Fairness Doctrine to shut down Savage, Beck, Hannity, O'Brien, Coulter, Malkin, Ingram, and  any other conservative commentator. 

The so called Fairness Doctrine is the vehicle our government will use to attempt to quiet political dissent at home. Our governments willingness to stand by while a man of intelligence and integrity, who has never advocated violence or committed a criminal act,  is allowed suffer this injustice is to me quite telling. Irrespective of what one may think of Savage personally the real issue is freedom of speech.

What has been so odd is the total silence coming from the conservatives on this. Perhaps they think by their silence they are safe. They best think again.

The video below bring the point home nicely.

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