Monday, May 4, 2009

The First Amendment in Peril

The other morning as I arrived at work I received a call from my 13 year old son. It was a little past 7:00. His bus arrives at 7:30. I was concerned that he was ill or, more likely the case, had lost something he needed for school.

"I was just thinking how Obama is like Hitler," he said. "Well, not exactly but somethings he's doing," he explained.

"OK" I said, relieved it was nothing too serious and preparing myself for what can sometimes be the tortured logic of a 13 year old's mind.

"In Nazi Germany, they tried to restrict what radio broadcasts the people listened to," he explained. (His class has been studying the Holocaust.) "Hitler handed out radios that only broadcasted the governments views," he continued, "and some of the propaganda posters showed a person listening to other broadcasts with the word "Verrater" (Traitor) at the bottom." The poster depicted an activity the Nazis considered to be treason, the highest crime against a state and its people.

Indeed, as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum points out:

Goebbels's ministry recognized the tremendous promise of radio for propaganda. It heavily subsidized the production of the inexpensive "People's Receiver" (Volksempfänger) to facilitate sales. By early 1938, the number of radios in German homes surpassed more than 9 million, roughly one for every two German households. Three years later, this figure rose to almost 15 million, providing 50 million Germans with regular radio reception.

My son continued, "Isn't Obama trying to do the same thing by trying to shut down talk radio?"

What he was referring to of course if the so called "Fairness Doctrine," a subject we will no doubt be hearing more about as the Dems approach a filibuster proof majority.

Perhaps the call was more serious than I thought.

From WND:

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.

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. (more)

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