Tags: fairness | doctrine

Censorship Disguised as Fairness

Monday, 18 Aug 2008 08:35 AM

By Pat Boone

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Remember with me for a moment. Just a few years ago, that purveyor of perversion, Larry “Hustler” Flynt, won a court decision against minister Jerry Falwell, in an astounding judgment.

You might not recall the case, but it revolved around an obscene page in the aforementioned magazine, designed to look like a popular alcohol ad of its day, depicting a rural outhouse in which, as the copy spelled out, young Jerry was introduced to sex — by his mother! The ad looked real, intentionally, but was defended in court as “humor,” or “satire.”

Like any son would, public figure or not, Jerry sued Flynt and Hustler for defamation of character, libel and an assortment of other reasonable things. And he lost!

Why? The judge was persuaded by Flynt’s high-powered attorneys that Jerry Falwell was a public figure and therefore “fair game” for Flynt’s idea of humor. Forget the abominable portrayal of a Christian mother as a corrupt, immoral child abuser of her own child; Larry Flynt and his phalanx of lawyers portrayed him as a “defender of the First Amendment and of free speech itself.”

Subsequently, Woody Harrelson played Flynt in a movie about the whole sordid affair, and the paraplegic, pathetic “Hustler” was practically canonized as a latter-day founding father, defending the Constitution and the rights of free expression for all Americans!

Skip ahead a few years, and Howard Stern, the self proclaimed “king of all media,” blasts through all media and moral restraints, and finally brings down the almost smothered ire of the FCC on networks and individual stations carrying his filth, obscenity, and blasphemous ridicule of women, midgets, and handicapped people. Several millions in fines were levied, prompted by constant and growing public outrage, so media mogul Mel Karmazin paid Stern one-half billion dollars and stock options in Sirius satellite radio!

Again, Karmazin and Stern asserted that Americans (especially kids and young adults with money and prurient interests) deserve the constitutional right to hear and view anything they want to, without any limits. And they mean any limits — moral, spiritual, political, or any other kind. People in media must have the freedom to express themselves however they choose. This is America!

Now, poor, abused and deprived leftist politicians are demanding the revival of what they call the Fairness Doctrine, created and enacted for a while in the 1980s, aimed supposedly at balanced use of public airwaves.

You may remember that, during the life of that regulation, all media had to struggle to provide equal time to virtually any and every political opinion. It wreaked such expensive havoc and confusion on the airwaves that it became difficult to get anything on.

Then, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan abolished the foolish thing, declaring that government should just keep its hands off political speech, and that it should not have the power to decide which programs or opinions were fair or biased. He believed, and said, that American citizens could make up their own minds about who they wanted to listen to on radio or watch on TV.

Voila! Pundits and personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Glenn Beck, and Larry Elder built huge audiences of people who were resonating with what they said, and wanted more.

The canny Rupert Murdoch encouraged a “fair and balanced,” though admittedly conservative, Fox News Network, and it eventually it out-rated CNN and all other cable offerings, hands down. Why? Because ordinary citizens liked what they were viewing, and collectively applauded the opinions expressed. And they greatly appreciated hearing and seeing news being reported without the obvious filtering of liberal bias. At last, somebody in broadcasting was giving the public what it clearly wanted.

So what could the liberals do? Why, of course they’d create their own programming, develop their own angry, cynical and leftist pundits, and spend millions promoting them, even creating their own network. Monkey see, monkey do, right?

Wrong. They lost their shirts. Comic writer/pundits like Al Franken gave it their all, spewing liberal, critical, satirical, and desperate tirades on a syndicated network they actually called “Air America.” And it tanked miserably.

People by the millions ignored them, not wanting to buy what they were offering. They were free to express themselves however they liked, but the American public tuned them out. Period.

Now, as a last frantic ploy, Speaker Pelosi, Sens. Kerry and Barbara Boxer and all the left-leaning Democrats want to throttle free speech (at least the conservative variety) by re-instituting the nefarious Fairness Doctrine. It has such an appealing patriotic sound, while it thinly disguises the real intent — to clog all broadcast media with the hopeless confusion and complexity of granting “equal time” to any and all opponents of conservative thought and expression.

Hey, if you can’t lick ‘em, silence ’em! Bury ’em! Who cares what the American people have already demonstrated they want? What do they know, or want to know? The truth? They can’t handle the truth! (At least, if they can’t hear it.)

If you feel as strongly as I do that this pernicious “doctrine” must be left on the ash heap of history, as President Reagan effectively decreed, you and I need to partner with The National Journalism Center, http://njc.yaf.org/, the 30 year-old project of the Young America’s Foundation. Among more than 1,600 NJC graduates, the likes of Ann Coulter, author Richard Miniter, and John Fund of The Wall Street Journal, have become prominent media presences.

The Center is actively gathering hundreds of thousands (hopefully millions) of written petitions to bombard the FCC and all our legislators with — get this novel idea — the will of the American people!

We can’t just sit back and grouse, or hope for the best. Pelosi, Kerry, Reid, Boxer, and all their anguished liberal and big money friends will be going all out, in a last ditch effort to silence conservative expression in this country. Let’s contact the NJC, get and circulate petitions, and donate to their efforts.

Or do you like your information menu censored?

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