Conservative talk radio continues to flourish, but there are troubling signs that the Obama administration is seeking to silence the free and open exchange of views on the public airwaves.
Today 100 million people tune in to America's 2,000 talk-radio hosts each week, and the overwhelming majority of those hosts are conservative — a fact that has irked the left for years.
The recent controversy surrounding top-rated radio and TV talker Glenn Beck is emblematic of the Obama regime's efforts to stifle dissent in the media.
The African-American political organization Color of Change called for an advertiser boycott of Beck's programming after Beck said Obama "doesn't like white people" on July 28.
He was reacting to Obama's assertion that the Cambridge, Mass., Police Department had acted "stupidly" in its arrest of African-American professor Henry Louis Gates.
As it turns out, Color of Change was founded by Van Jones, who serves in the Obama White House as his "green-jobs czar," responsible for stimulating job growth in the environmental sector.
Obama has made no secret of his disdain for others in the conservative media. Shortly before the November election, he said in an interview, "I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls."
And in June he was clearly referring to Fox when he stated, "I've got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration."
Obama has also gone after Rush Limbaugh, telling GOP leaders shortly after his inauguration, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."
This is strange talk coming from a politician who promised he would "end politics as usual in Washington" and usher in a new era of bipartisanship in government.
Obama’s promise has been a sham. He and the Democrats rammed the $787 billion stimulus bill through Congress and remained intent on passing healthcare reform legislation without support from the GOP.
So it should come as no surprise that the Democrats are seemingly poised to launch a partisan attack on the conservative media.
"I guarantee you, many in Congress today do not like conservative talk radio — they haven't for years," talk-radio expert Brian Jennings, author of the new book "Censorship: The Threat to Silence Talk Radio," told Newsmax in a recent interview. "They feel that conservative talk radio is far too powerful."
The Senate in March passed legislation prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
The doctrine, repealed in 1987, mandated diversity by requiring broadcasters using the public airwaves to give equal time to opposing political views. Since talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by conservative hosts, and liberal talk radio draws few listeners, the doctrine would likely force many radio stations to pull conservative hosts rather than air low-rated liberal hosts.
But Democrats have other tricks up their sleeves to attack conservative talk: The Senate passed an amendment calling on the FCC to "encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership and to ensure that broadcast station licenses are used in the public interest."
Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, called the amendment an attempt to make an "end run" around the Senate action outlawing the Fairness Doctrine and create "a new means of censorship on the airways."
Most worrisome of Obama's moves in regard to the media is his recent appointment of Mark Lloyd as the FCC's first "chief diversity officer."
Two years ago Lloyd wrote an article calling on liberals to challenge conservative media moguls and station owners, particularly figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch.
He also wrote a book espousing the idea that private broadcasters (read: conservative broadcasters) should pay huge licensing fees to help fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a sharply left-leaning media outlet.
Lloyd made a stunning statement at a hearing by praising Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, calling his regime "an incredible revolution, a democratic revolution" and noting that after a rebellion against his rule, Chavez "began to take very seriously the media in the country."
This same Hugo Chavez has been a harsh oppressor of opposition media in his country, and as recently as Aug. 2, he revoked the licenses of 34 radio stations.
"I find it interesting that someone who is so obviously biased can be appointed to such an important position inside the FCC," Brian Jennings said of Lloyd.
"He could make life miserable for conservative talk radio, and we can only surmise from his writings that's exactly what he wants to do."
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