A Matter of “When”, Not “If”?

Another highlight, or lowlight, depending on your view, of an “all Democrats, all the time” government would most likely be some sort of legislative move to rein in the radio talk show media which is dominated by conservative talkers. It will most likely be updated to somehow put a crimp in cable news, specifically Fox and right leaning bloggers.

How they’d accomplish the last two is anyone’s guess (hate speech laws?), and nothing may come of it, but there certainly is a history for going after talk radio.

Major Democratic congressional leaders like Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, 2004 presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want the reinstitution of the outdated, pre-Internet “Fairness Doctrine.” They want to counter the news revolution in which blogs and talk radio have taken on the Big Three TV networks.

The Obama campaign claims Obama opposes a new Fairness Doctrine, but City Journal editor Brian C. Anderson doesn’t think a President Obama would veto such a bill. Moreover, Obama and most Democrats want to impose more “local accountability” on broadcasters, “setting up community boards to make their demands known when station licenses come up for renewal,” as Anderson notes.

This measure is “clearly aimed at national syndicators like Clear Channel that offer conservative shows,” Anderson says. “It’s a Fairness Doctrine by subterfuge.” Obama would pair that with relicensing stations every two years instead of the current eight.

A couple of examples of the Obama campaign urging its followers to flood WGN’s telephone lines when a host was interviewing someone they felt shouldn’t be heard are well known. So the propensity toward silencing critics is demonstrably evident. It is more of a question of what form the attack on critics will take rather than whether it will happen.

And, of course, there are other ways to keep the rest of the media in line as well:

We have already seen that Obama’s forces have no scruples about punishing media organizations who do not act as disciples of “The One.” Newswomen with both WFTV in Orlando, Fla., and the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia dared to ask running mate Joseph Biden about Obama’s plans to “spread the wealth,” as he infamously told Ohio’s Joe the Plumber. The Obama campaign let the journalists know they were now personae non grata.

Access is life for the media. They’ll either play the game or suffer the consequences.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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