Hurricane Alley… by J. D. Longstreet

1st Amendment Under Attack By the Democrats/Socialists!

Posted in Political by J. D. Longstreet on July 3, 2008

1st Amendment Under Attack By the Democrats/Socialists!

 

First it was the 2nd Amendment, now it’s the 1st Amendment, under attack by the Democrats/Socialists!  The power hungry, frightened, Democrats/Socialists cannot abide free speech. They cannot exist for very long within a system that champions free speech.  It they do manage to exist, they cannot thrive because free speech is their enemy.  Free speech allows the light of truth to shine, blindingly, upon their falsities, their deceptions, their untruths, and their lies.

 

By now, you are probably asking yourselves, what is Longstreet babbling on about?  Well, I’m speaking of, quite likely, the most dangerous move against freedom yet tried by THIS socialist Congress lead by “Nanny” Pelosi in the US House and “Massah” Reid in the US Senate.  I am speaking, of course, of the return of the “Fairness Doctrine”.  And all this time you thought it was a dead issue.  No, not by a long shot!

 

Let me tell you a bit about the original Fairness Doctrine.  I was a broadcaster before it was revoked —  and afterwards.  I worked within the broadcasting business under the constraints of the “FD” and after it was lifted.

 

The Fairness Doctrine kept small market broadcast stations from broadcasting public affairs programs concerning their communities, their coverage areas, and their city of licenses.  How can that be, you ask?

 

I’ll try to give you an example:  Under the Fairness Doctrine, if a station broadcast a public affairs program on a controversial topic of interest to the community, it had to make every effort to broadcast another program with the opposing view.  Time had to be made available for two programs rather than one. If there happened to be more points of view than just pro and con, the station had to broadcast them, also. In other words, if you broadcast the first one, you had to broadcast the others. It could quickly snowball.  Next thing a broadcaster knew, his airtime was taken up by programming that only a handful of listeners listened to, anyway.  That meant that, one: practically nobody was listening, and two:  sponsors, who paid the bills with their commercial advertising, would pull their commercials… because NOBODY WAS LISTENING.  Pretty soon the small market stations, especially, were in dire circumstances, financially.  Many stations went under as a result of the original Fairness Doctrine.  I know… because I saw it. 

 

So, how did those of us who managed to stay on the air during that time do it?  Well, we did it by slight of hand, actually.  We broadcast NO controversial public affairs programs, period.  If we found that we were in danger of losing our licenses, we would broadcast those controversial program in the wee hours, or in, basically, “dead times” such as Sunday mornings, before noon — certainly before 2 pm. The point was to get the license covered. So we would program as little controversial programming as possible and still keep our license, and, still maintain a broadcast station in a small market.

 

AM broadcast stations went under by the truckloads. “Daytimers” were especially, hard-hit.  They had limited hours of the day to broadcast, usually from local sunrise to local sunset. There are a finite number of hours between the two events.  We were limited as to the number of commercials we could air per hour, as well (usually 18 minutes per hour of commercial time was allowed by the FCC.  In some cases, such as the Christmas holiday season we could go as high as 22 minutes of advertising per hour.  NOT 18 or 22 ads… 18 or 22 MINUTES of ad time.  We could break that down anyway we wanted.)   NOBODY wanted to run his or her commercials within a public affairs program.  Nobody.  AM stations went broke… and the AM spectrum very nearly died.

 

Then the Fairness Doctrine was lifted.  It was like sunrise for the broadcast industry!  Soon afterwards the “Talkers” arrived. The Rush Limbaugh program resuscitated more AM radio stations than you would believe unless you are connected to the industry.  He very nearly rescued the AM Radio Spectrum single-handedly. Some say he did, and I count myself among them.

 

The reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine will stifle free speech on the broadcast band.  And let us be honest here… the Democrats want right wing radio shut down.  They cannot compete getting their left wing message out on the broadcast bands in America.  NOBODY listens!  In droves! You don’t believe me?  Ask the station managers who tried to carry a left wing radio program.  It’s worse than “Dead Air”.  Listening to a left wing radio program is akin to listening to children whine.  Nobody likes that, not even left-wingers.

 

Add to the mix the very real possibility that the dems will extend the Fairness Doctrine to cover opinion blogs on the Internet, as well.  I don’t KNOW how they would do it, but I certainly expect them to try. So, those of us in the blogosphere may find our free speech stifled just like that of the Broadcasters.  Please, don’t tell me that can’t happen.  As a Blogger who has had his blog locked, already, and access denied to him, I can tell you it is a horrifying feeling.  One feels as if one has been muzzled.

 

One of the chief concerns of the Left is freedom of speech.  It is troublesome and problematic for them.  When you look at the countries around the globe in which the Left has taken over already established governments you quickly see that the very first thing they do… is muzzle the broadcast stations and the print media, which is not supportive of the Left.  It is what they do. Until the Internet came along, there had never been a successful revolution, in modern history, unless the broadcast stations were neutralized FIRST!

 

As I said in an article, back in July of last year… the Left is trying to use the Fairness Doctrine to neutralize the Broadcast Media.

 

The Broadcast Media is a powerful force for freedom.  It is truly the voice of the people.  And therein lies the rub!  Vox  populae.  The people’s voice(s).  Broadcast media, with a conservative message, is a threat to the political left. Give them credit for understanding that, at least.

 

The Constitution guarantees Americans freedom of speech.  The Constitution does not, however, grant Americans the right to have someone actually listen to what they may speak.  Nowhere does it guarantee an American the right to be heard!  So, our friends on the Left feel compelled to correct that.  Enter: The Fairness Doctrine.

 

At the moment The Broadcaster Freedom Act (H.R. 2905) — a bill in Congress that would ban permanently the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” — is stalled in Congress.  The Left has made it clear they have tabled it because they are sure that if it continued to progress through the House and Senate this year, it WOULD pass!  Sure that after Novembers election their numbers will increase enough that they can reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, itself, the Left has boxed the Broadcaster Freedom Act up… tight. They have “tabled” it in the House.

 

There is a petition at www.grassfire.net for you to sign to help generate 100,000 signers by July 4th in an attempt to press every member of Congress to go on record on this vital First Amendment issue.  You can read and sign the petition at:

 

http://www.grassfire.net/410/petition.asp?PID=17150406&NID=1&Ref_ID=1493  

 

As I said last July:  Yes, the Fairness Doctrine is definitely a threat to Freedom of Speech. If for no other reason we Americans must see that it is never re-enacted”.

 

America has given up entirely too much of it’s freedom, beginning with the Lincoln Administration, to present. It is past time to call a halt to encroaching anarchy.  We should do it now — while there are still a few of us “Old Timers” around who remember what a great nation the US used to be”

 

Longstreet. 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response

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  1. stumped said, on July 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    As someone with 25+ years of broadcast experience, your recall of the fairness doctrine is selective at best. The first talk radio station (KABC in Los Angeles) went on the air in 1960 — 25-plus years before its repeal. There was far more public affairs programming — and a lot more news — on local radio stations 30 and 40 years ago than there is today. Small market stations did not go under because of the FD — in fact, there are now more radio stations than ever. Some small AM stations did have trouble because the music audience went to FM, and some small FM stations had problems because the FCC opened up the FM band to too much competition and diluted the audience in small markets. And no doubt a few stations like yours drove listeners away by cramming in 18 minutes of commercials an hour!

    Nobody ever went belly up because of the Fairness Doctrine, except for the one station owner who refused to let someone answer a personal attack and whose case went to the Supreme Court.

    In the hypothetical “example” you cite, why couldn’t you have had both sides in the room at the same time and let them square off? That’s how fairness was usually dealt with in those days. Candidly, I think you’re makin’ it up.

    Most stations broadcast public affairs programming early on Sunday morning, because they didn’t want to interrupt the music, not because they were trembling in their boots over FD. Not the best way to do it, but you’re wrong to tell people FD was the reason.

    Talk radio arrived LONG before FD. KABC went on in 1960, Larry King went into national syndication in 1978, and the first nationally syndicated conservative host, Ray Briem, went national in 1 9 8 2!!!

    Rush did not save the “AM Spectrum.” He saved ONE station in each market. The rest either went to sports or became the no-tell motel, selling shows by the hour. AM listening plateaued for a couple of years in the mid-90’s, then RESUMED its downward trend. Perhaps the uniformity and limited appeal of talk radio (older males, few women) is a reason.

    “Ask the station managers who tried to carry a left wing radio program. It’s worse than “Dead Air”.

    A lot of last-resort AM stations with weak signals tried progressive talk and got no better results than they had. Others had slightly better results but decided to sell out to someone who wanted to sell half-hour preacher shows (they pay good money). Other stations with GOOD signals succeeded and continue with liberal talk to this day — including KPOJ Portland, KKZN Denver, WCPT Chicago and WINZ Miami, which has 56 percent of the ratings of its conservative counterpart.

    And Obama has already come out against FD, so it’s all a red herring. A red herring resigned to rile the conservative base, and to help corporate radio, which is leading a lobbying campaign to keep from having any local programming requirements or staff requirements. Most AM talk stations are computers in closets running off satellite feeds, and the big owners want to keep it that way. Little or no local news, little or no local talk. It helps their bottom line to have conservative bloggers dressing up the FCC’ s localism proposals as a plot to silence conservatives.


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