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Freedom to Listen Opponents

Coming to Your Neighborhood: A State Controlled Newspaper

On March 24, 2009, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) filed legislation that would allow newspapers to become non-profits under the U.S. Tax Code. This would allow them to become tax exempt entities, but also limit what they could print. Newspapers that took advantage of this would not be allowed to print political endorsements of any kind. Imagine the slippery slope this legislation could cause.

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Censorship of Talk Radio
2009-03-23 reports that the National Hispanic Media Coalition is asking the FCC to investigate "hate speech," which includes describing someone who sneaked across the US border as "illegal." When the government starts forbidding simple truth from our airways, we are all in deep, deep trouble.

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Feminists State the Opponents’ Reasons for Censorship

This is an article in a feminist website called Fem2.(Venus symbol) on 18 March. It illustrates the feminist viewpoint concerning the Internet mostly, but also applies to radio, television, etc. It assumes that all women have the same viewpoint, namely theirs, and that the “voices on the Internet” are controlled by “a small caste of wealthy white males,” and that “a revolution is required.” They ignore people like Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, for instance. Those who seek a reestablishment of censorship have a simple goal: to force everyone to listen to the voices they prefer. It is scary, and real.

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FCC Explores New Approach to Increase Media Diversity

by David Hatch

The Democratic-led FCC is launching an effort to promote media diversity with a proposal designed to boost minority ownership of television and cable properties. The plan is being readied for Julius Genachowski, President Obama's chief technology adviser and nominee for agency chairman, and a new set of commissioners, expected to be in place in the coming months. In the mid-1990s, Congress forced the agency to scrap a program that awarded tax certificates to companies selling media outlets to minorities. Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps, both Democrats, have long fought to reinstate tax deferrals that encourage sales to minorities and women but have been stymied by a court case setting a high bar for race-based incentives. "For years we've been frustrated by the lack of diversity in ownership," Adelstein said today during remarks at a Consumer Federation of America conference.

To circumvent the obstacle, Adelstein said the agency wants to permit "disadvantaged" business to qualify. That category would include all races while skewing heavily toward helping minorities and women. "At a minimum we're going to launch Adarand studies and begin to review how we're going to change the definition," he said, referring the 1995 Supreme Court decision in Adarand Constructors v. Pena. Under that ruling, an agency can engage in a "limited amount of government favoritism" for minorities if it can demonstrate that such steps are necessary to address past discrimination, said Andrew Schwartzman, president and CEO of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm. "I think that ultimate decision will take a significant amount of time because in order to do that we need to have better data than we have today to ensure that it's constitutionally sustainable," Adelstein added.

The development comes at a time when Democrats at the FCC and on Capitol Hill appear to be easing off efforts to nullify a Republican-backed relaxation of the ownership rules approved by the agency while under GOP control in late 2007. In an effort to help struggling newspapers, the agency permitted broadcast outlets to merge with papers in the nation's 20 largest media markets. "Newspapers today are in real trouble. Journalism in America today is in real trouble. I'm profoundly concerned about it," Adelstein said today. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the new Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee, expressed a similar sentiment late last month.

In other developments, Adelstein said the FCC will soon review proposals for walk-in centers and in-home assistance to help Americans prepare for the final phase of the nation's shift to digital television signals, set to culminate June 12. The projects would be financed through funding in the economic stimulus package. "We can't let our guard down just because February 17 wasn't a disaster," he said, referring to the mostly smooth transition for hundreds of stations that day. "There's a lot of work left to do." The FCC also is readying a proposal for a "national broadband strategy," to be considered at its April public meeting, to bolster deployment, service offerings and usage, Adelstein said. "This is a huge undertaking for the FCC and one of the most important things we've done in terms of a plan," he said.

John Kerry Supports the Fairness Doctrine, But Not Enough

An article in the Boston Herald on 13 March berates Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) for being insufficient in his support for the Fairness Doctrine. It begins by quoting Kerry saying that talk radio has become too “confrontational” and “thrives on the perpetual shouting match.” Go back into the history of the First Amendment. The “press” for whom the Amendment was written included the Aurora Advertiser which published this statement, “If ever a man debauched a nation, George Washington debauched the United States of America.” A free press is always contentious. Anyone who objects to contention wants a tame press that is controlled by the government.

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