Obama, Waxman to Square Off on Free Speech
“As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated,” White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
If this is indeed the Obama administration’s official stance, the news couldn’t have come at a better time. Just last week FCC officials met with Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff to discuss resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine under a new name. Waxman, the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has also been looking into “fairness” issues on the Internet—creating an expanded, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.
The American Spectator reported on this reanimation of the long-dead doctrine and brought us this great quote from a Waxman staffer:
“It’s all about diversity in media,” says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. “Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them.”
It doesn’t seem that Waxman’s real concern is having an FCC that can answer questions, but an FCC that will ignore its obligation to uphold the Constitution and sacrifice our freedom of speech on the alter of “fairness.”
Of course, none of this has anything to do with fairness, but has everything to do with politicians controlling what we can say, write, or otherwise express.
If Congress is somehow able to dupe the American people into accepting such speech restrictions—and President Obama doesn’t block a Fairness Doctrine 2.0—we can look forward to websites being patrolled by federal fairness cops, radio stations being staffed by stop-watch-toting FCC agents, and a presidential appointee sitting on the editorial board of every newspaper and magazine that still chooses to publish.
Let’s hope the President takes his oath seriously and defends the Constitution. Our basic freedom to speak our mind—the most fundamental of all freedoms—may rely on Mr. Obama’s resolve.