Silencing The Voices Of Opposition.............

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Thu Feb 19 13:59:05 MST 2009


MEDIA MATTERS
Savage goes on offense in 'Fairness Doctrine' battle
Regulations 'nothing more than a desire to silence political opposition'

Posted: February 19, 2009
12:00 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

[]

Michael Savage (<http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/>San Francisco Chronicle)

<http://michaelsavage.wnd.com/>Talk radio icon Michael Savage is joining 
forces with a Michigan-based civil rights advocacy organization to protect 
free speech by fighting the return of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."

"A regulation of speech motivated by nothing more than a desire to silence 
political opposition on controversial issues of public interest is the 
purest example of a law abridging the freedom of speech," said Richard 
Thompson, president and chief counsel of <http://www.thomasmore.org>Thomas 
More Law Center.

"Such action is the hallmark of totalitarian governments, not a free 
society," he said.

The Fairness Doctrine was abandoned in 1987, but leading Democrats 
increasingly have called for its return.

(Story continues below)

712019820

<http://media.fastclick.net/w/click.here?sid=46722&m=6&c=1>
[]



Among its advocates are senior Democratic statesman and former president 
Bill Clinton and Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa and 
<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=88113>Debbie Stabenow of 
Michigan.

<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=88811>Sign WND's petition to oppose 
the "Fairness Doctrine" now!

<http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89276#>House Speaker Nancy 
Pelosi, D-Calif., has affirmed her support to 
<http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27185>Human Events reporter John 
Gizzi for a "fairness" policy, and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., 
<http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=78833>told 
radio host Jim Villanucci, "I would want this station and all stations to 
have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view, 
instead of always hammering away at one side of the political [spectrum]."

Michael G. Franc, writing on the National Review's "The Corner" blog, noted 
that attorney general nominee Eric Holder also has refused to commit to 
opposing to the idea.

The Fairness Doctrine, originally introduced in 1949, required that radio 
and <http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89276#>television 
stations with a broadcast license air contrasting views on matters of 
public importance. The policy made it practically impossible for talk 
<http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89276#>radio to make a 
profit, because the market would not bear a lineup with an equal number of 
programs from the left and right. Since the Fairness Doctrine was abandoned 
in 1987, more than 2,000 radio stations - the vast majority identified as 
politically conservative - have adopted a talk radio format.

"Michael Savage is the personification of what the liberals hate about 
conservative talk radio," said Thompson, "and we're proud to represent him 
in this crucial battle to preserve the grand purpose of political speech 
protected by the First Amendment.

"With the stink of public corruption blanketing 
<http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89276#>Washington, with our 
elected officials passing the single largest spending bill in our nation's 
history without even reading or debating it, with the increasing 
nationalization of our financial institutions, with almost dictatorial 
control of Congress by one political party, and with increasing signs we 
are becoming a socialistic country, Americans need more dynamic talk show 
hosts like Savage, not less," Thompson said.

<http://michaelsavage.wnd.com/>Savage's nationally syndicated show, "The 
Savage Nation," is one of the highest-rated talk shows in the U.S.

The Thomas More Law Center is the second such organization to position 
itself to battle any proposed version of the Fairness Doctrine, whether 
known by that name or another.

<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89091>Just days ago, the 
<http://www.aclj.org>American Center for Law and Justice said its 
"litigation strategy" is prepared should the doctrine – or a similar 
regulatory measure – "be brought back to muzzle Christian broadcasting."

The organization said more than 230,000 people have signed its petition 
urging members of Congress to support the Broadcaster Freedom Act.

<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=88811>About 66,000 more have signed 
WND's own petition on the issue.

"If the doctrine is so fair, why are the liberals limiting it only to 
radio?" Thompson said. "Why not television, the Internet, and all the print 
media?"

Re-introducing the policy has been discussed for years among Democrats, but 
former President Bush stated flatly it was unneeded and would face a veto. 
But the Thomas More Law Center said with total Democratic control in 
Congress and the White House, it could be resurrected either by regulation 
of the Federal Communications Commission or by Congress.

"Whatever form its reinstatement may take, any limitation on the free 
speech rights of Michael Savage will result in an immediate legal action," 
the law center said. "The U. S. Supreme Court would most likely find any 
reinstatement of the Doctrine unconstitutional."

Law Center attorney Robert Muise has been assigned to lead the effort, 
which already is attracting offers of assistance from lawyers across the 
nation.

Savage is a longtime on-air supporter of the Thomas More Law Center. He 
used his radio show to marshal support for one of the center's clients, 
Marine Lt Col. Jeffrey Chessani.

Chessani is being prosecuted by the government in the so-called Haditha 
incident. A military judge ultimately dismissed the case. However, the 
government appealed. No decision has been made by the appeals court.

<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89091>WND has reported 
that 
<http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/47_oppose_fairness_doctrine_but_51_think_congress_likely_to_bring_it_back>RasmussenReports.com 
reveals that only 38 percent of U.S. voters believe the government should 
require radio stations to offer "equal" amounts of conservative and liberal 
political commentary.

The report said 47 percent oppose such demands, a drop of support for the 
government policy of 9 percent in just the past few months. The report said 
only 26 percent of voters think conservatives have an unfair advantage in 
the media, an argument on which much of the congressional support for new 
<http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89276#>regulations is based.

However, Rasmussen also reported 51 percent believe it is at least somewhat 
likely Democrats in Congress will restore the regulations anyway. The 
survey of 1,000 likely voters was done Feb. 12-13 and has a margin of error 
of three percentage points.
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