Skip to comments.ACLJ ready to do battle against 'Fairness Doctrine'
Posted on 02/18/2009 10:33:30 AM PST by Jim Robinson
The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is making legal game plans to combat the mislabeled "Fairness Doctrine" should it be revived.
For years, the Fairness Doctrine -- which was introduced in the U.S. in 1949 and then abolished by the FCC in 1987 -- forced radio and television stations to offer differing views on various subjects, which basically squelched the talk formats. ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow claims that basically amounted to censorship.
"I use the example that we didn't go on the air until 1988 -- after the Fairness Doctrine was removed," says Sekulow. "So the reality is that without getting some type of fair play in there keeping it as it is, which is basically open airwaves, it's censorship. You could call it a lot of things, but it's really censorship -- and it's mandatory government speech, and that's always dangerous."
And it is definitely politically driven, argues the legal group. In a press release, ACLJ describes the recent effort to revive what it calls an "antiquated FCC rule" as "nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by some liberal members of Congress to silence the conservatives who oppose them."
Sekulow says proponents of the doctrine do not seem to understand that conservative talk-radio is market-driven -- that is, people listen to it because they prefer it. In contrast, the attorney points out that Air America, a liberal network set up to offer an alternative to conservative talk-radio, has failed miserably.
(Excerpt) Read more at onenewsnow.com ...
God bless them as they take this stand!! They have the weight of the evil lefty world against them—but so did David when he faced Goliath!
I listened to Jay's show this morning while applying spackle (sp?) to my face. The subject matter got me upset and didn't help with smoothing out those wrinkles. sigh.
I have not donated anything to ACLJ for a while. This might just be an issue worthy of hard earned money!
Hah. I read that and my mind translated it to ACLU and I thought, wow - talk about strange bedfellows...
BWAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha! ! ! ! ! !
The source of the support for the “Fairness Doctrine” comes from political sources. It is not coming from a groundswell of the common man. Therefore, we can conclude that the doctrine is politically motivated. We know this is true, but ask anyone stuck on stupid to see if they can name the source of support.
Ive never even heard of the ACLJ, I’m guessing they didn’t get any stimulus money...
Thanks. And thanks for having the character to not relinquish passwords any easier than you'd release the . . . steel in your hands with a round pointy end!
Radio, cable, the internet......all are being discussed as needing “fairness” correction measures by the left. Seems they want to control the information flow. Good way to minimize any organized movements by the right.
Just heard on Fix News that Obama said he will BLOCK ant effort to bring back the FD. We’ll see...
He will not block local content rules, which will do the same thing.
You’d have that exactly right!
How so? All that is needed is for an organization like ACLJ to sue a city or state that would try and impose local content, and take it all the way to the Supreme Court. And the sooner, the better. Seats will be a opening on SCOTUS soon and then we are doomed.
Cable, too? Evenness on MSNBC and CNN? Sure — I’ll believe that when I see it.
Michael Savage has retained the Thomas More Society legal team to launch a series of lawsuits against the censorship doctrine, too.
Thanks for the ping. As it happens, I just posted an article on it.
Great!! Now where is the action also on the Census and socialized medical care?
LOL! What deceitful hypocrites. If they want to "level the playing field," they should begin with the MSM, Hollywood, public schools, and colleges and universities. Fire half the staff, and replace them with conservatives. Produce half of all released movies and TV programs from a conservative perspective and still it wouldn't be quite a level playing field.
I agree with Rush's take on this - namely, that an attempt to revive the "fairness" doctrine is in fact coming at us - not only at talk radio but probably also at the internet - but that it will be called something other than the "fairness doctrine." That has already been run into the ground, and another euphemism for censorship will be employed - something along the lines of "community standards." My take on it is that we have no hope of winning in the court of public opinion if that is defined as whatever the MSM says it is. But we do have hope in SCOTUS as presently constituted, because it was O'Connor rather than Kennedy who provided the fifth vote in McConnell v. FEC to uphold McCain-Feingold, which essentially upholds the idea that "the press" "is" "objective."
My approach would be, ironically, to avoid reference to the First Amendment but rather to argue that the Bill of Rights was understood by the framers of the Constitution to be included within the Constitution itself. And I would argue that there is under the Constitution no such thing as a "fourth estate," since under Section 9 of Article 1"No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States,"and the strata of
- first estate, Lords Spiritual - the clergy in France and the heads of the church in Britain
- Lords Temporal, second estate - the nobility in France and the peerage in Britain
third estate, Commons - the common people
- fourth estate - the press, including journalists, newspaper writers, photographers
have no application here. Here, there is only "the governments" (of various jurisdictions, including the federal one) and "the people." I held back from discussing the First Amendment because the term "the press" has been distorted by those who claim that they have special rights not contemplated in the Constitution. "The freedom of . . . the press" is not a right only of those who own presses now, it is the right of the people to spend their own money to buy presses at their own pleasure. Indeed, those of us who own computers and printers, or photocopiers, may be said to own presses. So the claim that only journalists are "the press" is fatuous. Indeed, the newspapers of the founding era were distinctly different from those with which we are familiar - to such an extent that those who today style themselves as "the press" would not recognize any of the printers of the newspapers of the founding era as being members of their "press." Because implicit acceptance of the objectivity of all other journalists was not a staple of the Eighteenth Century newspaper. That is an artifact of the telegraph and the Associated Press (founded 1848), which probably no framer of the Constitution or Bill of Rights survived to see.
The claim that the framers of the Constitution did not foresee technologies such as the radio and the internet can be countered by reference to Article 1 Section 8 which explicitly provides that Congress has the authorityTo promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoverieswhich certainly authorizes the reader of the Constitution to assert that in fact the framers did foresee and promote progress in technology "useful" for publicizing information and opinions. The fear of the Federalists who opposed the inclusion of a bill of rights in the Constitution was that it would not cover every right which was (they held) implied by the body of the Constitution - and that opponents of liberty would use the Bill of Rights not as a floor but a ceiling on the rights of the people. And when people suggest that liberty does not apply to the use of technologies not mentioned in the First Amendment that is precisely what they are doing. Hence, my point that an appeal to the First Amendment may ironically not be the best way to vindicate the right of the people to promote our opinions by use of post-Eighteenth Century technologies, to the limits of our own purses and predilections. And the collateral right of the people to attend to, or at their own pleasure to ignore, any such efforts.
And from my POV the problem we should be addressing is precisely how to get that issue before SCOTUS, and precisely what remedy we can seek in such action. It is not clear to me that waiting for some "fairness doctrine" assault to fully form is prudent. It seems to me that there should be torts to be found in any and all operations (and in some inactions) of the Federal Election Commission, for example. Because campaign finance regulation is censorship.
Thanks for the ping/post; thread. Thanks to every poster. BTTT!
It occurs to me that when people claim that "the press" of the First Amendment does not include technologies such as the radio and the internet which didn't exist in the founding era, they lay themselves open to the question of whether or not the telegraph falls under the First Amendment. Obviously they have to have the telegraph, because without it the Associated Press doesn't exist - and newspapers are isolated from each other by geography, and probably become subject to sanctions under the Sherman Antitrust Act over the way they are in cahoots with each other.
But when they defend the telegraph, they moot any attack on the radio and the internet as not being literal "speech" or literal "press."
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“I listened to Jay’s show this morning “
I listen to the show, too, almost each day.
Anyone interested can even listen to replays of the show on aclj.org.
Jay Sekulow was on Hannity’s show on Tuesday.
Thank God for Jay Sekulow....what a conservative warrior in the legal realm.
Joseph R. McCarthy
“McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled....”
You can bank on it.