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February 19, 2009

MRC's Free Speech Alliance Calls on Pres. Obama to Oppose All Forms of Government Censorship on the Radio
The President’s stated opposition to the Censorship Doctrine is not enough

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Alexandria, VA – The Media Research Center’s Free Speech Alliance (FSA) today called President Barack Obama’s stated opposition to a reinstatement of the Censorship Doctrine, also mis-known as the “Fairness” Doctrine, just a first step towards ensuring that talk radio remain free from government censorship.  The FSA calls on the President to publicly declare his opposition to all forms of regulatory assault on talk radio.

Conservative and Christian talk radio face the real threat of government censorship on several fronts.  Besides the so-called “Fairness” Doctrine, the nebulous FCC “diversity” in ownership and “localism” requirements may also be used to deny stations their broadcast licenses. 

Liberal organizations and individuals like MoveOn.org, ACORN, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) and others have expressed their intention to silence talk radio by these alternative regulatory means so as to avoid the outcry from millions of Americans should they try to reinstate the mis-named “Fairness” Doctrine.

MRC President L. Brent Bozell: 

“We are glad that President Obama says that he ‘does not believe the (so-called) Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated.’  But he should state his opposition to the use of any FCC regulation with the intent of censoring talk radio.  He should also guarantee a veto of any bill that will silence free speech on the airwaves. 

“The President should also insist that his nominee for FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, publicly pledge right away – before his confirmation hearing -- that he too vows not to use the regulatory powers of the FCC to silence talk radio.  We need to know definitively that the man who will head up Obama’s FCC will in every way possible preserve free speech on the airwaves.

“Only then will the American public – conservatives and liberals alike -- who oppose government censorship know President Obama is serious about protecting free speech on the radio.”    

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist:

“While I’m pleased to hear the President say he opposes revival of the ironically named “fairness doctrine,” I’d like to hear him come out with full-throated support for freedom of speech. Government censorship has many forms, and while President Obama now opposes this form, where does he stand on the more ominous issue of censorship by proxy under the friendly sounding ‘localism’ banner?  

“Call me a skeptic, but while what a politician says worries me, what they explicitly don’t say worries me even more.  If liberals want an equal voice on talk radio they simply need to produce a product the public wants to hear.  It’s the public rejection of the products they’ve offered thus far that has made liberal talk radio a failure, not some ‘vast right-wing conspiracy.’ Bullying through the power government to force their shows on the air won’t grow them an audience.  This isn’t Field of Dreams, just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come, you have to provide a good product. That’s where liberal talk radio fails, not in some mythical ‘smoke filled room’ somewhere.”

The Free Speech Alliance (www.FreeSpeechAlliance.us) is made up of fifty-nine (59) organizations representing millions of Americans dedicated to defending free speech against a return of the Censorship Doctrine or any other assault on the First Amendment and talk radio.

To schedule an interview with MRC President Brent Bozell or another MRC spokesperson, please contact Tim Scheiderer (x. 126) or Colleen O’Boyle (x. 122) at (703) 683-5004.


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