by John Galt
January 10, 2013 23:00 ET
There are those who scoff at the idea of another “Fairness Doctrine” and the implications of such an action upon our society. Unfortunately those that belittle the discussion of such a possibility display a blatant ignorance of the powers we the people are facing at this moment in history and ignorant of megalomaniacs of the past. Neal Boortz is retiring at precisely the right moment because the silence which is about to be imposed on the opposition not to the Obama regime, but government actions in general, will shock those who still believe that we live in a Constitutional Republic.
On January 27, 1948 H.R. 3342, the “United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948,” was passed and became the law of the land but why is the establishment of what seems to be a Cold War relic now so important in 2013? Consider the idea pushed forward in an amendment to this act, the Zorinsky Amendment, which stated the following:
“Except as provided in section 1461 of this title and this section, no funds authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States, and no program material prepared by the United States Information Agency shall be distributed within the United States. This section shall not apply to programs carried out pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2451 et seq. ). The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the United States Information Agency from responding to inquiries from members of the public about its operations, policies, or program.”
Senator Zorinsky stated:
“By law, the USIA cannot engage in domestic propaganda. This distinguishes us, as a free society, from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”
Unfortunately for America and those who believe that our nation is immune from reverting into a totalitarian dictatorship, one of the key aspects of the original 1948 legislation, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act then, has now been swept aside by both political parties as a rider on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2013. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) issued a gleeful and innocent sounding press release on January 3rd which stated in part:
The defense authorization bill that the President signed last night includes a provision that reduces restrictions on the dissemination of materials within the United States that were originally intended for audiences overseas. This means that news and information programs produced by BBG journalists for people in more than 100 countries can also be made available for broadcast within the United States; many already are available worldwide via the Internet. The provision was originally known as the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act when it was first introduced in Congress in 2010 and re-introduced last year.
For over two centuries, the American people have been able to have some degree of independent media away from a Federal government propaganda arm. For the first time in our history outside of periods of major declared war, the United States government now has the ability to enter into the fray or competition of the domestic broadcasting industry. If I were a member of the conservative talk radio or religious broadcasting community, I would be extremely concerned.
The theory was that by allowing the free markets to dictate content within the constraints of the Federal Communications Commission regulatory regimen, there would be an informative and diverse broadcasting system within our nation. As talk radio was unshackled in the 1980’s with the Reagan administration removing the Fairness Doctrine obstruction, A.M. radio exploded with nationally and regionally syndicated programs dominating the airwaves as well as great local talent finally able to debate the issues from a non-mainstream monopoly media perspective.
Initially the competition was dismissed as irrelevant and far from meaningful until the Rush Limbaugh Show, Coast to Coast A.M., and others emerged to reveal a true alternative to the mainstream, which in fact became even more ignored and irrelevant with the advent and expansion of the internet. The initial dismissal of the early 1990’s however turned into a raging anger by 2009 with more interest and calls for renewal of the Fairness Doctrine and restrictions imposed on radio stations which broadcast nothing by syndicated “right-wing extremist” talking heads. Fast forward to this era, this President, and the propagation of the ideas that all of our nation’s problems are being caused by this fringe group advocating a return to the 1870’s. Thus the challenge of how this government under this leadership plans to silence the opposition on the airwaves and byte by byte via the internet.
The solution according to Amerika’s new leftist intelligentsia is to turn the free market upon itself until it is so dysfunctional, only the government can save it. This was the theory behind the takeover of the mortgage industry, student loan financing system, General Motors and Chrysler, healthcare and soon, independent or non-compliant broadcasting. The Voice of America, the foreign broadcasting arm of the BBG, has been reducing broadcasting hours and facilities on shortwave by the thousands over the past decade. The results are staggering as China and Russia leaped ahead of information dissemination to Third World nations. It has in fact become so drastic at the BBG that VoA programming has ceased in Arabic to the Middle East and Cantonese, a primary Chinese dialect, to China itself (see The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2011, “The VOA is Losing its Voice”). This loss of our overseas voice seems to be irrelevant to the Obama administration as the ability to broadcast domestically now seems to have opened up a new avenue of propaganda to balance “external sources” but in reality appears to be an opportunity to counteract the perceived threat of right-wing extremist radio.
To turn the market against itself, the government simply has to reinforce the declaration that radio licenses are issued by the government for the privilege to serve their local communities. Hence in the interest of broadening the scope of information received via any station which broadcasts over twelve hours per day of non-local or nationally syndicated programs, the law could easily be changed to carry Voice of America domestic programming at key times; those times of course designed to crowd out the syndicated shows. The Executive Order could be as simple as ordering one hour of government produced programming to be carried by all news/talk format stations at 3 a.m.,6 a.m., 9 a.m., Noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and Midnight. That would force the local programmers and mega-networks like Clear Channel or Cumulus Broadcasting to make hard decisions about the viability of maintaining the talk format because it would crowd out valuable advertisers from key high dollar segments causing a loss of revenue. Imagine just how fast the conglomerates would dismantle their operations should such an order occur.
Yet this regime would not stop at just terrestrial broadcasts via A.M. and F.M. radio; the big prize would be to impose a series of regulations for blogging and broadcasting via the internet, thus destroying the new frontier of freedom before it could have a material impact on either political party. There are many of the conservative philosophy who think that there is no way the government would dare impose editorial controls on internet news sources. The problem is that there has already been an attempt to do so upon the blogging community when Federal Judge Marco Hernandez stated in a ruling that:
“Based on the evidence presented at the time of trial, I conclude that plaintiffs are not public figures, defendant is not ‘media’ and the statements at issue were not made on an issue of public concern,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “Thus, there are not First Amendment implications.”
Also from the same December 8, 2011 Reuters story (see Judge in Defamation Case rules blogger is no Journalist) where the quote above originated:
Hernandez, a federal judge for the District of Oregon, found Cox failed to present evidence that she had any media credentials or affiliation with a “recognized news entity,” or that she had checked her facts or tried to contact the other side to “get both sides of the story.”
The concept of this judge’s ruling basically means that Thomas Paine would essentially be a felon and that unless one attends a government sanctioned college and somehow received the approval of the liberal elites in control. Judge Hernandez’s ruling does open Pandora’s Box through for a flood of lawsuits not just from companies against individuals to bankrupt them and silence them, as has occurred during the recent financial crisis, but for government officials to use this logic to seize websites as they have with copyright violators under the pretense that it is illegal to “scream fire in a crowded movie theater.” Thus with the alleged misinformation along with the actual nonsense published on the internet, sometimes causing actual physical harm, watch for the Federal Government to mandate the creation of a “Journalism” license not just to protect the “integrity” of the 1st Amendment but to prevent the false dissemination of information which is not approved of by the government or presented in a professional journalistic manner. This will essentially give the lifeline to the colleges providing the worthless journalism courses to the children of the sheeple and an outlet to crate more bureaucracy to ensure that the only opinions presented are vetted by various review boards before publication. Another, not unforeseen benefit would be to provide a Federally funded rescue program to guarantee journalistic integrity and to preserve the ideals of the 1st Amendment by bailing out some of this nation’s failing newspapers.
Websites, hosting companies, and message boards would immediately begin removing themselves from public viewing and become private closed entities not inviting any outsiders to join to prevent new problems with the FCC regulatory agencies and internet radio would cease as a practical method of broadcasting because the restrictions and liabilities would outstrip any profit potential. The technology now exists to automate most of the oversight with plenty of civilian party “volunteers” on the prowl to report violations. The evolution of these new ideas should begin early this year, especially after the upcoming bitter debate on firearms regulations and the next financial crisis about to emerge upon the scene.
The saddest aspect of the analysis above is that Russia and China might indeed become the only viable sources of independent news without U.S. Government bias interjected into the story. The weirdest aspect is that the archaic and old reliable medium of shortwave and amateur radio broadcasting from overseas might be the only factual information many Americans will receive for many years to come.
Part 5 will be published on Sunday.