In Sweden offensive speech is punished by the state as hets mot folkgrupp. In Britain bloggers can be arrested for “racist” writings on their blogs. A publisher in France was put on trial for printing a cartoon of Mohammed. In the Netherlands, Gregorius Nekschot was summoned by the police for drawing offensive cartoons.
America is heading for a crackdown on free speech, but it won’t be like these examples from Europe. We have the First Amendment, after all, and the anointed officials of our government have to at least pretend that they respect it and are abiding by it.
No, the United States will choose a much nicer way to crack down on the expression of improper opinions in public: it will be done in the name of “fairness”.
According to the Business and Media Institute:
FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content
McDowell warns reinstated powers could play in net neutrality debate, lead to government requiring balance on Web sites.
There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices — expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks.
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The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.
“I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,” McDowell said. “I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”
“Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that — it’ll be called something else,” McDowell said. “So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”
So Gates of Vienna will have to give equal time to someone else. Hmm…
Who could adequately represent the opposing point of view here? Tariq Ramadan?
Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam? Mullah Krekar? Cindy Sheehan?
I’ll have to ponder that one for awhile.
By the way — the fairness doctrine, under whatever fancy newspeak term it’s labeled with this time, will destroy talk radio the same way Title IX destroyed men’s college sports: by pulling one side down to the level of disinterest shown the other side.
No one wants to listen to liberal talk radio. That’s why Air America went belly-up. Liberals already own the three major networks, CNN, MSNBC, all the major newspapers, and countless local papers and media outlets. That’s why conservative listeners flock to talk radio: it’s the one area of public discourse not already controlled by the PC Multi-Culti liberal consensus.
So everything will be fair again. 90% of conservative talk radio will disappear.
But if you think that also means that Robert Spencer will be appearing regularly on ABC network news, I’ve got a sweet little parcel of Florida swampland that I’ll let you have at a discount…
Hat tip: TB, who reads everything.