Obama Appoints Radical Media Activist To Oversee FCC, Talk Radio Shutdown
Obama's 'Fairness Doctrine' Czar Chosen, AAR Expects Benefit
*** OBAMA MARKET PANIC: DAY TWO, 1000 POINT LOSS OVERALL ***
Ahead of a widely-expected crackdown on free speech and political dissent by the incoming Obama administration, our Dear Leader has appointed a new FCC transition czar to oversee the process.
Henry Rivera, a longtime radical leftist, lawyer and former FCC commissioner, is expected to lead the push to dismantle commercial talk radio that is favored by a number of Democratic Party senators. Rivera will play a pivotal role in preventing critics from having a public voice during Obama's tenure in office.
Rivera, who resigned from the FCC nearly a quarter-century ago during the Reagan years, believes in a doctrine of "communications policy as a civil rights issue".
His exit during the Reagan Administration paved the way for the Fairness Doctrine's repeal when the late president appointed Patricia Diaz Dennis in 1986 to fill out the rest of Rivera's term. Had this not occurred, talk radio as we know it today would not exist.
That gives Rivera's new task a great deal of personal urgency: it's a late-career, second chance opportunity to shut down opposition voices that have been allowed to flourish since his depature from the commission.
In particular, Rivera is known for his push for more minority broadcasting ownership, but this issue has largely been rendered obsolete as former commercial broadcasting empires teeter on the brink of bankruptcy.
Rivera's first opportunity to eliminate commercial talk radio will occur in June 2009, as the term of Republican Robert McDowell expires and he can be replaced with a pro-Fairness Doctrine Democrat. That will give the commission a three-vote Democratic majority, though the final two seats must remain in Republican hands.
If they can strong-arm one of the three Republicans into leaving early, this can be implemented even sooner.
One issue facing Rivera and Obama's new commissioner is how the policy will be carried out. According to data from the 1970s, when the old doctrine regulated the content of speech on the radio, the FCC was forced to utilize a great deal of its resources sifting through tens of thousands of "unfairness" complaints. The FCC's staff might have to be increased substantially to accommodate listeners looking to censor radio programming in their area.
Meanwhile, Air America Radio apparently believes liberal talk radio will benefit from the Fairness Doctrine's implementation! In an interview with a broadcast trade publication, Air America CEO Bennett Zier seems to believe that conservative stations would be forced to carry libtalk programming in order to comply with the law (but wouldn't libtalk stations also be required to run conservatives?):
RADIO INK: What do you think of all the speculation about the return of the Fairness Doctrine? Would that be a big problem for Air America?
BENNETT ZIER: If there’s a Fairness Doctrine, one would say that would be a good thing for left-of-center talk. But I think if Air America puts forth relevant, entertaining, provocative content, it’ll be a balance. People will be interested in what we want to do. We believe that we need to control our own destiny, and we’re going to do that by giving the listeners, the viewers, and the readers what they want in a lot of different technologies.
But this is delusional, as Air America's wildly unpopular talk programming will merely speed the demise of commercial radio if forced upon the industry's most-successful stations, which happen to be conservative talkers.
That could move the rest of the medium to the Internet and satellite radio, where Air America is already heard. The result would be a wipeout of a number of liberal radio executives who supported Obama.
Successful attempts by Democrats to suppress free speech will probably be cloaked, using different terminology and phony justifications. Don't be fooled: the only reason for this crusade is to wipe out every trace of political dissent.
UPDATE: Rivera was subsequently moved out of this official role due to an undisclosed conflict of interest. We'll be watching to see if he in fact takes an FCC-related position down the road.
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