Appearing this morning on the radio show of Bill Press, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow indicated a willingness to enforce some sort of content standard on talk radio and signalled she’d been speaking to people in Washington on holding hearings. Here’s part of the exchange:
BILL PRESS: Yeah, I mean, look: They have a right to say that. They’ve got a right to express that. But, they should not be the only voices heard. So, is it time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine?
SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else — I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.
BILL PRESS: Can we count on you to push for some hearings in the United States Senate this year, to bring these owners in and hold them accountable?
SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that’s gonna happen. Yep.
As the article mentions, it’s also a tad convenient that Sen. Stabenow happens to be married to Tom Athans, a liberal talk radio executive. No coincidence, there, I’m sure.
This pro-gagging noise is fundamentally against the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech. Apologists pooh-pooh that it would potentially only be limited to public airwaves, and satellite and Internet broadcasts wouldn’t be affected but that limitation is precisely the point. The intent is to aim the content standard at the most powerful voice for conservative thought – talk radio. That sentiment isn’t one of fairness, but one of a political agenda of power, and incidentally one that intellectually honest free-speech liberals oppose. Maybe nothing will come of this, but there seems to be increased chatter indicating talk radio may be dealt with one way or another. If the majority party is foolish enough to take on this issue, they will pay dearly for it.