1927, 1978, censorship, chancellor sutler, fairness doctrine, FCC, first amendment, Founding Fathers, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, internet, keith olbermann, media responsibility act, property rights, radio, radio act, statism, supreme court, television, v for vendetta
In a society instituted on freedom, the most important concept of freedom to uphold is that of individual ownership of person and property, without which there is no freedom. Freedom of speech and of the press, logical outgrowths of the ownership of person and property, are expressly protected from government inhibition by the First Amendment.
Unfortunately, since the Radio Act of 1927 the federal government has been violating the First Amendment, in which the government seized control of radio frequencies and began “licensing” them at its convenience. In 1978 the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could infringe on the right of free press in regard to content regulation.
So are the radio and television media not a form of the press? Are radio, and now more prominently television, not the primary information outlets of the 21st century? When did it become ok for the government to change its contract (the Constitution) with the American people for the sake of propriety or the public’s “best interest”? Who gave them that authority?
It wasn’t the American people. We most certainly wouldn’t have given the government that right. No, the Federal Government’s Supreme Court confiscated that right by judicial fiat. And yet, distracted by the craziness of every day life, the latest movie, American Idol winner and hit song we have allowed ourselves to become so indoctrinated to the idea that the government has our best interests at heart that we, without much thought or revolt, have allowed our primary sources of information to be controlled by the thing we were supposed to be protected from by the Constitution: Government.
The Founding Fathers believed that a free press was essential to democracy. They had learned, thru experience, that when the primary information outlets are controlled by the government only the messages conducive to eliciting submission to that government are allowed. The result thereof was the propagation of the “party line”. You can see that we’re bloated with the party line by looking at our current political climate. Anyone advocating something other than the status quo is labeled a “radical”, a “freak” or worse.
Attempting to diminish opposing viewpoints is the opposite of liberty and democracy, it is the ideology of statism, that we live to support the state. Implied in statism is that we are owned, at least partially, by and find our true purpose thru the State.
Many on the “right” believe that censorship is necessary to elicit propriety in the public’s “best interest”. However, in a free society in which there are a plethora of options, the free will of individuals to determine what is and is not appropriate to listen to or watch should not be infringed upon.
Those on the “left” believe that censorship is necessary to elicit “fairness” and equality. You may have heard of the Fairness Doctrine or the more recent nomenclature, the Media Responsibility Act. In a nutshell, they would like to control all content on radio, television and the Internet so that they can ensure a modicum of “fairness” in the political discourse of both sides.
Who then is the arbiter of “fairness”? The Government. A person or body of unelected bureaucrats with the power to censor your internet content, your favorite TV shows and radio programs. Can you imagine how much larger the FCC (as if it weren’t big and powerful enough already) would need to be to handle all of that? How much more tax revenue will be required to fund the expansion? How much corruption would be ready and waiting to determine what is “acceptable” on both sides (as if there were only two)?
Fact is that we haven’t had a truly free press since 1927 and yet the American people don’t seem to care or even be aware. Although, how would we know… we’re all watching the same channels. I wonder how many channels would broadcast Keith Olbermann once the Fairness Doctrine is back in play. It would be reminiscent perhaps of Chancellor Sutler’s television broadcasts in “V for Vendetta”. Food for thought…