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USA's Mainstream Media = Liberal; - examples, articles, etc
Topic Started: Aug 1 2005, 02:22 AM (3,087 Views)
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Rock Star From Mars

Hopefully, the over-coverage of the Rove/ Plame story has died down; I'm not sure, as I haven't been watching much news lately.

This is just one example of the liberal bias at work in the main stream media.

Media Now Roast Rove, But Wouldn’t Fry Bacon
  • Networks Pile On With 58 Rove Stories in 10 Days, But Helped Bury Pentagon’s Abuse of Tripp in 1998

    ABC, CBS and NBC are maintaining their relentless coverage of the CIA leak investigation, which ramped into high gear back on Sunday, July 10.

    Then, Newsweek published an e-mail showing that Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper talked to Karl Rove about the fact that Bush critic Joseph Wilson — who in 2002 went to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq was seeking enriched uranium from Africa — received that assignment from the CIA at least partly because his wife worked there.

    Now the “outing” of Valerie Plame has been the main political story on the three network morning and evening news for nearly two weeks, as reporters find new ways to keep hyping the case.

    .... MRC interns Kyle Drennen and Patrick Skeehan reviewed the three network morning and evening news shows from July 10 through July 19. They found that the networks ran 58 stories on the Rove-Plame-Wilson flap in just those 10 days, even though there’s been no indication from the special prosecutor that Rove is even the target of the investigation, which began in the fall of 2003.

    Even though the morning shows often eschew esoteric political stories, there have actually been 32 morning show segments devoted to Rove, compared with 26 on the evening newscasts.

    Flash back seven years ago to the Lewinsky scandal, when the New Yorker ran an article attempting to discredit Linda Tripp by announcing that she had been arrested for shoplifting as a teenager, but hadn’t noted the arrest when she applied for a Pentagon security clearance (because the judge had expunged the arrest from her official record).

    Bill Clinton’s Pentagon spokesman, Kenneth Bacon, eventually confessed to leaking Tripp’s confidential personnel file to the New Yorker’s Clinton-friendly reporter Jane Mayer, but his “apology” could be described as less than contrite: “I'm sorry that I did not check with our lawyers or check with Linda Tripp's lawyers about this,” he said at a May 21, 1998 briefing.

    But when the victim was an anti-Clinton whistleblower, the networks didn’t seem to care that a high-ranking government official had used an illegal leak (violating the Privacy Act) to a reporter in an effort to discredit a critic.

    From March 1998 to November 2003 (when Tripp was awarded $595,000 from the Defense Department), the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows ran just 13 stories on Clinton’s “Leakgate” over five-and-a-half years. Much of the coverage was downright hostile to Tripp, not those who violated her privacy. (See box.)

    The media’s outrage over the supposed campaign to discredit Joe Wilson would seem a lot less contrived if they had shown the slightest bit of sympathy when Team Clinton used illegal leaks to malign Linda Tripp. - by R. Noyes
    *****
    Also see this article from the October 5, 1998 MediaWatch:
    "Media Ignore Top Pentagon Spokesman's File Leak"
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Rock Star From Mars

In my previous post I said,
  • Hopefully, the over-coverage of the Rove/ Plame story has died down; I'm not sure, as I haven't been watching much news lately.
I guess I spoke too soon :laugh:

A check of google's news page a few moments ago turned up these entries (at least four of these are definitely liberal sources, CBS, New York Times, Washington Post, and The Guardian):
  • Bush Rove has 'my compete confidence' despite leak
    Washington Post - 4 hours ago
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Monday declared "complete confidence" in his top political adviser, Karl Rove, despite his alleged role in leaking a covert CIA operative's identity, according to an interview. ...
    Bush expresses `complete confidence' in embattled aide Rove Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
    Novak Defends Naming CIA Officer CBS News
    New York Times - ZNet - Guardian Unlimited - News & Observer - all 221 related »
All 221 related? When the liberals find something to pelt the Bush administration with, they really run with it. 221 sources on a non-story like this? Some of those sources may be conservative or moderate, but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority are leftist.
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Rock Star From Mars

Related threads:
BBC: We Admit We're Liberals & Biased

The Press At War With America
The main stream media in America (network news, many newspapers) are skewed towards liberal philosophy and beliefs; most journalists who work at such places are Democrats.

It is no wonder that talk radio took off the way it did, because that is one of the few venues in which conservatives could get their views out. Liberals seem to hate and despise talk radio precisely because conservatism thrives in that medium.

With liberal Al Franken and "Air America," some of them changed their strategy to "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," so now we have a liberal- based talk radio station.

Aside from the August 11 post I did in the other thread (and posts I did after August 11 in that thread) about the mainstream media being liberal, all the other posts in that thread were written before I read a copy of Rush Limbaugh's book See, I Told You So, (Pocket Books, 1993).

Here are a few excerpts from that book, mostly regarding "The Fairness in Doctrine Act," on the chance of it being re-enacted.

These excerpts also discuss how and why 'The Fairness in Doctrine Act' was made in the first place, how it's been abused (mostly by Democrats / left wingers) to silence political opposition (conservatives) in the media:
  • ... [M]any Americans simply do not realize this - these bedrock rights and freedoms [of speech / press] do not necessarily apply to broadcasting. The United States has freedom of the press . . . until we get to the electronic press. The American Revolution has not yet spread to the nation's air waves. Radio and television broadcasters must be licensed by the federal government - and there lies a slippery slope. (324)

    [The Fairness Doctrine] .... has indeed been risky . . . to freedom of speech. Bill Ruder, assistant secretary of commerce during the Kennedy administration, admitted: "Our strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing [conservative / Republican] broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." .... (328)

    The Fairness Doctrine was formally initiated in 1949 by an FCC ruling on radio, and it soon applied to television stations as well. The FCC later summarized the policy:

    -----[begin Quote]-----
    The Fairness Doctrine, as developed by the commission, imposes upon broadcasters a two-pronged obligation. Broadcast licensees are required to provide coverage of vitally important controversial issues of interest in the community served by the licensee and to provide a reasonable opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints on such issues.
    -----[end Quote]-----

    My friends, no one has any idea what this means. Who decides what issues are "vitally important"? Who decides what is "controversial"? How many "contrasting viewpoints" are required? In 1979 the FCC itself admitted that it had never even defined what "the community served by the licensee" referred to. Was it a neighborhood? A city? A region? .... (329)

    The Incredible Case of Red Lion V. FCC

    [On radio station WGCB, owned by Red Lion, in 1969, conservative preacher] Hargis criticized Fred Cook, who had written Goldwater: Extremist on the Right. Hargis, a Goldwater supporter, called Cook a 'professional mudslinger' ...

    Fred Cook wrote to the station demanding the right to reply. WGCB responded with a rate card, offering Cook airtime at its usual price. Cook held out for equal free time, and the case went to the FCC. When the commission sided with Cook, Red Lion challenged the decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

    .... Unbeknownst to the Supreme Court, the whole case [Red Lion broadcasting/ WGCB vs. the FCC] was a setup.

    It was later revealed that Fred Cook had not even heard the WGCB broadcast.

    After discovering that the Fairness Doctrine could be used against its political opponents, the Democratic Party had created a front group called the National Council for Civic Responsibility to monitor conservative radio. The letter Fred Cook had signed demanding equal time was crafted by Democratic National Committee (DNC) lawyers! (330, 331)

    No "chilling effect" on free speech posed by the Fairness Doctrine [as some have claimed]? The Democratic Party was spending thousands of its own dollars - behind the scenes - in a brazen attempt to silence its political opposition. (331)

    As Wayne Philips, who headed up the DNC campaign against the right-wing broadcasters, later said: "Even more important than the free radio time was the effectiveness of this operation in inhibiting the political activity of these right-wing broadcasts..."

    Philip's assistant, former FCC attorney Martin E. Firestone, concluded: "The right-wingers operate on a strictly cash basis, and it is for this reason that they are carried by so many small stations. Were our efforts to be continued on a year-round basis, we would find that many of these stations would consider the broadcast of these programs bothersome and burdensome (especially if they are ultimately required to give us free time) and would start dropping the programs from their broadcast schedule."

    The Supreme Court opinion in the Red Lion case unknowingly aided the Democratic National Committee in its blatant attempt to crush critics.
The timing is to me very interesting. It looks like the far left started clamoring strongly for the act to be put into place again after Limbaugh's show had become so successful (and after him, other conservatives got talk radio shows as well).

More info:

Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. Et. Al. V. Federal Communications Commission Et. Al.

Why The Fairness Doctrine Is Anything But Fair -from a conservative site; dated 1993
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Rock Star From Mars

Puffing Moms and Grannies For 'Peace':
  • [August 2005]

    One of the most profoundly annoying conceits of liberalism is the idea that dissent is the solitary province of the Left, and when liberals do it, they should be glorified for doing it, no matter how outrageous the protest.

    President Bush is spending some vacation time in Crawford, Texas, so the media, predictably, are once again glorifying his left-wing protesters with lavish coverage of their antics, while dutifully refusing to identify them in any way as left wing. Call it covering and covering up.

    Time and Newsweek both ran pictures of a tiny group holding MoveOn.org signs protesting the John Roberts nomination outside the White House. Neither magazine identified the group as liberals, nor even mentioned MoveOn; you had to squint at the photos to make out the group's name on the protest signs.

    Now, angry, Bush-hating Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and co-founder of "Gold Star Families for Peace" -- last glorified by ABC in January for protesting President Bush's "lavish" second inauguration -- is being celebrated again as she sits outside Bush's Texas ranch.

    On their Saturday evening newscasts on Aug. 6, ABC and CBS touted the Sheehan protest with just "a few dozen people," allowing her to say Bush is enjoying his vacation while "I'm never going to be able to enjoy another vacation because he killed my son."

    Bush killed him, she says. Not Saddam-loving terrorists. Bush.

    No one in the media finds this rhetoric overheated. But just how overheated is Cindy Sheehan? In the world of politics, this woman deserves a padded cell. On her website, Sheehan wildly proclaims that "overwhelming" evidence proves the president is a traitor: "George [Bush] and his indecent bandits traitorously had intelligence fabricated to fit their goal of invading Iraq."

    On Monday morning, the Sheehan publicity continued, but still no one reported how radical she is. CNN's graphic throughout their story on "American Morning" read "Peace Mom."

    In a "Good Morning America" devoted almost entirely to mourning the death of Peter Jennings, ABC made room for the "angry and determined mother" on her "peace vigil." NBC's "Today" began their show by promoting "a mother's vigil" in the first seconds of the program.

    Can you imagine the networks ruining the Clinton vacation on Martha's Vineyard by making a big story out of a conservative protester there?

    I can't, because they didn't. In 1998, a few weeks after Clinton admitted sex with Monica Lewinsky, he went to his first partisan pep rally in Worcester, Mass.

    ABC and CBS did full stories, and the streets outside the hall were filled with protesters demanding Clinton resign, but ABC and CBS failed to interview them. Only Fox News brought up how a local Democratic city council member, Konstantina Lukes, refused to attend.

    Cut back to the present. Cindy Sheehan wasn't the only "peace" protester glorified by "Today." Late in the Monday program, they aired another seven minutes of pure propaganda on the "Raging Grannies" of Tucson, Ariz., who muster a whopping 15 to 20 protesters outside a military recruitment center every Wednesday.

    What is it with these left-wing grannies, anyway? It was almost exactly like five years ago, when the publicity frenzy was for Doris "Granny D" Haddock, agitating for the liberal cause of "campaign finance reform." ABC's Charles Gibson congratulated her for her "very worthy work." NBC's Matt Lauer ("I love Granny D!") and Katie Couric ("She's great!") took turns cheerleading.

    For the Tucson grannies, anchor Natalie Morales could only find cuteness and "commitment," not mudslinging and hard-core ideology: "Beware, there is a group of grannies serving up much more than milk and cookies. NBC's Peter Alexander caught up with them, proving commitment has no age limit."

    After a syrupy story in which Alexander hailed them as "compassionate," but never described them as harsh or ultraliberal, even as they screeched against the "illegal, immoral war" and yelled, "No blood for oil," Morales interviewed four of the Tucson activists, dressed in stereotypical "granny" garb and praised them for their "witty lyrics" and their status as role models.

    NBC never explained the "Raging Grannies" are a project of the local chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a 90-year-old "peace" group that despises any military spending and opposed even the Cold War.

    The grannies are loonies who pass out flyers stating that "The Iraq war has everything to do with U.S. controlling access to Middle Eastern Oil," and the war has nothing to do with terrorism, but "everything to do with U.S. world domination." Even so, NBC's Alexander supinely claimed, "they say they're fighting for the men and women fighting for them."

    "News" stories like these show that the media have chosen sides between the liberation backers and the "peace" protesters. They are to news what these protesters are to reasonable discourse.
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Rock Star From Mars

This is an example from France not the USA, but eh.

French Media Covering Up the Intifada: Riot coverage ‘excessive’, says French TV boss. - Blog Entry
  • Nov 10, 2005
    One of France’s leading TV news executives has admitted censoring his coverage of the riots in the country for fear of encouraging support for far-right politicians.

    Jean-Claude Dassier, the director general of the rolling news service TCI, said the prominence given to the rioters on international news networks had been “excessive” and could even be fanning the flames of the violence.

    Mr Dassier said his own channel, which is owned by the private broadcaster TF1, recently decided not to show footage of burning cars.

    “Politics in France is heading to the right and I don’t want rightwing politicians back in second, or even first place because we showed burning cars on television,” Mr Dassier told an audience of broadcasters at the News Xchange conference in Amsterdam today.

    “Having satellites trained on towns across France 24 hours a day showing the violence would have been wrong and totally disproportionate ... Journalism is not simply a matter of switching on the cameras and letting them roll. You have to think about what you’re broadcasting,” he said.
Article, from the Guardian
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Rock Star From Mars

Now, I've not read all these news stories yet, and while it may be factually true that the majority of Congress members who are opposed to the horse killing for human consumption act might very well be Republicans (I don't know), the fact that these news outlets choose to point out the political party of said members, is, I believe, meant to convey with a nudge and a wink that Republicans are nasty, heartless bastards who hate horses.

It is true that many Republicans are, sadly, insensitive to the plight of animals and attempt to write-off any concern for critters as being fringe, left kook behavior, but there are registered Republicans, (such as myself), who do believe in ethical care and treatment of animals, including the passage and/or strict enforcement of animal-rights laws.

Never mind that other news agencies have reported that George W. Bush - who is a Republican - already has or will be signing approval of this bill.

I think one article below even says that some Republicans were in support of banning the killing of horses for food, yet these headlines are meant to convey something different.

Horse Slaughter Ban Survives Republican Kill Attempt - hmm, strange, it says this article has been removed.

Ban on horse slaughter survives Republican effort to kill it - KRIS TV.com

Excerpt from link above:
  • WASHINGTON -- A ban on slaughtering horses that won overwhelming approval in the House and Senate survived Republican attempts to strip it from an agriculture spending bill Wednesday.

    Both houses of Congress approved identical provisions this year that would bar the Agriculture Department from inspecting horse meat, effectively banning the sale of such meat for human consumption.

    Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, wanted the prohibition removed from this year's final spending bill for agriculture programs, said aides to other members of Congress....

    ... About 65,000 horses are slaughtered each year in the U.S. to be made into food for humans. Texas and Illinois are the only two states that slaughter horses, which are processed for human consumption overseas.

    The Senate originally approved the horse provision 69-28 and the House passed it 269-158. Republicans sponsored both amendments.

    The measure won congressional approval after a long battle by animal advocates and horse enthusiasts, who considered this year's votes a major victory.

    "This has been a big struggle for five years and it's a huge step forward to stop this practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption," said Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., one of the measure's sponsors who devised several parliamentary manuevers supporters could use to keep the ban from being killed.

    The effort to ban horse slaughter drew new momentum after 41 wild horses were killed at the Illinois packing plant under a new law allowing the government to sell horses and burros roaming free on public lands in the western states.

    Texas and Illinois are the only two states with horse slaughterhouses. Texas law dating to 1949 has banned the slaughter of horses for consumption. But operators of the slaughterhouses have argued that the law does not apply to them because they are selling the meat in France, Belgium and other countries and they are regulated by federal interstate commerce laws.
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Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist.
  • December 14, 2005

    While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper’s news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times.

    The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left [but see explanation for why this is so below].

    Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media.

    Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

    These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

    “I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican,” said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study’s lead author. “But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are.”

    “Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left,” said co-author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

    The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December.

    Groseclose and Milyo based their research on a standard gauge of a lawmaker’s support for liberal causes.

    Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where “100” is the most liberal and “0” is the most conservative.

    After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low?population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

    Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

    Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo’s method assigned both a similar ADA score.

    “A media person would have never done this study,” said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress.

    “It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don’t think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches.”

    Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

    Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

    The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.

    .... Most of the outlets were less liberal than Lieberman but more liberal than former Sen. John Breaux, D-La. Those media outlets included the Drudge Report, ABC's "World News Tonight," NBC's "Nightly News," USA Today, NBC's "Today Show," Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, NPR's "Morning Edition," CBS' "Early Show" and The Washington Post.

    Since Groseclose and Milyo were more concerned with bias in news reporting than opinion pieces, which are designed to stake a political position, they omitted editorials and Op‑Eds from their tallies.

    This is one reason their study finds The Wall Street Journal more liberal than conventional wisdom asserts.

    Another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom was that the Drudge Report was slightly left of center.

    "One thing people should keep in mind is that our data for the Drudge Report was based almost entirely on the articles that the Drudge Report lists on other Web sites," said Groseclose.

    "Very little was based on the stories that Matt Drudge himself wrote. The fact that the Drudge Report appears left of center is merely a reflection of the overall bias of the media."

    .... The researchers took numerous steps to safeguard against bias — or the appearance of same — in the work, which took close to three years to complete. They went to great lengths to ensure that as many research assistants supported Democratic candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election as supported President George Bush.

    They also sought no outside funding, a rarity in scholarly research. ...
Of course, I have to agree with "Zombie" over at LGF.com who commented,
  • #19 zombie 12/20/2005 09:54AM PST
    What this UCLA study doesn't tell you is that the very concept of the "center" has drifted subtly leftward over the decades, so that even those outlets UCLA now identifies as "centrist" would in fact be seen as extremely leftwing in Days of Yore.

    The whole tenor of discussion is completely different since, say, the '60s. That's where the real subtle bias comes in, and it isn't revealed by studies like this.
Another poster pointed out,
  • The_Pickle | 12/20/2005 10:34AM PST

    Saw this item over at Newsbusters the other day and about sh*t myself laughing, watching all the libs trying to convince us that UCLA wasn't a "liberal" university.

    A few even went so far as to claim that UCLA was a "conservative" institution and therefore any study that came out of UCLA (except those that agreed with liberal preconceptions) should be suspect.
Someone there also posted a link to A Measure of Media Bias
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Licensed & Board-certified!

I had myself all confused because at first I kept reading "UCLA" as "ACLU", LOL!
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Admin notice: I moved Maddy Hater's post and my response to it to the other thread, "Mainstream Media in USA, - It's Liberal, It's Not Friendly to GOP," which is currently located here

I envisioned this thread as being primarily for the listing of links to news articles (or book titles etc.) which point out the liberal taint in the media and not as a debate thread per se (especially since we already had a debate thread about media bias on the board).
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Please note:
This is NOT a "debate" thread. There is already another thread in which people can argue if the main stream media in the USA is liberal or not. You can criticize this article in that other thread, if you like.

This is NOT the thread to debate about or to slam Rush Limbaugh (we have a separate thread already on the board where you can criticize Limbaugh - the subject heading of that thread is something like, "Views critical of Rush Limbaugh").
Thank you.

--------------------------------
Someone else pointed this out to me:

Shushing Rush and O'Reilly
  • Brian C. Anderson

    The rise of alternative media—political talk radio in the eighties, cable news in the nineties, and the blogosphere in the new millennium—has broken the liberal monopoly over news and opinion outlets.

    The Left understands acutely the implications of this revolution, blaming much of the Democratic Party’s current electoral trouble on the influence of the new media’s vigorous conservative voices.

    Instead of fighting back with ideas, however, today’s liberals quietly, relentlessly, and illiberally are working to smother this flourishing universe of political discourse under a tangle of campaign-finance and media regulations. Their campaign represents the most sustained attack on free political speech in the United States since the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Though Republicans have the most to lose in the short run, all Americans who care about our most fundamental rights and the civic health of our democracy need to understand what’s going on—and resist it.

    The most imminent danger comes from campaign-finance rules, especially those spawned by the 2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act. Republican maverick John McCain’s co-sponsorship aside, the bill passed only because of overwhelming Dem support.

    It’s easy to see why liberals have spearheaded the nation’s three-decade experiment with campaign-finance regulation.

    Seeking to rid politics of “big-money corruption,” election-law reforms obstruct the kinds of political speech—political ads and perhaps now the feisty editorializing of the new media—that escape the filter of the mainstream press and the academy, left-wing fiefdoms still regulation-free.

    Campaign-finance reform, notes columnist George Will, by steadily expanding “government’s control of the political campaigns that decide who controls government,” advances “liberalism’s program of extending government supervision of life.”

    The irony of campaign-finance reform is that the “corruption” it targets seems not to exist in any widespread sense. Studies galore have found little or no significant influence of campaign contributions on legislators’ votes. Ideological commitments, party positions, and constituents’ wishes are what motivate the typical politician’s actions in office.

    Aha! reformers will often riposte, the corruption is hidden, determining what Congress doesn’t do—like enacting big gas taxes.

    But as Will notes, “that charge is impossible to refute by disproving a negative.” Even so, such conspiracy-theory thinking is transforming election law into what journalist Jonathan Rauch calls “an engine of unlimited political regulation.”

    McCain-Feingold, the latest and scariest step down that slope, makes it a felony for corporations, nonprofit advocacy groups, and labor unions to run ads that criticize—or even name or show—members of Congress within 60 days of a federal election, when such quintessentially political speech might actually persuade voters.

    It forbids political parties from soliciting or spending “soft money” contributions to publicize the principles and ideas they stand for. Amending the already baffling campaign-finance rules from the seventies, McCain-Feingold’s dizzying dos and don’ts, its detailed and onerous reporting requirements of funding sources—which require a dense 300-page book to lay out—have made running for office, contributing to a candidate or cause, or advocating without an attorney at hand unwise and potentially ruinous.

    Not for nothing has Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas denounced McCain-Feingold’s “unprecedented restrictions” as an “assault on the free exchange of ideas.”

    Campaign-finance reform has a squeaky-clean image, but the dirty truth is that this speech-throttling legislation is partly the result of a hoax perpetrated by a handful of liberal foundations, led by the venerable Pew Charitable Trusts.

    New York Post reporter Ryan Sager exposed the scam when he got hold of a 2004 videotape of former Pew official Sean Treglia telling a roomful of journalists and professors how Pew and other foundations spent years bankrolling various experts, ostensibly independent nonprofits (including the Center for Public Integrity and Democracy 21), and media outlets (NPR got $1.2 million for “news coverage of financial influence in political decision-making”)—all aimed at fooling Washington into thinking that Americans were clamoring for reform, when in truth there was little public pressure to “clean up the system.”

    “The target group for all this activity was 535 people in Washington,” said Treglia matter-of-factly, referring to Congress. “The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot—that everywhere they looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform.”

    Treglia urged grantees to keep Pew’s role hush-hush. “If Congress thought this was a Pew effort,” he confided, “it’d be worthless. It’d be 20 million bucks thrown down the drain.”

    At one point, late in the congressional debate over McCain-Feingold, “we had a scare,” Treglia said. “George Will stumbled across a report we had done. . . . He started to reference the fact that Pew was playing a large role . . . [and] that it was a liberal attempt to hoodwink Congress. . . . The good news, from my perspective, was that journalists . . . just didn’t care and nobody followed up.”

    The hoaxers—a conspiracy of eight left-wing foundations, including George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation—have actually spent $123 million trying to get other people’s money out of politics since 1994, Sager reports—nearly 90 percent of the spending by the entire campaign-finance lobby over this period.

    The ultimate pipe dream of the reformers is a rigidly egalitarian society, where government makes sure that every individual’s influence over politics is exactly the same, regardless of his wealth. Scrutinize the pronouncements of campaign-finance reform groups like the Pew-backed Democracy 21, and you’ll see how the meaning of “corruption” morphs into “inequality of influence” in this sense.

    This notion of corruption—really a Marxoid opposition to inequality of wealth—would have horrified the Founding Fathers, who believed in private property with its attendant inequalities, and who trusted to the clash of factions to ensure that none oppressed the others.

    The Founders would have seen in the reformers’ utopian schemes, in which the power of government makes all equally weak, the embodiment of tyranny.

    To eradicate “corruption,” leading theorists of campaign-finance reform, such as Ohio State University law professor (and former Ohio state solicitor) Edward Foley, Loyola law prof Richard Hasen, and radical redistributionist philosopher Ronald Dworkin, want to replace privately financed campaigns with a system in which government would guarantee “equal dollars per voter,” as Foley puts it, perhaps by giving all Americans the same number of political “coupons,” which they could then redeem on the political activities of their choice. This super-powerful government would ban all other political expenditures and require all political groups to get operating licenses from it, with stiff criminal penalties for violators.

    The experts have even started calling for draconian media restrictions to achieve their egalitarian aims. In Foley’s view, the chilling of speech is “the necessary price we must pay in order to have an electoral system that guarantees equal opportunity for all.”

    But when these experts pen law-review articles with titles like “Campaign Finance Laws and the Rupert Murdoch Problem,” you know it isn’t the New York Times or CBS News that they have in mind.

    Campaign-finance reform now has the blogosphere in its crosshairs. When the Federal Election Commission wrote specific rules in 2002 to implement McCain-Feingold, it voted 4 to 2 to exempt the Web.

    After all, observed the majority of three Republicans and one Democrat (the agency divides its seats evenly between the two parties), Congress didn’t list the Internet among the “public communications”—everything from television to roadside billboards—that the FEC should regulate.

    Further, “the Internet is virtually a limitless resource, where the speech of one person does not interfere with the speech of anyone else,” reasoned Republican commissioner Michael Toner.

    “Whereas campaign finance regulation is meant to ensure that money in politics does not corrupt candidates or officeholders, or create the appearance thereof, such rationales cannot plausibly be applied to the Internet, where on-line activists can communicate about politics with millions of people at little or no cost.”

    But when the chief House architects of campaign-finance reform, joined by McCain and Feingold, sued—claiming that the Internet was one big “loophole” that allowed big money to keep on corrupting—a federal judge agreed, ordering the FEC to clamp down on Web politics. Then-commissioner Bradley Smith and the two other Republicans on the FEC couldn’t persuade their Democratic colleagues to vote to appeal.

    The FEC thus has plunged into what Smith calls a “bizarre” rule-making process that could shackle the political blogosphere. This would be a particular disaster for the Right, which has maintained its early advantage over the Left in the blogosphere, despite the emergence of big liberal sites like Daily Kos.

    Some 157 of the top 250 political blogs express right-leaning views, a recent liberal survey found.

    Reaching a growing and influential audience —hundreds of thousands of readers weekly (including most journalists) for the top conservative sites— the blogosphere has enabled the Right to counter the biases of the liberal media mainstream.

    Without the blogosphere, Howell Raines would still be the New York Times’s editor, Dan Rather would only now be retiring, garlanded with praise—and John Kerry might be president of the U.S., assuming that CBS News had gotten away with its last-minute falsehood about President Bush’s military service that the diligent bloggers at PowerLine, LittleGreenFootballs, and other sites swiftly debunked.

    Are the hundreds of political blogs that have sprouted over the last few years—twenty-first-century versions of the Revolutionary era’s political pamphlets—“press,” and thus exempt from FEC regulations? Liberal reform groups like Democracy 21 say no.

    “We do not believe anyone described as a ‘blogger’ is by definition entitled to the benefit of the press exemption,” they collectively sniffed in a brief to the FEC.

    “While some bloggers may provide a function very similar to more classical media activities, and thus could reasonably be said to fall within the exemption, others surely do not.” The key test, the groups claimed, should be whether the blogger is performing a “legitimate press function.” But who decides what is legitimate? And what in the Constitution gives him the authority to do so?

    A first, abandoned, draft of proposed FEC Web rules, leaked to the RedState blog last March, regulated all but tiny, password-protected political sites, so bloggers should be worried. Without a general exemption, political blogs could easily find themselves in regulatory hell. Say it’s a presidential race, Condi Rice versus Hillary Clinton.

    You run a wildly opinionated and popular group blog—call it No to Hillary—that rails daily about the perils of a Clinton restoration and sometimes republishes Rice campaign material. Is your blog making “contributions” to Rice?

    Maybe. The FEC says that a “contribution” includes “any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office” (my italics). If your anti-Hillary blog spends more than $1,000, you could also find it re-classified as a “political committee.” Then you’ve got countless legal requirements and funding limits to worry about.

    In such a regulated Web-world, bloggers and operators of political sites would have to get press exemptions on a case-by-case basis. The results, election-law expert Bob Bauer explains, would be “unpredictable, highly sensitive to subtle differences in facts, and to the political environment of the moment.”

    Even when the outcome is happy, says Bauer, “a favorable result is still an act of noblesse oblige by a government well aware that if it turns down a request, the disappointed applicant is left with litigation as the only option.”

    Sites would live in fear of Kafkaesque FEC enforcement actions, often triggered by political rivals’ complaints. “If the matter is based on a complaint,” notes former FEC counsel Allison Hayward, “the ‘respondent’ will receive a letter from the FEC with the complaint and will be asked to show why the FEC shouldn’t investigate.”

    An investigation involves “the usual tools of civil litigation—document requests, depositions, briefs, and the like.” The outcome can take months “or longer” to determine, says Hayward. “If a complaint is filed against you, there will be a flurry of activity while you respond, then perhaps silence—then another letter will arrive and you will be required to respond promptly, then maybe nothing again for months.”

    Most political bloggers aren’t paid “professional” reporters or commentators but just democratic citizens with day jobs who like to exercise their right to voice their opinions. If doing so without a lawyer puts them or their families at risk, many will simply stop blogging about politics—or never start.

    If you think such fretting is silly, says Bradley Smith, consider the case of Bill Liles, who faced an FEC inquiry when Smith was commissioner. In 2000, a businessman in the little Texas town of Muleshoe, Harvey Bass, painted save our nation: vote democrat al gore for president on a beat-up box and plunked it on his furniture store’s porch.

    Sick of looking at it, Liles and a friend pasted a “bigger and better” poster praising W. on a trailer and parked it right across from Bass’s store. This was too much for another local, Don Dyer, who complained to the FEC that Liles’s sign lacked mandated disclosures about who paid for it and whether Bush had signed off on it.

    Though the FEC in the end let Liles and his fellow activists off, the men had in fact broken not just disclosure rules but any number of other regulations, too, recalls Smith.

    They had clearly spent a bit more than $250 on their makeshift sign, for example, but hadn’t reported it, as required, to the FEC. “Total statutory penalties could have easily exceeded $25,000,” Smith observes. How different is Liles’s praiseworthy activism from that of many political bloggers? The medium differs, but Liles, like a blogger, is simply voicing his opinion. And this was pre-McCain-Feingold.

    Even if the FEC starts by regulating only a little bit of Web politics, instead of the extensive oversight it had at first planned—and a laxer regime is likelier, thanks to the fierce outburst from political blogs, right and left, when they discovered their freedom of speech under fire—there’s no guarantee that the commission won’t steadily expand its reach later.

    “If the history of campaign finance regulation is any guide,” notes Commissioner Toner, “once the FEC exercises jurisdiction over the Internet, the Commission’s initial set of regulations, even if narrowly tailored, are likely to lead to broader regulation in the future.” Right after McCain-Feingold became law, co-sponsor Senator Russ Feingold opined: “It is only a beginning.

    It is a modest reform. . . . There will be other reforms.” Most campaign-finance reformers share that regulate-to-the-max outlook, aiming—swiftly or incrementally—to close all the loopholes.

    Recognizing that McCain-Feingold is out of control, liberty-minded Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling introduced the Online Freedom of Speech Act (HR 1606) in the House last April. (Harry Reid has sponsored identical legislation in the Senate, showing that not all Democrats are lost on the issue.)

    The bill reinforces the Internet’s current regulation-free status by excluding blogs and various other Web communications from campaign-finance strictures. Brought to an expedited vote under special rules that required a two-thirds majority in early November, the bill—opposed strenuously by the campaign-finance reform “movement”—failed.

    “Today’s action marks a sad day for one of our nation’s most sacred rights: freedom of speech,” reflected House Speaker Dennis Hastert. “The last thing this Congress should be doing is trying to stifle public debate online.”

    The House Democrats torpedoed HR 1606, but they had surprising help from about three dozen Republicans. Why did so many normally staunch opponents of campaign-finance speech restrictions shift camp?

    One possible explanation, perhaps cynical: it’s hard to unseat incumbents, given their advantages of name recognition, free media exposure, and an easier time raising donations. If they can make it harder for their rivals to speak, which campaign-finance rules help them to do, the challenger’s task gets harder still.

    (Notably, after Congress began campaign-finance restrictions in the seventies, incumbency rates began to rise.) Once in office, some Republicans may suddenly like McCain-Feingold’s power to shield them from criticism—including on the Web.

    It’s not just the blogosphere that’s at risk. The Left has also begun to use campaign-finance reform—not McCain-Feingold but equally onerous state regulations—to try to shush political talk radio. The oldest of the new media—Rush Limbaugh went national around 15 years ago—political talk radio is the Right’s dominion.

    Not one of the top 20 nationally syndicated political shows features a left-of-center host, and right-leaning radio talkers outnumber liberals three to one. Over 40 percent of Americans tune in at least occasionally to this extremely influential medium, and over 20 percent use it as a primary source of political information.

    Given the Left’s continuing inability to compete on the dial—its much-ballyhooed Air America doesn’t even register in the Arbitron ratings in some markets—its preferred strategy in the future likely will be to force conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and William Bennett off the air.

    Consider what’s going on in Washington State as an early warning. Early in 2005, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed—and Democratic governor Christine Gregoire signed—a bill boosting the state’s gasoline tax a whopping 9.5 cents per gallon over the next four years, supposedly to fund transportation projects.

    Thinking that their taxes were already plenty high and that the state’s notoriously corrupt Transportation Department would just squander the gas-tax revenues (millions on enviro-friendly wildlife overpasses, for instance, but little on new roads), some citizens organized an initiative campaign, as Washington law allows, to junk the new levy: No New Gas Tax.

    Two popular conservative talk radio hosts, Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson, explained why the gas tax was bad news and urged listeners to sign the 225,000 petitions necessary to get the rollback initiative on the November ballot, though they played no official role in the campaign and regularly featured on their shows defenders as well as opponents of the tax hike.

    With the hosts’ help, the petition drive got almost twice the needed signatures, but the ballot initiative, strongly opposed by labor unions, the state’s liberal media, environmental groups, and other powerful interests, narrowly lost.

    Meantime, however, a group of pro-tax politicians sued No New Gas Tax, arguing that Wilbur’s and Carlson’s on-air commentaries were “in-kind contributions” and that the anti-tax campaign had failed to report them to the proper state authorities.

    The suit sought to stop NNGT from accepting any more of these “contributions” until it disclosed their worth—though how the initiative’s organizers could control media discussions or calculate their monetary value remained unclear.

    The complaint also socked NNGT with civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs, and other damages.

    Even more offensively, to litigate the suit the politicians hired a private law firm, Foster Pepper & Shefelman, which serves as bond counsel to Washington State. The firm, which represents unions, hospitals, and retirement funds among its other clients, could thus clean up from the state’s plan to sell gas-tax-backed bonds. Appearance of corruption, anyone?

    The real target of the suit was clearly Wilbur and Carlson, or, more accurately, their corporate employer, Fisher Communications.

    If NNGT received the “contributions,” that meant Fisher had sent them by broadcasting Wilbur’s and Carlson’s support for the initiative. Washington law limits contributions in the last three weeks of a political campaign to $5,000.

    Depending on how one measured the dollar worth of on-air “contributions,” Fisher could thus face big fines and criminal sanctions if it let Wilbur and Carlson keep talking about the gas tax.

    “Thankfully, Fisher assured us that we could keep talking about the subject on the air, and we did,” Wilbur says. The judge ruled in favor of the pro-tax pols, though he finessed the $5,000 limitation problem by ruling only on the “contributions” that occurred prior to the campaign’s last three weeks.

    The Institute for Justice, a libertarian legal defense group, has entered the fray, filing both an appeal to the Washington Supreme Court and a counterclaim against the politicians behind the suit. “I think this case presents a substantial issue under the First Amendment,” institute attorney Bill Maurer explained.

    “This is one of the most important cases nationally about the right of the press to speak freely, without the interference of the government or regulation of the government—because the power to regulate is the power to suppress.”

    Should the appeal lose, the days of political talk radio could be over not only in Washington State but everywhere. “McCain-Feingold could definitely be used in the same fashion,” Maurer tells me.

    “In fact, the prosecutors in this case say McCain-Feingold permits them to do this. But pretty much any state that has campaign-finance laws that restrict contributions is subject to this abuse, too.”

    All this massively begs the question: Why should any American need government permission to express himself?

    Instead of a media exemption, blogger Glenn Reynolds sarcastically commented at a recent conference, maybe we need a “free speech exception, in which you are allowed to say what you want about political candidates without fear of prosecution by the government.”

    You’d think that the Supreme Court would have rescued the new media—and the nation—from all this regulatory tyranny. President Bush reportedly agreed not to veto McCain-Feingold only because he was sure the Court would do it for him and he could thereby avoid riling up McCain. After all, the language of the First Amendment is unambiguous: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

    The Court has extended First Amendment free-speech protection in recent years to nude dancing, animated online kiddie porn, flag burners, tobacco ads, and cross burners. For its original architects, of course, the First Amendment’s chief aim was to protect political speech—the right to criticize the government.

    The notion that government could restrict the speech of some—which is what campaign-finance rules do—would have been the very definition of unconstitutional tyranny for men like Samuel Adams or James Madison. How could the Supremes not stop the campaign-finance juggernaut?

    Yet the Court’s 5-to-4 McConnell ruling approved almost all of McCain-Feingold. The 2003 decision shocked many, but the Court’s “evolving” jurisprudence in the area of campaign finance should have made it not all that surprising. For the last three decades, the Supreme Court has chopped steadily away at constitutional protection for political speech when campaign finance is at issue.

    In its 1974 Buckley decision, the Court took the first, disastrous step by authorizing the “balancing” of free speech concerns with the “governmental interest” in preventing “the actuality and the appearance of corruption.”

    The balancing idea has become a liberal commonplace, expressed bluntly by former Democratic House minority leader Richard Gephardt a few years ago: “What we have is two important values in direct conflict: freedom of speech and our desire for healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy.”

    But as commentator Thomas Sowell retorted, whatever Gephardt’s definition of a healthy campaign is, “it is not part of the Constitution of the United States—and free speech is.” In fact, it is the bedrock of our healthy democracy.

    Buckley’s loose language is troubling, too. “The ‘appearance of corruption’ can mean anything,” says former FEC commissioner Smith. “If the ‘appearance of corruption’ is sufficient to justify regulation, the practical effect is to eliminate the need for the government to show any justification for the regulation in question.” In fact, even John McCain, now incorruptible after his involvement as one of the scandalous Keating Five, could appear corrupt.

    Several aides from his 2000 presidential run, including his former campaign manager, press secretary, finance director, and legal counsel have been working for the Reform Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to (you guessed it) campaign-finance reform—though it primarily seems to be the 2008 McCain-for-President campaign-in-waiting.

    Some months back, when Cablevision sought approval for a pricing change from the Senate Commerce Committee, then chaired by McCain, the company developed a sudden interest in campaign-finance reform and gave the Reform Institute a $200,000 “soft” donation. Looks fishy, no?

    Making matters worse, the Supreme Court’s 1990 Austin decision redefined “corruption” to mean not just the exchange of political favors for money—seemingly Buckley’s view, though the Court’s opinion is vague—but also “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.”

    In other words, the Supremes fully embraced the Inequality = Corruption thinking of the campaign-finance reformers.

    If corporations had or appeared to have too much influence, government could now stamp out this “corruption” by shutting them up, as McCain-Feingold has done, rather than by the checks and balances of faction against faction, as the Founders envisioned.

    In his powerful McConnell dissent, Clarence Thomas spelled out “the chilling endpoint” of the Court’s reasoning: “outright regulation of the press”—exactly what the campaign-reform theorists ultimately seek. “Media companies can run pro-candidate editorials as easily as nonmedia corporations can pay for advertisements,” Thomas explained.

    “Media corporations are influential. There is little doubt that the editorials and commentary they run can affect elections.” The Supreme Court has found little to distinguish media and non-media corporations.

    Asked Thomas: “What is to stop a future Congress from determining that the press is ‘too influential,’ and that the ‘appearance of corruption’ is significant when media organizations endorse candidates or run ‘slanted’ or ‘biased’ news stories in favor of candidates or parties?” Answer: Nothing.

    “Although today’s opinion does not expressly strip the press of First Amendment protection,” Thomas warned, “there is no principle of law or logic that would prevent the application of the Court’s reasoning in that setting. The press now operates at the whim of Congress.”

    Perhaps the liberal mainstream media will stop cheering campaign-finance reform when they realize their First Amendment rights are at stake, too.

    Though campaign-finance madness is the Number One regulatory threat to the new media, it’s not the only one. The Left is now pushing Congress to restore the Fairness Doctrine, which would kill talk radio and possibly conservative-friendly Fox News, too.

    For those who don’t remember, the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine, formalized in the late forties but dating back to 1929, required radio and then broadcast television stations to cover “vitally important controversial issues of interest in the community served by the broadcaster” and to provide “opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints on such issues”—what came to be known as the “equal time” rule.

    Any broadcaster who didn’t follow these regulations could face fines, free time given to voices that federal regulators felt hadn’t gotten fair treatment, and even loss of operating license. Concern that particular partisan views could dominate what was then a very limited broadcast spectrum, which government felt it had to parcel out with the public interest in mind, drove this meddling.

    But politicians and advocacy groups frequently used (or abused) the Fairness Doctrine to go after their political enemies, as one former Kennedy administration official acknowledged:
    “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters, and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too costly to continue.”

    The doctrine made it hard to program political talk radio in today’s Rush Limbaugh–Sean Hannity sense—boisterously opinionated, unafraid to name names, informative, and, if you disagree with the host’s politics, infuriating.

    If a station ran a show like Limbaugh’s, drawing upward of 20 million listeners a week, it would also have to run a lefty alternative, even if— as has been the case with ratings-challenged Air America in some markets—it can’t get any sponsors. Too risky, most radio execs concluded, and kept opinion programs off the air. In 1980, talk shows of any kind numbered fewer than 100 nationwide.

    All that changed in the eighties, when Ronald Reagan’s free-market-minded FCC stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine and then dumped it entirely in 1987. Because cable and satellite television and FM radio had vastly expanded the number of television and radio stations, “the new technological abundance,” in regulatory theorist Peter Huber’s phrase, had robbed the doctrine of any plausible “scarcity” rationale.

    That the doctrine was also “chilling to free speech,” as FCC head Mark Fowler argued, became crystal clear after it was gone: AM radio exploded with political talk shows. From under 5 percent of all programming, “informational” programming expanded to over 20 percent of the AM mix just seven years after the Fairness Doctrine’s demise.

    Today, more than 1,400 stations feature the talk format exclusively—and the vast majority broadcast conservative voices, because that’s what draws the listeners, desperate for an alternative to the liberal mainstream press.

    Small wonder, then, that House Democrats proposed two bills in 2005 to bring the Fairness Doctrine back—and as a law, rather than a mere agency regulation. New York Democratic representative Louise Slaughter, who introduced the first of the two bills, says that Right-ruled radio is a grave threat to American freedoms, “a waste of good broadcast time, and a waste of our airwaves.”

    People “may hear whatever they please and whatever they choose,” she tells PBS’s Bill Moyers, in a statement as incoherent as it is illiberal.

    “And of course they have the right to turn it off. But that’s not good enough either. The fact is that they need the responsibility of the people who are licensed to use our airwaves judiciously and responsibly to call them to account if they don’t.” In other words, people can’t be trusted with freedom but need the supervision of a paternalist government.

    Slaughter doesn’t want to re-regulate only radio. When asked by Moyers if she was also proposing the new Fairness Doctrine for Fox News or MSNBC, Slaughter responded:

    “You bet. . . . Fairness isn’t going to hurt anybody.” If there’s anything liberals hate more than talk radio it’s Fox News, which has dominated cable news by appealing to conservative viewers fed up with the networks’ liberal bias. New York Democratic representative Maurice Hinchey, sponsor of the second Fairness Doctrine bill, went so far as to host a special Capitol Hill screening of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, a “documentary” hit job.

    Slaughter, Hinchey, Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, Washington State congressman Jay Inslee, and several other House lefties have recently formed the Future of American Media Congress to push for a media crackdown.

    It’s easy to dismiss the Orwellian policy prescriptions of small-fry like these. But look who else has been talking about the Fairness Doctrine:

    “There has been a profound and negative change in the relationship of America’s media with America’s people,” John Kerry told the Boston Globe’s Thomas Oliphant after losing the 2004 presidential race. “We learned that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning,” he said, inaccurately.

    “But there’s a . . . sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information,” he complained. “This all began, incidentally, when the Fairness Doctrine ended,” Kerry maintained. “You would have had a dramatic change in the discussion in this country had we still had a Fairness Doctrine in the course of the last campaign.”

    Former vice president and Democratic standard-bearer Al Gore, in an overheated October speech bemoaning the purported hollowing out of the American “marketplace of ideas,” blamed it in part on the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, after which “Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves.”

    And here’s current Democratic Party chair Howard Dean, in a 2003 interview railing against Rupert Murdoch: “I believe we need to re-regulate the media . . . so we can be sure that the American people get moderate, conservative, and liberal points of view.” Dean noted that he wouldn’t need legislation to do this—he could just appoint “different kinds of people” to the FCC.

    Finally, in early 2005, an online petition drive called for Americans to “renew the Fairness Doctrine.” The imbalance favoring conservative media voices, especially in talk radio, the petition argued, “results in issues of public importance receiving little or no attention, while others are presented in a manner not conducive to listeners’ receiving the facts and range of opinions necessary to make informed decisions.”

    One of the three sponsors of this paternalistic document: Media Matters for America, a left-wing press watchdog group, founded by conservative-turned-lefty David Brock, with help from ex–Clinton advisor John Podesta.

    These aren’t marginal figures; they’re the heart of today’s Democratic Party. Their calls for reform rest on a preposterous claim: that “media consolidation” has led to a sharp narrowing in the range of viewpoints available to the American people.

    In an era of newspapers, magazines, books, broadcast radio and television, cable and satellite television, and the Internet—now joined by satellite radio, podcasts, and even newer forms of “technological abundance”—the involved citizen has never had more information, more debate, more ideas from all political perspectives at his fingertips.

    What’s really happening is that the Left, having lost its media monopoly, has had trouble competing in a true “marketplace of ideas” and wants to shut that marketplace down.

    If the Dems take back Congress or the White House, watch out. Nothing would please them more than to drag the country back to the good old days, when liberals didn’t have to put up with Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly and Matt Drudge and the countless other upstarts recasting our public debate.

    The Right—joined by free-speech defenders from across the political spectrum—needs to defeat the liberal regulatory threat before it does real damage to Americans’ rights to express their political views. President Bush should strongly back Hensarling’s Online Freedom of Speech Act, whose sponsors may reintroduce it soon in the House under regular rules, which require only a simple majority to pass it.

    Showing that he gets it, the president has just nominated three reportedly liberty-minded lawyers to fill FEC vacancies, including Robert Lenhard, part of the legal team that challenged McCain-Feingold’s constitutionality. One campaign-finance reform group described the Lenhard pick as “beyond disappointing”: excellent news for free-speech fans.

    In deciding two campaign-finance reform cases in the months ahead, the Roberts Court, one hopes, will show greater enthusiasm for First Amendment protection of political speech than did its predecessor, which should have shot down McCain-Feingold.

    If neither Congress nor the Supreme Court repeals this unconstitutional, un-American travesty, we can expect election regulations, in the grim words of Justice Antonin Scalia’s McConnell dissent, “to grow more voluminous, more detailed, and more complex in the years to come—and always, always, with the objective of reducing the excessive amount of speech.”

    Thus will our most effective real protection against “the actuality and appearance of corruption”—the First Amendment itself—be nullified.

    Lovers of liberty should expose calls to restore the Fairness Doctrine for the fraudulent power-grab that they plainly are. And the Right, in particular, needs to understand how much it has benefited from a deregulated media universe. It should be confident that it has the right ideas, and that when it gets the chance to present them directly to the American people—as the new media have allowed it to do—it will win the debate.
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Rock Star From Mars

:) Please note:
This is NOT a "debate" thread. There is already another thread in which people can argue if the main stream media in the USA is liberal or not. You can criticize this article in that other thread, if you like.

-------------------
In an article from the Washington Post about Democrats who are bloggers, the author repeats something which I have pointed out before (i.e., because the main stream media leans left and not right, people on the right had to turn to alternative forms of media, such as talk radio on AM or to the web, in order to get their views out):
  • By Jim VandeHei
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    .... Since then, liberal activists have created scores of political blogs and used the Web as an organizing tool and a way to quickly vent frustrations to Democratic leaders in Washington.

    The closest historic parallel would be the talk-radio phenomenon of the early 1980s, when conservatives -- like liberals now -- felt powerless and certain they did not have a way to voice their views because the mainstream media and many of their own leaders considered them out of touch.

    Through talk radio, often aired in rural parts of the country on the AM dial, conservatives pushed the party to the right on social issues and tax cuts.

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Rock Star From Mars

I've only skimmed over the home page. They appear not only to have .wmv files taken from t.v. news programs, but they discuss liberal activity on the web and what not.

The Link:
Posted Image Expose the Left. com

--- Feb. 7, 2006 EDIT. --

The New York Times will not run Mohammed cartoons, but they will re-print photo of painting of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung.

NYT Hypocrisy on Parade: Times Runs Photo of Dung-Clotted “Virgin Mary” - News Busters

Excerpt from above link:
  • NYT Hypocrisy on Parade: Times Runs Photo of Dung-Clotted “Virgin Mary”
    Posted by Clay Waters on February 8, 2006 - 11:59.

    But the Mohammad cartoons are “gratuitous assaults on religious symbols” and won’t be run by the paper.
Following is by way of LGF (this was also mentioned on Bill O'Reilly's "Factor" show tonight),
  • NYT Runs Elephant Dung Mary Picture

    The New York Times won’t print the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, out of sensitivity to Muslim readers. But they don’t hesitate to reach back seven years and publish the picture of the Virgin Mary made out of elephant dung: A Startling New Lesson in the Power of Imagery. (Hat tip: TKS.)

    It’s a lesson, all right—a lesson in Gray Lady hypocrisy. But it’s neither startling nor new.
Source: LGF Blog Entry

:laugh: One guy at LGF opined over this story,
  • #2 secsailor 2/8/2006 09:22AM PST
    I'm tempted to subscribe to the NYT just so I can cancel it.
:laugh: :clap:
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Well, I agree that's hypocrisy on the part of the NYT. How stupid of them.
Although, I'm confused: does the artist depict elephant dung or is it just the medium he used? I do recall a demonstration when I was in college by some artist who made images with some kind of dung, because that practice came from the culture he/she was interested in.
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The 1 Not Fooled
Feb 8 2006, 08:09 PM
Well, I agree that's hypocrisy on the part of the NYT. How stupid of them.
Although, I'm confused: does the artist depict elephant dung or is it just the medium he used? I do recall a demonstration when I was in college by some artist who made images with some kind of dung, because that practice came from the culture he/she was interested in.

I could be mistaken, but if memory serves correctly - it's an oil painting of Mary with actual elephant dung on it.

The point of the thing is...

Liberal papers such as NYT won't publish anything that Muslims might find offensive (the NYT would not publish the Mohammed cartoons), but if it's offensive to some (conservative) Christians, they're fine with it.

And I don't think this is the first time the NYT published the Mary-Elephant Dung painting.
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I'm not sure if I have the right thread for this. If not, I can merge it into the proper one later.

"MSM" = Main Stream Media

MSM Blackout: Chomsky Meets Hizballah
  • Yesterday we noted a story at Drudge Report about MIT professor Noam Chomsky’s meeting with the leader of Hizballah in Lebanon, at which he called the United States “one of the leading terrorist states.”

    This story, based on a Reuters report (according to the grapevine), has completely vanished from mainstream media.

    Google News search: Noam Chomsky.

    Yahoo News search: Noam Chomsky.

    Yahoo News Photo search: Noam Chomsky.

    Reuters news search: Noam Chomsky.
One of the few references you'll find to the story is this one:
Noam Chomsky Attacks "Terrorist State" U.S., Israel While Visiting Hezbollah Leader

These guys might have more about this, I dunno.

----- June 2006 EDIT -----

Spinning The War in Iraq

Excerpts:
  • May 16, 2006, by By ALICIA COLON

    ....I happened to catch Rep. Steve King, a Republican of Iowa, on C-span last week and he rattled off some startling figures that demonstrate how off-base journalists are when it comes to reporting on the war in Iraq.

    According to Mr. King, the violent death rate in Iraq is 25.71 per 100,000.

    That may sound high, but not when you compare it to places like Colombia (61.7), South Africa (49.6), Jamaica (32.4), and Venezuela (31.6).

    How about the violent death rates in American cities? New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina was 53.1. FBI statistics for 2004-05 have Washington at 45.9, Baltimore at 37.7, and Atlanta at 34.9.
Surprise: Old Media Downplay Zarqawi's Death

Our "hate America first and despise Bush especially" mainstream media are suckers for something like this:
  • Zarqawi's Plans: Use the Media

    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s planning document, discovered in the safe house (oxymoron of the day) where he died: Text of al-Zarqawi Safe-House Document. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

    His first recommendation to deal with the increased success of coalition forces: use the media.

    QUOTE -
    1. To improve the image of the resistance in society, increase the number of supporters who are refusing occupation and show the clash of interest between society and the occupation and its collaborators. To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance.
    - END QUOTE
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Buried Successes

Unity on a Newspaper's Terms - mentions NY Times fiasco

The big story:

The Terrorist-tipping New York Times
  • The New York Times (proudly publishing all the secrets unfit to spill since 9/11) and their reckless anonymous sources (come out, come out, you cowards) tipped off terrorists to America's efforts to track their financial activities.

    .... Oh, and while they continue to sabotage terror-financing investigations, the blabbermouths of the Times should be reminded -- as the conservative bloggers Bill Keller despises so much are doing -- of their own call in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 for vigorous counterterrorism measures to stop the bankrolling of terror:

    "The Bush administration is preparing new laws to help track terrorists through their money-laundering activity and is readying an executive order freezing the assets of known terrorists. Much more is needed, including stricter regulations, the recruitment of specialized investigators and greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities. There must also be closer coordination among America's law enforcement, national security and financial regulatory agencies."

    "Much more is needed?" Right. And when the Bush administration came through, the Times stabbed them, and us, in the backs. The lesson is clear. When terror strikes, don't believe a word the know-it-all Times prints. They are opportunistic, hindsighted hypocrites who endanger us all.
Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater

Stemming the Flood
  • White House Press Secretary Tony Snow came up with a sound bite most people will understand:

    "The New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public's right to know in some cases might override somebody's right to live."

    .... Whatever the culpability of the Times and the other newspapers (more about that in a moment), the first harm was caused by the person, or persons, who leaked the secret information. It probably violated the oath that allowed them to have their jobs and draw their paychecks from our tax dollars.

    In other wars, such behavior might have resulted in the perpetrator being shot as a traitor.

    Today, anyone with a political ax to grind can leak classified information in order to undermine an administration with which the person does not agree.

    The decent thing to do would be to resign in protest, but today's traitors keep their jobs and their paychecks and live to leak another day. They should be hunted down and prosecuted.

    As for The New York Times, executive editor Bill Keller issued a condescending statement, possibly in response to an avalanche of critical mail.

    Keller wraps himself in the words of the Founding Founders, who, he says, "rejected the idea that it is wise, or patriotic, to always take the President at his word, or to surrender to the government important decisions about what to publish."

    As a regular reader of The New York Times, I can say that the newspaper rarely, if ever, takes President Bush at his word.

    This isn't about the privileges guaranteed by the First Amendment. It is about the agenda practiced by the Times and some other newspapers and media outlets that clearly want the administration to fail in Iraq - and in everything else - so that Democrats will retake the reigns of government.

    The Times' editorial board fears what one more Republican term could do to the left's judicially imposed cultural realignment and wants to blunt the Bush administration's counteroffensive.


    Their agenda was summed up by New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger in a commencement address at the State University of New York, New Paltz, on May 21.

    Sulzberger apologized to the students: "You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life, the rights of gays to marry, or the rights of women to choose."

    If a newspaper publisher regards a war as "misbegotten," isn't it likely he will do all he can to bring that war to an immediate end, even if it means publishing secret efforts to defeat the terrorist enemy, not only in Iraq but in the United States?
==========
Reporter asks Bush:
  • "Sir, several news organizations have reported about a program that allows administrations to look into bank records of certain suspected terrorists. My question is, one, why have you not gotten Congress to ask for authorization for this program five years after it started, and two, with respect, if neither the court nor the legislature is allowed to know about these programs, how can you feel confident that the check-and-balance system works?"
GWB's response:
  • Congress was briefed, and what we did was fully authorized under the law, and the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.

    What we were doing was the right thing. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the government be robust in tracing money. If you want to figure out what the terrorists are doing, you try to follow their money, and that's exactly what we're doing, and the fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror.
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Rock Star From Mars

BBC bans the word ‘dhimmi’
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The Bush Haters are Hurting America
  • Wednesday, September 06, 2006
    By Bill O'Reilly

    As you may know I've been hard on the far left for its dishonest analysis of what's going in America. And now the Valerie Plame case illustrates my point.

    You know, we didn't cover the exposure of Ms. Plame as a CIA agent because we had no idea who did it or why. And speculation is not our game.

    Well, finally a few weeks ago, former State Department official Richard Armitage was outed as the leaker after three years of misreporting by the far left.

    Enterprises like Air America and MSNBC flat out accused the Bush administration, and especially Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, of breaking the law by leaking Plame's name.

    So did Robert Seagull, host of NPR's "All Things Considered." And so did the usual irresponsible suspects in the print press.

    Cynthia Tucker in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorialized: "The White House and [Karl] Rove have denied for two years that he played any role whatsoever in Plame's exposure. Those statements now look like lies."

    New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said, "I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage."

    L.A. Times' Thomas Robert Scheer, who was fired by the paper, chimed in, "Rove attempted to destroy the credibility of two national security veterans."

    Now all of those far-left people were wrong and smeared Rove and others. Shouldn't they be forced to apologize? This is dangerous.

    All over the world, millions of people believe America is evil, worse than the terrorists. And the unrelenting hate-Bush media in this country fuels that ridiculous concept.

    Quite simply, the Bush haters are out of control and are hurting the country. It is patriotic to responsibly disagree with the president or with any administration. But it is wrong to smear public servants in any party.

    So "Talking Points" is respectfully asking all of those who erroneously analyze the Plame affair to admit your mistakes, and be more responsible in the future. OK? We'll be waiting.

    That's "The Memo."
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These people are insane.
A book on killing Bush. A movie on assassinating him too. The Dixie Chicks lose a few bucks when people don't like what they say and stop buying their CDs.
BUT, when Clinton demands that ABC pull a movie off the air, do any of the left cry censorship? Oh, nooooo....
Everything to them is free speech, or art, or open discussion. When something makes Clinton look bad, it's a sin and must be shut down.
This is like living in the USSR. A company cannot make a movie without the government telling them no?
The latest puke flick is one about poor ol John Lennon and how the government trashed him. His loony son Sean Lennon thinks the CIA killed John. Yoko herself is in it, saying how rebellios he was, and how Bush is like Nixon (though Nixon, for all his faults got us OUT of Vietnam, it was a Dem who put us there), and I really have no respect for the old art freak now.
She said something about how his words still live on. My husband said, "Yeah you outta know you still profit from them!"
When I was in Liverpool last year some people who knew him thought he was nuts and said his "art" was awful. They were old acquaintances!
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Hollywood / Entertainment
  • "In their book, Watching America, the Lichters and Rothman turned to Hollywood and interviewed the writers and producers of prime-time entertainment. They discovered:
    75% place themselves on the left politically; 97% are pro-choice; 80% believe homosexuality is morally acceptable; and only 7% attend any sort of religious service regularly." (Chuck Colson. A Dance with Deception. p. 18)


    "Hostility within CBS to 'Christy's' openly Christian message made the difference in the decision to cancel, (Ken) Wales (the producer) told a conference on Religion and Prime Time Television in June 1995." (Robert H. Knight. The Age of Consent. p. 112)

    "It is no coincidence that Hollywood, which routinely ridicules or marginalizes Christianity, donates heavily to organizations like the ACLU or People for the American Way." (Robert H. Knight. The Age of Consent. p. xvii)

    "Christians are the only group Hollywood can offend with impunity, the only creed it actually goes out of its way to insult. Clerics, from fundamentalists preachers to Catholic monks, are routinely represented as hypocrites, hucksters, sadists, and lechers. The tenets of Christianity are regularly held up to ridicule." (Don Feder. A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America.)

    "When you see that (Christian) fish symbol on the bumper sticker of the car in front of you, know that that is the enemy." (The late musician, Frank Zappa. From a pro-abortion rally in Los Angeles.)
The media
  • "By and large, reporters and editors are devoutly secular and deeply distrustful of those who act on faith."" (p. 33. Feder. Ibid.)

    "The secular press has already pegged orthodox Christians as bigots living on the lunatic fringe." (Spirit Wars. Peter Jones. p. 48)

    "If the media blitz against Christians continues, a further step will be a rising rage of hatred against all Christians who believe, practice, and seek to share their faith. This will be followed by more severe social ostracism , then by more and more restrictive laws against our religious liberties."" (p. 131. Free Speech or Propaganda? Marlin Maddoux. 1990.)

    "Religious radio and television broadcasters are seven times more likely than their secular counterparts to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service. (Bruce Bates. Jan. 31, 1998. World magazine.)

    "Christianity is a religion for losers." (Ted Turner, Media magnate in the Dallas Morning News)

    "There is an attitude in the media that is dishonestly reinforcing negative stereotypes about Christians." (David Mains. The Rise of the Religion of Antichristism. p. 17)

    "The mainstream press routinely deprecates 'religion' by misstating beliefs." (Robert H. Knight. The Age of Consent. p. 16)
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