July 20, 2007

Ted Kennedy And The Democrats Hate Free Speech

Once again, Minnesota's Senator Norm Coleman attempted to ensure that government would not control the content of political speech -- and once again the Democrats ensured that they could impose it. Ted Kennedy himself blocked Coleman's amendment with a point of order, and the Democrats torpedoed it in a party-line vote:

Senate Democrats last night beat back a Republican attempt to attach an anti-Fairness Doctrine bill as an amendment to education legislation.

The doctrine, a former requirement that broadcasters present opposing points of view on political issues, was scrapped in 1987 by the Federal Communications Commission, which said the policy restricted journalistic freedom. The bill by Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, would prevent the FCC from reinstating the doctrine.

"We live in an age of satellite radio, of broadband, of blogs, of Internet, of cable TV, of broadcast TV. There is no limitation on the ability of anyone from any political persuasion to get their ideas set forth," Mr. Coleman argued in support of the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007. "The public in the end will choose what to listen to."

By a vote of 49-48, senators voted not to consider Mr. Coleman's amendment after Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, raised a point of order. Senate rules require 60 votes to waive a point of order.

Kennedy pronounced Coleman's amendment on the education bill as "insulting", claiming that it delayed passage of his education bill. Coleman responded tartly by telling Kennedy that education can only be enhanced by "unfettered access to information." Perhaps it would have been better to remind Kennedy that the federal government has less business regulating political speech than it does in education.

It's become clear that the Democrats want top-down government control over political speech in this country. More than that, they want a mechanism that will kill talk radio -- because they can't compete in that arena. They want to re-establish the Fairness Doctrine so that broadcasters get intimidated into changing formats to protect their licenses. With the FD back in business, any crank can file complaints at will and force the broadcasters to conduct minute-by-minute audits of their broadcasts, attempting to determine how much time went to one position versus another.

Instead of going through that burdensome and expensive accounting, broadcasters will dump political talk for sports, or perhaps the inane "community" talk that almost always turns covertly political. The AM band will fade -- again -- and the broadcast industry will contract -- again. And all because the Democrats believe that Americans are so stupid that they can't find competing information on their own.

Evan Bayh was the only Democrat to support free political speech in this vote. Every Republican in the Senate voted to support free speech. That should inform voters for the 2008 campaign. Without free political speech, all else is lost.


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A showdown over free speech in the U.S. Senate last night turned out to be a one-sided vote with only one Democrat siding with Republicans to block the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Sen. Norm Coleman (R.-Minn.) introduced the amendment to prevent th... [Read More]

Comments (20)

Posted by NoDonkey | July 20, 2007 8:08 AM

Why be surprised?

The Democrat Party consists of pure, unadulterated, neo-totalitarian, anti-American, criminal, corrupt, incompetent traitor scum.

They have no redeeming qualities. They are in Congress in order to steal as much as possible and to amass power for themselves.

What kind of person would even want to be part of the Democrat Party? Who would want to associate with these miserable, arrogant, amoral, stupid people? Who would be misguided enough to even consider voting for a member of the Democrat Party?

Democrats despise the American people. The y have nothing positive at all to offer this nation.

Posted by Lew | July 20, 2007 8:39 AM

Yeah NoDonkey, but other than all that what do you think of them?

It's one of the great ironies of modern American political history that the one party that passionately advocates the demise of democracy and freedom, is the very party that bears its name. In the same spirit as the North Korean insane asylum assuming the lofty title of "Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea", the Democratic party is in fact the least democratic of all.

Posted by rqballjohn | July 20, 2007 9:02 AM

What the Republicans should do is insist in legislature that the first radio station to be affected by this doctrine is The Public Radio network. Make that Leftist network have to have a conservative point of view half the time will irritate many of the listeners. Once the liberals learn that this will affect them they might have second thoughts.

Posted by Lightwave | July 20, 2007 9:04 AM

So, when Democrats are complaining about "obstructionist" Republicans, it's news. When the Dems obstruct legislation (and specifically do it to stifle free speech) they get a pass from the liberal media.

The fact the Democrats have torpedoed almost *every* GOP legislative House and Senate bill and amendment this year somehow makes the GOP the "obstructionists".

Nice moonbat logic, there.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | July 20, 2007 9:35 AM

You know what the really scary part of this is? The fact that...well, the Dems might just succeed in this monitoring of the "rules'" and effectively squash political talk radio...and if that happens, can you imagine the horror among Republicans who won't have access to the airwaves where they can call in and so proudly proclaim:

" I was so darn upset with the Republicans in Congress that I just stayed home in 2006 and didn't even vote! "

Posted by Gary Gross | July 20, 2007 9:40 AM

This isn't surprising but it is disappointing, even maddening. Democrats like John Murtha, Bill Delahunt & John Conyers, Bobby Byrd & Ted Kennedy don't want the other side heard. Their corruption rackets can't thrive when sunlight gets in.

John Murtha accused heroic Marines like Justin Sharratt & Frank Wuterich of cold-blooded murder on national TV. When I asked his spokeswoman for a statement after the investigating officer recommended that all charges against Justin be dropped, she said that he doesn't have a comment because the "investigation is still ongoing."

Corrupt politicians like John Murtha don't want that getting out so they'll naturally tend towards shutting people up.


The genie's out of the bottle. You don't control the narrative anymore. We The People won't be silenced by a couple corrupt politicians.

Posted by sf | July 20, 2007 9:45 AM

I'm surprised no one has commented on yet another smooth technique used by the WaPo to tar the Republican party:

Senate Democrats last night beat back a Republican attempt to attach an anti-Fairness Doctrine bill as an amendment to education legislation.
The clear implication is that Republicans are opposed to Fairness!

Had the roles been reversed, the move to amend would have been described as Dems trying to insert a "pro-free-speech" amendment.

But the Post's clever propaganda technique also shows how the issue can be turned: A previous commenter suggested that any attempt to pass the atrociously misnamed "Fairness Doctrine" contain a provision that it would be applied to NPR/PBS *first* (ostensibly to determine the most effective way of evaluating and keeping records, I suppose?). I suggest that's just a start: If a so-called Fairness Doctrine is a good idea, why shouldn't it apply to all media?

If the TV networks and newspapers see that any new FD bill will apply to them as well, instead of just to talk-radio, I suspect they'll quickly see how the FD is really just government control of speech after all--just as conservatives have claimed all along!

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | July 20, 2007 9:49 AM

This is nothing more than a taste of the coming crackdown on civil liberties if Democrats seize control of the White House in 2008 while keeping Congress. Remember that the next time the Kool-Aid Krowd comes here and start waving their tinfoil caps in celebration.

And for those of you who stayed home on Election day in 2006 or voted Democrat "in order to teach the GOP a lesson" - are you enjoying the lesson you are being taught?

Posted by Adjoran | July 20, 2007 12:24 PM

Democrats hold a 51-49 seat majority, but Tim Johnson has been unable to participate.

For the measure to be defeated "by a party line vote," no Democrat could therefore have defected - BUT Bayh did vote for it.

So where is the majority, if all Republicans voted for the Coleman amendment? Help! I don't have enough fingers and toes . . .

Also, this must mean Lieberman voted against Coleman and FOR the "FD," or at least the possibility of it. Remember this when pointing to Joe as a "good Democrat."

Posted by Matrick | July 20, 2007 12:36 PM

It's a shame the democrats are trying to control what is allowed to be broadcast. You can't force speech. It should come naturally. I do some consulting for the NAB and we know exactly what happens when something like the Fairness Doctrine comes around. The next thing you know, the Dems will want to apply the doctrine to blogs and all other media outlets. We don't want to go down that slippery slope.

Posted by Jim | July 20, 2007 2:15 PM

Calling all Trolls! Calling all Trolls!

Where are your little bits of classic "wisdom" on THIS issue? Why are your only willing to share your vast intellect with us on a selective basis?

Could it be that on issues like this, and say the issue of the underhanded and sneaky killing of the John Doe provision, there's really not much you can say in support of such barking moonbat Leftist insanity, so you sit these threads out?

Just wondering.

Posted by the fly-man | July 20, 2007 3:02 PM

As long as Fox news is considered fair and balanced , Liberals will insist that talk radio is polluted and in need of some cleansing. I personally don't agree that legislation will cure this perceived imbalance, but honestly to think that the electorate will equate this to some thing of a bell wether to rally against ....you've got to be kidding.

Posted by Jim | July 20, 2007 3:17 PM

"Liberals will insist that talk radio is polluted and in need of some cleansing...."

WORDS coming out of the mouths of e.g., Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh that 'needs some cleansing." ???? "Cleansing" speech, is a cute way of saying.....force it off the air. SILENCE it.

If that doesn't sound like something straight out of Stalin's Soviet Union, I don't know what does. Gosh, now we're even using the totalitarian LINGO......'cleansing'. Sheesh.

Democrats are amazing. Really. They spend all this time and energy getting all lathered up on FICTIONAL and IRRATIONAL fears of losing constitutional rights....(Bush will declare martial law, blah blah), but then actually applaud or at least stand by in silence, when something like this which BLATENTLY flies in the face of the 1st Amendment comes along.

Hey Libs, if those in power can silence the conservatives, just remember, they can and they will, silence you too, some day. We'll be first. But you'll be next.

Posted by the fly-man | July 20, 2007 5:28 PM

Wonder what Al Franken's views are on this? Seems like a nice political posturing ploy to drag out in front of the folks from Minnesota more than an issue of government control of an archaic bandwith.

Posted by jaeger51 | July 20, 2007 9:32 PM

Lousy Dems. Always calling Republicans Nazis....the proper response to that is "I know you are, what am I?" In fact, they're even developing similar racial theories...replace the Aryan Superman with any non-western culture, and the Jew with the straight white man and you've hit upon the basic theme of multiculturalism. Heil Hillary? lol.

Posted by mw | July 21, 2007 1:26 AM

"Calling all Trolls! Where are your little bits of classic "wisdom" on THIS issue? Why are your only willing to share your vast intellect with us on a selective basis?" - jim

Ignoring the ad hominem aspects of the question, Jim asks an interesting question. The fact is, outside of the KKK (Kucinich, Kerry, Kennedy), there is very little hue and cry in support of this effort either in Congress or from the left blogosphere. I just posted my thoughts on the issue ("Fixing Fairness - a modest technology solution.") , went looking for left links, and didn't find much out there. One notable exception is Taylor Marsh, who is a liberal talk show host and stands to gain personally from any reanimation of the fairness doctrine.

The simple reality, is that this is a one-sided debate, and most Dems agree with Reps on this issue. Looking at Daily Kos, I notice that there are a number of user diaries on the subject, but none promoted to the front page, and not one recent story on the front page on this subject. Has to mean that Kos & company don't think this is worth fighting. Blogger "South Dakota Moderate" hit the nail on the head:

As usual, all this Conservative “sky is falling” rhetoric is only telling a small part of the real story. Missing is the fact that Kucinich’s attempts to renew the Fairness Doctrine had almost zero support from the start. Missing is the fact that 2 weeks ago the Democratic controlled House voted 309-115 to bar the FCC from bringing it back as well

Sorry Jim. You got nobody to fight with on this one. disappointing I know.

Posted by davod | July 21, 2007 5:27 AM

I agree with Adjoran:

The numbers do not support the narrative.

If some Republicans were were not on the Senate floor, this defeat shows that, at the very least, Coleman and the Republican leadership did not work in concert on the important matter.

Posted by jafo | July 21, 2007 11:18 AM

Looking at the vote summary, 60 votes needed for approval. Bronback did not vote but that would have only given 50...the real loser to me is Clinton...she did not play like Obama and not vote even though she should have known she did not have to...so now she is on record as not wanting free speech and the free market system to determine the content of radio.

Posted by Ray | July 21, 2007 1:00 PM

I find it highly hypocritical of Kennedy for claiming that this amendment to the education bill was "insulting" as a means of delaying passage while he and the rest of the Democrats are attempting to attach a different amendment and just ran an "all-nigher" which is delaying the passage of the same bill.

I guess the Democrats are all for delaying the passage of a bill as long as THEY are the ones that use an amendment, or any other means, to accomplish that delay. Put the shoe upon the other foot, though, and suddeny it's an insult.

Posted by FedUp | July 23, 2007 1:25 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong (I dare ou!) but electronic media comes with an on/off switch. If you don't like what you hear, then TURN IT OFF! Could be why the leftiescan't keep as many talk shows on the radio as the as the righties (pun intended).