Thursday, February 12, 2009

Silencing the Watchmen

Columnist Jan Markell, Human Events magazine, and the National Religious Broadcasters are warning that the Obama administration may be preparing an assault on religious broadcasting through a return to the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."

Markell had this to say in a recent column:
America is changing at break-neck speed and many of the changes are not helpful! While Americans were eager for "change," it is doubtful they anticipated the loss of free speech.

So let me explain the unfair "Fairness Doctrine." My radio program, Understanding the Times, is in the target range.

The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) met last weekend in Memphis and according to President Frank Wright, experienced an ominous shroud cast by the issue of the "Fairness Doctrine." They intend to fight this issue as much as that is possible. However, they may not even be given the opportunity to fight it as they would wish.

In an article posted online by Human Events on February 6, "Christian broadcasters say they will be targeted once President Obama's appointees gain control of the Federal Communications Commission."

Warren Kelley, president of Point of View, the first Christian talk show to go on the air via satellite 37 years ago, states, "The Left Wing will immediately start filing complaints, and it will in short order shut Christian broadcasting down." He concludes, "I think it will so limit what they say that, in essence, they will cease to be Christian broadcasters."

NRB President Wright says that he expects Christian broadcasters to be hit hard because of the doctrine's requirement for so-called "balance."

Human Events has information that the Christian talk giant of Salem Communications may be the first targeted. Please note that I air on many Salem stations including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, and Portland. Salem's national talk show host Janet Parshall states, "What we want to do is tell the message of Jesus. What the 'Fairness Doctrine' would have us do is give equal time to Buddha, Allah and (Scientologist) L. Ron Hubbard." NRB President Wright backs that up by saying, "If an opposing view must be found for every matter of controversy, Christian broadcasters could find themselves in the unenviable and untenable position of seeking out other religious viewpoints - Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist - to counter what ministers of the gospel say on air."

Read the whole article.


Rick said...

Saw a bumper sticker on another blog. The text read:
"Cost of Freedom: Priceless
Cost of Obama: Freedom"

Seems harsh. Hopefully, time proves the sentiment to be apocryphal.

BillyD said...

Why would the Fairness Doctrine apply to religious broadcasting in the 21st century, when it certainly didn't in the 1980s? Anybody remember Pat Robertson having to give equal time to Muslims et al. on the 700 Club back then?

Robert S. Munday said...

The fairness doctrine in the 1980's did not mandate that producers of religious broadcasting had to allow for contrary viewpoints within the same program (such as Pat Robertson's 700 Club). But it did mandate that networks had to run programs that gave equal time to opposing views.

So imagine, today, when we have entire stations and networks run by Christians, supported by Christian donations, and devoted to Christian programming (see just one example-- if you don't know what such a station looks like) for Congress to require that air time be given to secular or other religious viewpoints. It would destroy the integrity of the position for which these stations and networks were founded.

The free market of ideas must be maintained: If people of other viewpoints want to start radio or TV stations, the FCC should let them. But they should not interfere in the decisions of individual stations as to what they must carry.