Free Speech Under Attack in Sac

by CalWatchdog Staff | March 28, 2012 8:31 am

Katy Grimes: Silencing dissenting political opinions is a tactic used throughout history when one political party dominates. In Democratically-dominated California, some on the left are trying to gin up interest in silencing talk radio.

Across the U.S., there have been frequent discussions and even attempts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine[1], an FCC-imposed law which was supposedly designed to ensure that broadcasters addressed political issues with a full spectrum of opinion. But it did not work, and was eliminated in 1987 during the Reagan Administration.


Currently, the left is going after Clear Channel Comunications[3], the parent company of thousands of radio stations across the country. Clear Channel also just happens to broadcast talk show personality Rush Limbaugh.

If you google “Clear Channel and Rush Limbaugh[4],” stories from the left calling for Clear Channel to drop Limbaugh’s show from the airwaves dominate the story choices.

“In Sacramento, Clear Channel Communications broadcasts about 190 hours per week of one-sided political talk over three giant stations, KFBK-AM, KGBY-FM and AMFM Holding’s KSTE-AM,” Sue Wilson wrote[5] last Sunday in the Sacramento Bee opinion pages. Wilson is a  former local NPR radio host, is clearly politically liberal, and started the Media Action Center[6], a group which appears to have been created solely to target Clear Channel.

Wilson wrote[5] unabashedly that Clear Channel is violating “the First Amendment[7] rights of all who equally own the public airwaves, disagree with right-wing politics, but are not allowed to be heard at all. It is a matter of access, says the Supreme Court.[8]”

Under the guise of “it’s not fair,” Wilson complained loudly in her op ed that while the First Amendment[7] is practiced in broadcasting, Clear Channel “broadcasters are stamping out the rights of liberals” through talk radio, and the dominance of more conservative radio programs.

Wilson lives and works in Democratically controlled California — a veritable feeding ground for left-leaning politicians, and comfortable home to Democratic politics. It doesn’t get any easier for a liberal than California. Yet, Wilson complained loudly that conservative talk radio dominates the talk radio format. But her argument was devoid of reason — she apparently forgot to demand equal time for liberals and conservatives on television and in print.

Ignoring for a moment, supply and demand economics and how the free market works, this is not a new issue for Wilson. She has publicly whined about the unfairness[9] of talk radio for years, which is somewhat surprising since she worked for Capitol Public Radio in Sacramento, an NPR affiliate that does very well.

The first thing listed on her Media Action Group[10] website, is a demand to boycott Rush Limbaugh advertisers. However, I dare to suggest that Wilson has figured out that she can promote herself in liberal circles by continually attaching her name to Limbaugh’s. There’s no one more polarizing to liberal media folk than Limbaugh.

Liberal radio is not only a financial failure, it’s boring. But more importantly, by working as a shill for the Fairness Doctrine, Wilson is in effect demanding that the government force Clear Channel, a private business, to carry a product that people don’t want to buy.

Clear Channel is in business to make a profit. So was Air America[11], but Air America was unable to make a go of it. Clear Channel has gone out of its way, at great expense, to sign big talk show names, and has invested significantly in radio stations, radio personalities and programs.

I don’t have a beef with any talk radio, and don’t feel threatened by liberal or conservative shows competing. But Wilson only complained about three of the six stations operated by Clear Channel in the Sacramento area – only the three stations which broadcast conservative talk radio. The Sacramento market isn’t huge, at only about 50 radio stations. The two Clear Channel stations which broadcast Limbaugh, are ranked only 7th and 17th in the Sacramento market.

But Wilson ignored Salem Broadcasting, which operates several radio stations in Sacramento, and broadcasts conservatives Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt, as well as Christian radio.

The beauty of the free market is that we can either tune into another radio program or turn the radio off. Dictating that Clear Channel cut some Limbaugh programming for alternative, progressive radio is a very dangerous statist policy, and should be fought, whether we like Limbaugh’s show or not.

But that’s not enough for Wilson — she thinks that she, Democrats and the government should be able to dictate just how much conservative radio is broadcast.

The Liberal agenda already controls the majority of media through television news, newspapers, and news shows. The entertainment industry is dominated by the liberal agenda, which slants most movies and television to the left, and regularly rewrites history. However, if you don’t like a television show or movie, you can turn it off and seek out something more to yor liking.

“Yes, it is censorship for the government to tell hosts what they may or may not say,” Wilson wrote. “But when Clear Channel puts one political point of view on our public airwaves to the exclusion of all others, that is private censorship.”

We need more speech, not less, as Wilson calls for. This is where liberals prove that they are not selling free speech for all — they want free speech for themselves, and silence for the rest of the talkers.

MAR. 28, 2012

  1. Fairness Doctrine:
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  3. Clear Channel Comunications:
  4. oogle “Clear Channel and Rush Limbaugh:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=97b893ac5db2d6bb
  5. wrote:
  6. Media Action Center:
  7. First Amendment:
  8. Supreme Court.:
  9. about the unfairness:
  10. Media Action Group:
  11. Air America:

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