The Queen of Censorship is Back

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With the obvious attack on Liberty minded people blatant and obvious from the administration’s attack on journalist and the obvious attack on Liberty groups by the IRS, the attack on right minded people continues.

Sue Wilson is renewing her attack on Conservative talk radio.  Of course she again shows her ignorance of both Constitutional law and broadcast rules and regulations.  She bases her arguments on the first amendment ignoring the fact that all of the “Bill of Rights” put limitations on the government and not private individuals or businesses.

President Obama recently nominated Tom Wheeler as the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal agency tasked with protecting the public interest in broadcasting, particularly over our public airwaves. . . . Such selective private censorship over our public airwaves violates not only the First Amendment — by denying certain individuals free speech — but also the “Zapple Doctrine,” a little known FCC rule (also called the quasi-equal opportunities rule) that requires stations to provide comparable time for supporters of both political parties when it is requested.

The following is the first amendment that she refers to emphasis mine for the constitutionally challenged like Sue.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The “Zapple doctrine” that she refers to was an offshoot of the “Fairness doctrine” that was found unconstitutional. It pertains to time purchased on the air and has no bearing on the editorial content of the talk shows.  What she fails to mention that the FCC already informed her of that fact!

For the Zapple Doctrine to be invoked, the supporters of the opposing candidate would have to specifically ask the station for air time.  If the station refused, the supporters could then appeal to the FCC, but no such Zapple complaint has been made in at least eight years.  Therefore, there was no violation of the Zapple Doctrine by the stations here, and even if there were, that would not be a basis for the denial of a license renewal, since programming has nothing to do with licensing in the first place.(Emphasis mine)

She also makes the socialist/communist claim that the government owns the airwaves and therefore by extension the radio stations themselves.

But broadcasting, local radio and TV, is a  public/private partnership:  the public owns the airwaves needed for transmission;  private business own the buildings, equipment, etc. needed to broadcast programming.   When private business goes into broadcasting, it makes a deal with the public:  a free license from the Federal Communication Commission – if it agrees to “serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”

Again wrong Sue, the FCC is a regulatory agency that regulates all modern forms of electronic communications eg radio/TV, telephone and even the internet, is it your assertion that they own these too and can dictate content?

Can You show under what constitutional authority this ownership was taken or show documentation of this ownership?

Name any forms of governments that dictate the content of the media, are any of them not totalitarian?

Then she goes on to make the claim that the entire industry is racist/sexist without showing how any female or minority group has been denied the right to buy or own a radio station.

However, just because that restriction is built into the law does not mean the FCC will necessarily either enforce or obey it. (For example, on issues of the lack of women and minorities having access to radio licenses,

Broadcasting like any business is competitive and unless you have a customer base you can’t survive.  The success of any radio station depends on the number of listeners. The arbitron shows the number of listeners and the success of radio.  The market that she attacked is in the Milwaukee Area and the minority viewpoint was unsuccessfully represented.

The Milwaukee radio station WMCS-AM (1290) has served the city’s African-American radio audience for more than two decades with a variety of popular on-air hosts and personalities.

Black talk radio is a vibrant force in town, particularly during local elections, but the city’s two black-owned radio stations have always been challenged by economic realities that made the going tough. (The other station is  WNOV-AM 860, which still offers talk radio.)

The general manager at the company that runs WMCS chalked up a drastic decision to end the all-talk format on most days to strictly business. “Radio stations have to make money and serve the community,” said Bill Horwitz, vice president and general manager of the Milwaukee Radio Alliance.

The bottom line is that no one wants to listen to the pabulum spewed by leftist like Sue, The ratings of The Rachel Maddow show are a clear indication of this.  Free Markets are the ultimate form of Democracy, you the listener get to decide what you listen to.  The enemies of freedom would deny you of that right.

Cowards at Voices! (MAC)

2 Comments


The leftist rag out of Madison called Voices deleted the majority of my posts yesterday. I of course don’t try to hide my bias as I clearly state in my about page “MY BIAS”

Marshall Keith a Libertarian who is fighting the abuse of power by modern day progressives of both parties. Marshall is a lifelong Broadcast Engineer.

Of course the Conservative talk show hosts attacked by MAC are open about their bias.  The stations bill them as that and that is what they are selling.  Here is just one of the Talk show hosts attacked.

Vicki calls herself a “converted conservative”, which she credits to her upbringing and a conversation with former Congressman Mark Neumann in her early days of reporting.  Her conservative ideology has been honed and refined over the years; now, Vicki passionately advocates a conservative point-of-view on social and political issues, as well as matters dealing with pop culture and everyday life.
Read more: http://www.newstalk1130.com/pages/mckenna_biopage.html#ixzz2DjfPiLVJ

As opposed to Voices page.

Madison Voices was launched in 2005 as the Allied-Dunns Marsh Community newsletter. We have since expanded our scope, reach, and coverage. We now publish a 16 page paper each month that is posted on our website (www.madisonvoices.com) and we will use this blog to share content and resources between the print editions. “We are each others most valuable resource”. Please join us and let your voice be heard. (Emphasis mine)

It is their paper and they are free to do as they choose, but the hypocrisy is glaring when it comes to the topic we were discussing. They posted three times in one week a leftist activist group (Media Action Center) attempt to shut down right wing talk radio. They did this on November 20, November 25 and November 26.  The actions of MAC are fighting against exactly the rights that this leftist rag are exercising and a right guaranteed by the “First Amendment” right to freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The thrust of Sue Wilson’s argument is the People aka the government owns the airwaves.  This argument is patently false.  The FCC is a regulatory body and even they don’t claim ownership.  Yes like almost all businesses in America broadcast radio is regulated.  The fact that it is a regulatory body is clearly stated on the FCC’s website.

The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and operates as an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress.

It is common knowledge that the majority of the media has a left wing bias, the only place that the right wing dominates is AM talk radio and of course she excludes them from the fight.

Dave F. said

NOV 20, 2012 AT 4:31 PM

Sue. Go get a life. This country is based on free speech. Except obviously when a slimy liberal doesn’t like it. I don’t see you trying to silence MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and every other obvious liberal pandering news outlet.

Sue Wilson said

NOV 20, 2012 AT 4:55 PM

Dave, why are you so intent on silencing anything but right-wing views from the airwaves we ALL own? We all don’t own Msnbc or FOX, that’s private enterprise. We DO own CBS and ABC local stations, and if you don’t like what they are doing, prove it and complain to them and the FCC. It’s your right!

Come on Sue can you show ownership of either WTMJ  or WISN?  Yes they are regulated by the FCC as are both satellite and cable.  Even the newswires used by newsprint are regulated by them.  All of the Cable stations get their programming via satellite who’s frequencies are far less then terrestrial.  How may terrestrial licences are there vs satellite.  Can you show ownership of either of the above stations?

All of Fairness Doctrine was found unconstitutional by either the courts or the FCC and was abolished, an offshoot (the Zapple Doctrine) remains.  But as I pointed out to Sue,  Zapple only applies to time bought on the station and not to the time that the pundits spend editorializing (which is covered by freedom of the press.  I posted the following from the renowned FCC attorney.

The abolition of the Fairness Doctrine also allowed broadcasters to editorialize, even endorsing candidates for political office without having to give the opponent of their favored candidate equal time, just like print media can do.(Emphasis mine) Similarly, a station can take a position on a ballot issue, or on another controversial issue of public importance in their communities without having to provide time to those with opposing viewpoints – allowing stations to fully participate in their communities political life.  Under the Fairness Doctrine, stations even had to give time to those with viewpoints opposed to parties who bought time on a controversial issue if the opponents could not themselves afford to buy time.  The occasional discussion of reviving the Fairness Doctrine ignores these issues. . . . so no decision was released as to whether the Zapple Doctrine had continuing validity after the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine.   Presumably, this policy, even if still valid, would not be applied to talk shows, as the statements of talk show hosts, while certainly biased and pointed in one political direction or another, rarely state outright “go vote for candidate X.” (again emphasis mine)

This is not the first time the left has attacked talk radio Mark Lloyd Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer concocted a plain to force talk radio to subsidize public radio.

The above arguments were deleted but the one that remained brought ad hominem attacks from both Sue and another poster.

Sue Wilson Reports said…

Dear Marshall of Media Trackers,

Let me share some of what’s been said on my blog about this (readers may find the exchange here: http://www.suewilsonreports.com/2012/11/media-action-center-files-legal-action.html ) . . .

In fairness to Sue, she has not censored my comments on her blog, Voices did on theirs. Of course this is still ad-homenem. She can’t show that I am in any way affiliated with Media Trackers and has no bearing on the issues at hand.  But hey I am a Libertarian and by extension one of those “evil capitalist” so hey Media Trackers, if you want to send some money my way, well I won’t turn it down.

The funniest ad-hominem attack came from Proud Badger.

Proud Badger said…

WOW, marshall, you are one scary irrational dude — clicked through to your blog.

Now I know why you post rambling nonsense here about MAC and Ms. Wilson — evidently, you haven’t learned how to organize a train of thought which is why your blog is one massive scroll of rambling.

So how’d that smokin’ ban thing work out fer?

And why do you hate America and the freedoms men and women died for? Freedoms like the right to vote and be represented in a democracy instead of corporate rule?

Don’t you know U.S. history? The American Revolution was to throw the Wal-Mart of its day, East India Tea Company off the back of the colonies because excessive tax breaks and monopoly powers undermined the freedoms of the those living under multinational corporate rule.

Why do you hate Madison, Wisconsin, and the United States of America?

Of course this person shows a leftist revisionist view of history but ignores the fact that we are in fact a “Constitutional Republic” not a “Democracy” and I suggested he/she look at another of my blogposts.  I also asked the question does badger hate all corporations or only those he disagreed with and pointed out the fact that MAC was probably a 501c corporation and that Voices was probably a corporation.  But then the state of Wisconsin is in fact a corporation.

Unless you get vulger or attack another poster (other then me) I do not censor my blog.  But then I don’t pretend to be unbiased and don’t put ” Please join us and let your voice be heard.” on my page.

 

Update

Being active in the fight against smoking bans, I am use to the ad hominem attacks to divert attention from the topic at hand.  And of course it didn’t take long for it to raise it’s ugly head.

Anonymous said…

Isn’t media trackers a couple of guys not-so secretly paid to write stuff by rich benefactors? Franklin, McIver, American Majority are some of the sugar daddies of these pay-for-propaganda writers.

If you read about them by Daniel Bice of JSOnline, you can judge their cred yourself: http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/noquarter/127152603.html

Maybe Marshall and Aue can model what an out-in-the open debate looks like so we can all benefit from both perspectives?

Come on, is that the only tactic the left has when losing an argument?

Zapple Doctrine

50 Comments


Last week I posted two responses to a blog at the Daily Kos done by Sue Wilson. Where she stated that;

Next Tuesday, we will have a press conference to announce the results of our monitoring of WISN and WTMJ talk radio shows. I can’t give you details until then, but suffice it to say those stations think they don’t have to give comparable time when they really do.

Well they released the results I will not get into the results because they do not matter, that’s right Sue THEY DO NOT MATTER! Here is the intro;

Starting May 9th, the first day of what has become known as the Scott Walker recall campaign, members of the Media Action Center Wisconsin monitored the five “Conservative” Talk Radio programs aired in prime dayparts in the Milwaukee radio market. The shows include those hosted by Mark Belling, Vicki McKenna, and Jay Weber on WISN, the 50,000 watt radio station licensed to Clear Channel, and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner on WTMJ, the 50,000 watt radio station licensed to Journal Communications. Both stations are called “News Talk” by their corporate owners. Both reach far beyond the city of their license, into most of the state of Wisconsin and beyond.

At the end she gets to the point of this whole exercise.

3) Determine whether the talk programs qualify as “bonafide news” per FCC requirements for exemptions for comparable time under Section 315(a) of the Communications Act or under the FCC’s “Quasi-Equal Opportunities” rule, known as the Zapple Doctrine.
Section 315 (a) of the Communications Act imposes Equal Opportunities for candidates on broadcast stations. It says that (a) If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station. If a program is considered “bonafide news” they are exempt from this rule.
I highlighted the pertinent section in red, neither she or her group is a candidate so she does not qualify for equal time, free or otherwise even if her complaints were valid. But then here complaints are not valid. this is from a broadcasting guide done by an award winning FCC attorney.

What is a “bona fide news or news interview program”?
Obviously, news programs and news interview programs, like “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation,” are bona fide news interview programs. But, in recent years, the FCC has liberalized the definition of a news
interview program to include programs that may be primarily entertainment, but which regularly feature
discussions with newsmakers. The Howard Stern program and that of Don Imus, have both been declared by the FCC to be bona fide news interview programs when there was an interview with a candidate,
controlled and directed by the station.

But then again only the candidate can demand equal time!
On to her main complaint about partisanship she herself called both stations “Conservative Talk radio “ and that is exactly what they are, they don’t hide their bias as a matter of fact if you click on the bio’s of the first three people that she named they proudly advertise that fact, that is why people tune in! Are they violating the law by doing this, hell no! again from a renowned FCC Attorney.

How is it that these programs can take political positions without triggering requirements that opposing candidates get equal time? Under FCC rules, unless a candidate’ recognizable voice or image is broadcast by a station, there is no right to equal opportunities. In the past, until the FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine by declaring it to be unconstitutional, even without a candidate appearance, the station would have had an obligation to give both sides of a controversial issue of public importance, such as an election, free time to respond to on-air statements by an announcer. When the doctrine was abolished, stations were free to air pointed programs taking positions on issues, giving rise initially principally to the conservative commentators, and more recently to their more liberal counterparts such as those heard on Air America radio.

The abolition of the Fairness Doctrine also allowed broadcasters to editorialize, even endorsing candidates for political office without having to give the opponent of their favored candidate equal time, just like print media can do. Similarly, a station can take a position on a ballot issue, or on another controversial issue of public importance in their communities without having to provide time to those with opposing viewpoints – allowing stations to fully participate in their communities political life. Under the Fairness Doctrine, stations even had to give time to those with viewpoints opposed to parties who bought time on a controversial issue if the opponents could not themselves afford to buy time. The occasional discussion of reviving the Fairness Doctrine ignores these issues.

So no they are not violating the law or the FCC rules. People tune in to “Conservative Talk Radio” for exactly that reason, to get it from a Conservative viewpoint just as the Progressives tune in to the “Ed Shultz Show” which I might add are bound by the same FCC rules, yet she failed to study or show the obvious bias of that show.

She also claims to have made a formal complaint to the FCC the link to the formal complaint is broken so here is what I could get from her site.

Minutes ago, I filed a formal complaint on behalf of citizens of Wisconsin with the FCC concerning Milwaukee’s WTMJ and WISN radio.

Both stations are violating the FCC’s Quasi-Equal Opportunities Doctrine (Zapple Doctrine) which provides that if a radio station gives free airtime to supporters of one major political party candidate, it must provide comparable time to supporters of the other major political party candidate.

Supporters of Tom Barrett are demanding their rights in the remaining days of the Scott Walker recall election, and we have asked the FCC to intervene immediately.

Get real Sue, you can stomp your feet and hold your breath but the First Amendment still stands.

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press . . . which is why the “Fairness doctrine was shot down it’s un-Constitutional, period. But these little crybabies don’t want equal speech otherwise they would buy their own radio station. That is what the Zapple Doctrine was about, buying time on stations but these little crybabies want it free as can be seen from their video.

Again the Zapple Doctrine is about buying time on a station period as FCC attorney David Oxenford writes.

The Zapple case, as we wrote here and here, held that where supporters of a candidate are allowed to buy time on a station, supporters of the opposing candidate should also be allowed to buy roughly equivalent amounts of time.

Here is yet another source on the Zapple Doctrine.

C. The Zapple Doctrine
The Zapple Doctrine, named for a case brought by Nicholas Zapple, then-Chief Counsel for the Senate Communications Subcommittee, is a principle describing what has been termed a ―quasi equal opportunity‖ for third party supporters of a political candidate.61 The Commission created this doctrine to deal with potential political imbalances that could be brought about by the influence of third party supporters of candidates seeking to enhance a candidate‘s campaign but seeking to avoid triggering the equal opportunities provided to opposing candidates by Section 315.62 The Zapple Doctrine does not entitle supporters of a candidate to buy the same amount of air time as opposing third parties, but rather entitles a supporter of a candidate an opportunity to buy comparable air time.63 The anti-censorship provisions of Section 315 do not apply in this context.64 Similarly, the immunities granted to broadcasters of defamatory political speech do not appear to extend to third party advertisements aired pursuant to the Zapple Doctrine, as access to the station would not be pursuant to either Section 312 or Section 315.65

So no matter how they try to spin it, the Zapple Doctrine applies to buying time on a station. the equal access rules apply to candidates only!

This is nothing more than a feeble attempt to backdoor the unconstitutional “fairness doctrine” and silence speech they find objectionable.

I also see Sue that your site says that the FCC acknowleges this!

Surprisingly, given the general lack of response by the FCC to the general public, the federal agency instantly responded to a March 10th letter from Roger Smith, of the broadcast watchdog Sacramento Media Group. Smith complained about the gross imbalance of political viewpoints on the public airwaves in Sacramento, citing a study that Clear Channel stations in Sacramento devote 190 hours per week to Right Wing talk, while devoting not a single minute to any other viewpoint (a model perpetuated throughout 90% of the country.)
.
The FCC responded with the following: “…broadcast stations enjoy freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and the FCC is prohibited by statute from censoring or dictating program content. The result is that stations are free to air pretty much whatever they want (short of obscenity or indecency) – even if the material is false, misleading, or slanted

.”