The Queen of Censorship is Back

2 Comments


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.

Advertisements

Media Action Center “The Empire Strikes Back”

4 Comments


It appears the leftist group “Media Action Center” Lost it bid to stifle free speech by using the Zapple doctrine to back door the Fairness Doctrine back into existence. In her blog post Sue Wilson (the founder of Media Action Center) made the claim that I did not know the FCC rules.

 WI Broadcasters Assn knows the rules, don’t you? (1+ / 0-)

See pages 5 and 6.

http://www.gklaw.com/…

By the way, I have been a broadcaster – a NEWS broadcaster since 1987.  Emmy’s, AP, RTNDA awards…  I do get things right.

by Sue Wilson on Mon May 21, 2012 at 03:51:16 PM PDT

To Which I responded.

You conveniently ignore the fact that on page four (of your document)  section C  The equal opportunities requirement applies to “legally qualified candidates”   and section D that only opposing candidates are afforded equal time.

In another blog post Mz Wilson was forced to admit that I was in fact correct.

 [new]  Section 315 A Communications Act (3+ / 0-)

This law does say equal time for major party candidates only.  I disagree with that law, but for now, if I can at least get the Democrats represented on radio in the 60 days before an election, rather than Republicans only, that’s a really good start.

by Sue Wilson on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:33:31 PM PDT

But the attack on freedom of speech doesn’t end there.  The Empire has literally struck back with a petition campaign. Of course they make the socialist claim that the “Airwaves are government owned” with the following statement from the petition.

The Media Action Center (“MAC”) and local Milwaukee area residents and members of MAC Ray Grosch and Randall Bryce (declarations attached),oppose the renewal of the broadcast license of station WISN-AM  (“Station”) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,  because existing management is failing to serve the public interest in the community, and is using the publicly owned airwaves with political intent which violates existing FCC rules.  Renewal of said license would detrimentally and irreparably harm the public.

Of course that statement is patently false.  It is true that like many industries Radio is heavily regulated, regulation does not mean ownership!  The vast majority of the regulations are in effect to keep stations from interfering with each other or putting up an even larger transmitter that would overpower smaller stations.  The fact that the Fairness Doctrine was found unconstitutional shows that the government does not have control over content.

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.

In the petition Sue makes the following argument.

According to the FCC, programs must meet three tests to be considered “bonafide news.”  The program must be regularly scheduled, producers must be in control of guests and content, and the program must be non-partisan, not supporting any candidates.

As I pointed out in a previous blog post she is yet again dead wrong. She as most leftist claim to support the “First Amendment” ignore and bastardize it’s intent.

First Amendment

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.

By dictating content they are infringing on the rights of the broadcasters right to free speech and the freedom of the press. As pointed out earlier print media has always had the right to endorse a candidate and it is worth repeating.

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.

The “First Amendment” prohibits the federal government from interfering with the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Compelled speech is just as much an infringement as much as a denial of speech. Here is Judge Andrew Nepolitano’s take on it.

On the other hand, if our rights come from our humanity and our humanity is a gift from God, then we would still enjoy the freedom of speech, whether it is insulated from government interference by the First Amendment or not. The wording of the First Amendment itself gives us a peek at what its authors thought. They wrote: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” It doesn’t say that Congress shall grant freedom of speech; rather, it prohibits Congress from interfering with it. And by referring to free speech as the freedom of speech, the drafters recognized that the freedom of speech already existed before the country that they were founding even came to be.

Of course Sue like all leftist concentrated on the “Scott Walker recall” ignoring the fact that Obama won the election proving that Conservative radio does not have the negative impact that they claim.  They just did not make their case to the public through their outlets.  Their Hypocrisy is also apparent in the fact that they do not hold left wing talk radio to the same standard. Ed Schultz was camped out in Wisconsin pushing for the leftist agenda.

Yet another “Progressive blogger” used similar arguments.

In a statement to Badger Democracy, Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski raised grave concern over this practice:

If it is not illegal it certainly is unethical for these broadcast corporations to be providing propaganda support in a scheme straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook. The employers at WTMJ and the other stations should explain how they are independent of the Walker administration and how their hours and hours of slavishly positive-and now, we see, coordinated-coverage fits within their own ethical guidelines and the rules and laws of Wisconsin and the United States.
The idea that the government can so directly control broadcasters who use public airwaves represents a major crisis for Wisconsin journalism.
A fellow member of “Media Action Center” Andrew defended Sue with the following comment.

AndrewR
Jun 14, 2012 @ 03:59:43 [Edit]

I seriously doubt that.
a) Even during the election cycles, the shows are free to be as partisan and one-sided as always whenever the topic is not about that current election.
b) How could constructive debate of both sides put them out of business? In fact, some of the most exciting and entertaining radio is when both sides are allowed to hash it out together. Why is WISN and WTMJ so afraid of that?
Progressive talk shows already have plenty of conservative guests on for debate. Take for example, http://www.thomhartmann.com/
3 million+ listeners tune in to hear him debate multiple conservative guests on almost every show. Why can’t Belling, Sykes, or McKenna do that?

Here is a classic example of Thom’s fair and balanced approach to Journalism.

Of course you don’t see Libertarians like me or even Conservatives calling for these shows taken off the air.  But then you don’t see any of us using class warfare,gender warfare or race baiting to make our case.  But there are warnings from the past on those that do.

Of course it is not only free speech that these “Progressives” are going after.  Your privacy is at stake.

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

Revised bill highlights

✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans’ electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans’ correspondence stored on systems not offered “to the public,” including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant — or subsequent court review — if they claim “emergency” situations exist.

✭ Says providers “shall notify” law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they’ve been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to “10 business days.” This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.

Update

I have frequently pointed out in the past that no one listens to liberal radio, that’s why Air America failed!  They were both in the progressive areas of Wisconsin and Milwaukee and yet they failed.  Freedom of choice dictates that if you don’t like the content you simply change the dial!

Rush put it eloquently.

RUSH:  All right, a couple more little blurbs here.  Sacramento Bee, Sue Wilson: “Considering a 2003 Gallup poll showing that 22 percent of Americans get their information from talk radio, we’re not just talking about what is fair play; we are talking about a threat to the democracy we hold dear.”  Lib talk radio dying. Lib talk radio “has been taken off the air in Boston; Fresno; San Diego; Madison, Wis.; Eugene, Ore.; Austin, Texas; New Haven, Conn.; Columbus, Ohio and other markets all across the country,” because it failed, because it got no listeners.  But yet there’s this 2003 Gallup poll showing that “22% of Americans get their information from talk radio.  We’re not just talking about what’s fair play.

He also said;

Let me answer your question, Sue. Corporate dollars are not the sole arbiter of what information you the people get to hear on publicly owned airwaves. Your little lib station, your little lib programming has had a couple of opportunities in Sacramento. Nobody wanted to listen to it. Corporations are not required to lose money in order to present a point of view and in such a way that irritates people just so there is so-called fairness.

 

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

.”

Standing Up For Our Rights In RADIO?

2 Comments


Sue Wilson over at DAILY KOS shows ignorance of both broadcasting and the law.

She writes;

But what Holden may or may not have known is that, in the 60 days prior to an election, if broadcasters sell or give time to one major political party candidate or its supporters, they must, by law, offer comparable time to the opposing major political party candidate or its supporters. (See Section 315a of the Communications Act and the Zapple Doctrine.)

I am a life long broadcaster who has held just about every position in the industry save GM. I am very acquainted with the FCC rules. For one thing yes there are equal time rules under certain circumstances, talk radio is not one of those circumstances an that time is granted to its supporters. Need proof, well here are those instances where equal time is afforded.

Section 315 [47 U.S.C. §315] Facilities for candidates for public office.
(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: Provided, That such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast under the provision of this section. No obligation is hereby imposed under this subsection upon any licensee to allow the use of its station by any such candidate. Appearance by a legally qualified candidate on any –
(1) bona fide newscast,
(2) bona fide news interview,
(3) bona fide news documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary), or
(4) on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events
So newsflash Sue, talkshow hosts are NOT candidates and do NOT constitute time given to a political canadate.

There was a parallel provision that was repealed in the 80’s called the “fairness doctrine” but as Dan Fletcher at Time magazine points out, that did not apply to talk show hosts either!

The act is rooted in the media world of 1949, when lawmakers became concerned that by virtue of their near-stranglehold on nationwide TV broadcasting, the three main television networks — NBC, ABC and CBS — could misuse their broadcast licenses to set a biased public agenda. . . .
Both sides are likely overstating the doctrine’s import. Even if it were to return, liberals would have a hard time co-opting the Fairness Doctrine to limit conservative talk radio to the degree they might like. The FCC has never applied the Fairness Doctrine to a talk radio host, nor does the regulation force stations to give equal time for every perspective.



Of course people vote every day by engaging the RF filter in the first stage of their radio receiver (commonly known as the tuner) These votes are regularly recorded and published in what we in the business affectionately call “the book” which the public knows as the Arbitron. That vote even took place in your beloved “Peoples Republic of Madison” where you were soundly trounced.

By electing to tune into a conservative talk station I choose to hear views from that perspective. I choose who enters my home by virtue of that choice. What Mz Wilson proposes is that she has the right to force me to listen to her views.

Of course logic and reason escape these people, the people who elect to listen to conservative talk radio have already made up their mind. You people have already shown up at TEA Party events with your noisemakers and megaphones, how’s that working for you, get many converts. As my seventh grade science teacher use to say, “The empty barrel makes the most noise.” And what noise you people make. You remind me of the spoiled little kid in the store having a tantrum because mommy won’t buy you that toy. You think that if you get on a conservative talk show and you whine enough and make enough noise that you will make converts?

Of course your hypocracy is amazing. You make the claim of scarcity and that you lack an outlet to be heard.. Your words.

Broadcasting also differs from newspapers and cable in that the number of frequencies available in one community are few, so only a limited number of local stations are possible. Physical scarcity is the foundation of all broadcast law.

  1. In case you didn’t know it there are approximately 14,000 stations in the United States as opposed to how many cable stations? You see Mz Wilson all cable is provided via satellite delivery and that bandwidth is even more limited. So when you get your talking heads at MSNBC to give equal time and access to liberty minded TEA Party Libertarians such as myself, then and only then will I believe that you believe in equal access. When you demand that the likes of Mr Ed (the horses . . . Well you know) Shultz give equal time to the likes of Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, then and only then will you have any credibility.. When you get the Main Stream Media to treat us TEA party patriots with the same reverence as they do you Fleabaggers in the Occupy movement, well then and only then will you have any credibility. Until then you will come across as the spoiled little brats that you are, those that demand access to someone else’s time on someone else’s dime. And that your true goal is not the promotion of free speech, but to stifle opposing speech, but then we know your kind.

z

UPDATE