The Technology Liberation Front Turns 5

Once in a while I like to point out a good website to my readers (reader?). Yesterday, The Technology Liberation Front turned 5 years old. Put simply, this is the best site on the Internet if you want to learn about technology and communication law issues like the Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality, what the FCC is up to, and so on. Let by Adam Thierer, these are some of the best minds in the Blogosphere. Definitely worth your time.


Fairness Doctrine Through The Back Door

Forget the Fairness Doctrine or even Net Neutrality…the real road to censorship is “diversity.” Hot Air has the scoop on President Obama’s new “Diversity Czar” that calls for private broadcasting companies to fund public broadcasting.

Left Laments Free Flow Of Information

My current man-crush, Daniel Hannan, has been surprised by the overwhelming response to his viral YouTube video that showed him giving Prime Minister Gordon Brown an epic verbal smack-down. Naturally, many of his political adversaries are annoyed by this rise in popularity using the Internet (emphasis mine):

Peter Wilby thinks I’m “a fool”. According to the former editor of the New Statesman: “The online success of Daniel Hannan’s speech about Gordon Brown to the European Parliament – it reached the top of YouTube’s ‘Most Viewed’ list and has ‘gone viral’ – proves what we knew: the internet lacks quality control.”
Yup. That’s the thing about the internet: it turns the quality filters off. Until very recently, few of us could get political news direct from source. It had to be interpreted for us by a BBC man with a microphone or a newspaper’s political correspondent. Now, though, people can make their own minds up. The message has been disintermediated.

Not to belabor the point, but the Fairness Doctrine, or “diversity” in media, is all about silencing views one group doesn’t like. Internet videos and blogs are just today’s version of pamphleteers.

Fairness Doctrine Battle In The Senate

Today there were two Fairness Doctrine votes in the Senate. One by Republican Jim DeMint to get the Democrats on record. Most of them lied as the vote was 87-11 in favor of the amendment that bans the Fairness Doctrine from being resurrected.

The real story was in the Durbin amendment which reads:

“To encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership, and to ensure that the public airwaves are used in the public interest.”

This also passed, but with a straight party-line vote of 57-41 (Ted Kennedy is, of course, not there and the Minnesota seat is still open), even the wonder-twins from Maine saw this for what it is: a backdoor entrance to bringing back the Fairness Doctrine without using the words “fairness” or “doctrine.”

Rush Limbaugh explained on his show today:

There are laws about cross-ownership of newspapers, television stations, radio stations in the same market, and some companies have expanded their radio holdings, they’ve had to divest a TV station in the market or a newspaper or what have you. There isn’t a company in violation of the law right now in terms of diversity in ownership. What Durbin wants to do is force additional minority ownership and then the local ownership, the new diversity ownership will then say, “You know, I don’t care whether the Limbaugh show is making a lot of money, I don’t want it on my station. I’m going to put on whatever I’m going to put on.” That’s the objective, and the words fairness and the words doctrine are never used. This is just one of the three branches. Then, after they get diversity in ownership, minority diversity ownership, then will come the local content rules, which I’m sure Durbin will then say, “Well, those rules are already on the books, too, we gotta start enforcing, nothing unconstitutional, communistic or socialistic about this. I mean, Pol Pot never even did this, and the gulags, and our people at Club Gitmo. This is perfectly within the grounds of the Constitution.” So we’re just going to enforce the local content rules which are going to say that 90% of a station’s programming must be local.

The war continues.

Mr. President, Keep The Airwaves Free

Rush Limbaugh tries to prove that sometimes the pen is mightier than the microphone as he presents a column in the Wall Street Journal:

Dear President Obama:

I have a straightforward question, which I hope you will answer in a straightforward way: Is it your intention to censor talk radio through a variety of contrivances, such as “local content,” “diversity of ownership,” and “public interest” rules — all of which are designed to appeal to populist sentiments but, as you know, are the death knell of talk radio and the AM band?

You have singled me out directly, admonishing members of Congress not to listen to my show. Bill Clinton has since chimed in, complaining about the lack of balance on radio. And a number of members of your party, in and out of Congress, are forming a chorus of advocates for government control over radio content. This is both chilling and ominous.


No More Fairness Doctrine Denials

Via Hot Air:

WALLACE: Will you rule out reimposing the Fairness Doctrine?

AXELROD: I’m going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC, to, and the president, to discuss. So I don’t have an answer for you now.

Rush has been saying recently that these people are going to eventually overreach and pay a price at a polls. I tend to be more pessimistic in that regard. We’ll see.