Written by Blue Ridge Forum
February 1, 2009
Killing Rush Softly with ‘Localism': The CIA-Censors Model
Our late colleague Jim Boulet last year unearthed the facts here and here and here on how the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) ‘localism' schemes could shut down or inhibit talk radio.
Last Thursday, Ishmael Jones, nom de plume of a former officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) clandestine service, gave his take on the danger radio ‘localism' poses to free political speech in his American Thinker article "What the CIA's Censors Can Teach Us about Plans to Muzzle Talk Radio" here.
Here is Ishmael Jones on this Administration and their possible ‘localism' approach to shutting down political speech on talk radio.
"Fortunately, the Fairness Doctrine is so obviously unconstitutional in the eyes of most Americans, so blatantly an attempt to block free speech, that it should be easy to defeat. Respect for the First Amendment is broad in American society - American soldiers fight to defend it, schoolchildren understand its importance. Happy warriors like Rush and Sean are already taking on the Fairness Doctrine with full confidence.
Smart politicians on the left know this and it's unlikely that a Rahm Emanuel, for example, would recommend support for heavy-handed attempts to censor conservative radio via a renewed Fairness Doctrine.
More likely is that the left will use the subtle, silent, and creeping tool of government bureaucracy to strangle conservative talk radio. The enforcement of ‘localism' regulations, as described in a 17 November 2008 American Thinker article by Jim Boulet, would use a system of complaints to the FCC and community advisory boards to attack conservative radio. A few tweaks in FCC regulations can require radio stations to submit time-wasting and expensive reports, hold public meetings, and create panels of local residents, led by community organizers, to evaluate programming. If the bureaucrats and peoples' panels are not pleased with a radio station's compliance, they'll be able to take away the station's license. The goal would be to attack conservative radio in obscurity, without an open showdown."
The former CIA officer explains how the CIA censors operate today and speculates on how any future FCC censors might do their job -
"The flaw in censors' strategy is that while they seek to stifle free speech, they are also reluctant to take steps that might draw more attention to it.
CIA censors have proven to be toothless when their bluff is called. They did not follow through on threats to prosecute because they fear prosecution would only bring more attention to the organization's corruption. Likewise, prosecution of conservative talk radio would only bring more attention to the views of conservative talk radio hosts. If censors decide to prosecute, they have to go to court, and censorship cannot win in open daylight, not in America.
The gatekeepers, the people who work as censors, didn't choose that line of work because they like to fight. They want to leave the office at five o'clock and get home. Go right at them and they'll fold.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to defy government, conservative talk radio is in an excellent position to fight back, raising the voices of free speech, bringing even more attention to the vitality of the American experiment, and defending American freedom."