It goes hand in hand with the administration’s “democratizing” plans.
Popular speech and political dissent have proved troublesome to President Barack Obama since the very beginning of his term in office. The Obama Administration began waging war on the minority of media outlets that did not worship at his altar immediately after he was sworn in. Just three days into his presidency Obama warned Congressional Republicans against listening to radio host Rush Limbaugh.
In April, Obama responded to a sycophantic question from CBS news anchor Harry Smith by falsely claiming Limbaugh and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck labeled Obama a “Nazi.” Obama responded by identifying as “troublesome” “this kind of vitriol.”
During the intervening 15 months, White House officials attempted to marginalize balanced news outlets such as the Fox News Channel by enlisting the support of the heretofore compliant news media. Fortunately, competing news outlets found the backbone — if only temporarily — to put the kibosh on Obama’s attempts to blacklist FNC from the White House press pool.
These heavy-handed actions, as well as worries about the Obama Administration reinstituting the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” for talk radio are small time when one considers what the government is capable of accomplishing if a handful of current proposals are enacted.
First is the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Plan. There is an overabundance of big government programs contained in the plan for Americans to dislike. These range from having taxpayers fund broadband as a universal service to developing a process by which outside entities — including the government — can monitor how Americans use energy at home, just to name a few.
The NBP also proposes the FCC recapture nearly half of the radio spectrum used by today’s 1,600 broadcast TV stations — involuntarily, if need be — and designate it for broadband services. The FCC identifies the swath of spectrum that is ideal for the latest wireless services as that which falls between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz.
TV broadcasters occupy only five per cent of that spectrum with other actors — including the government — sitting on much larger chunks of spectrum, some of which lies fallow. Even Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, whose company would likely be the single biggest beneficiary of the National Broadband Plan, found the FCC’s “looming spectrum shortage” claims to not be credible.
“I don’t think the FCC should tinker with this,” Seidenberg told the Council on Foreign Relations in April. “I don’t think we’ll have a spectrum shortage the way [the National Broadband Plan] suggests we will.”
So why target broadcast spectrum?
The answer may lie in remarks made by confidantes to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. First, a few introductions are in order.
Fifteen years ago, Genachowski was senior policy advisor to then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. Hundt’s chief of staff at the time was Blair Levin. Now, flash forward. Hundt served as a senior member of the Obama transition team and he is in close communication with Genachowski. Levin chaired the NBP task force that reported to Genachowski. Small world, eh?
Speaking before a Columbia University audience in March, Hundt discussed the intent of the NBP. He informed his audience that the goal to disenfranchise — if not completely end — broadcasting was crafted during his FCC days. “This is a little naughty,” he offered as an example. “We delayed the transition to HDTV [high definition television] and fought a big battle against the whole idea.”
The drive to move news and information away from broadcast and similar platforms to broadband would change the paradigm of how content is created he explained. “[P]eople will be permitted to create audiences that demand content instead of waiting for content to pull them together to shape an audience [emphasis added].” Hundt did not elaborate on his remarks. However, he did admit that the NBP is a stark departure from the current way of delivering news and information.
“It has actually been an essential characteristic of the media in the United States that we have never had a plan [for communications and the media]. And we have felt that was in the nature of our democracy and our capitalism to not have a plan. It’s kind of interesting to think that we now we’re imitating China,” he observed.
Then in December 2009, Genachowski appointed Duke University law Professor Stuart Benjamin to his staff. Benjamin let on that his duties include advising Genachowski on radio spectrum use and First Amendment matters.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online