The Back-Door Fairness Doctrine

By Ronald Glenn
America’s Right

Much stink was made late yesterday surrounding the British government’s decision to ban, from the UK, American syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage while simultaneously welcoming, with open arms, the daughter of Che Guevara.

Savage, whose real name is a very unfortunate Michael Weiner, has been banned from England for his opinions concerning a number of issues, including but not limited to illegal immigration. The merits of his opinions are not as important as the tactic used to silence him. The government of England is proclaiming that Savage is unfit to come in contact with England ’s citizens, putting him in the company of terrorists and thugs of international standing. Much of the Internet reaction to this around the blogging world has been to attack this move by the British government as an attempt to quash free speech. If countries around the world cooperate in this kind of blacklisting, it could be used as a means to stifle political speech as a whole.

Suppose the United States government is particularly aggravated with an Internet site or talk show host but does not wish to look bad by using the legal system to quash opinions which the government opposes. It could, instead, request foreign allies to banish those shows from the air waves or deny the parties in particular the right to travel. If countries do this for each other, this underhanded quid-pro-quo, it could be a way of removing any anti-government opinions from the public forum.

The philosophical reason that is given for this kind of government action is even more disturbing. This is based on a leftist concept that has been used by the left to control discourse on college campuses throughout America. The act of giving an opinion is judged on the same criteria as one would judge a criminal act. The listener is labeled as a victim of the speaker if the speaker says something that is considered “harmful” or causing the listener distress.

I have personally seen this logic used for years by state courts with regard to domestic violence charges. I personally saw a man sentenced to ninety days in jail because his girlfriend stated she felt threatened by what he said. She testified that he had never hit her, did not have a weapon, and did not even enter the house; she said he yelled at her through the door, and she felt scared. The point is, this kind of legal outlook goes more to the “victim’s” state of mind than it does the act itself. If the man had yelled at another woman who did not feel threatened by him, then logic would dictate he did not do anything wrong.

When Michael Savage rants against illegal immigration, the people who are in this country illegally might feel threatened. Similarly, there are advocates of gay marriage who have stated that a minister should not be allowed to preach against it because his speech “causes harm.” Are we to believe that Savage and the hypothetical preacher are criminals?

The fundamental problem with this scenario is the left will never judge itself by the same criteria as it employs in judging the right, because it will claim that it is always telling the truth, and that the truth can never be condemned. In the end, this is not about free speech, but rather is actually about the fact that the governments of the world, free and otherwise, believe people should only be allowed to say what the government believes is true.

The next time you go to movie that is supposed to a comedy, look around the movie theatre and you will see that some people laugh at any given joke and some do not. The joke that is being told does not change, it is the individual’s reaction that is different. Should we ban movies that the government does not find funny? If the government attempts to destroy public discourse, the consequences will be more severe than allowing it to exist. America has always had laws against sedition and caps on public speech. But these were kept within the courts, not allocated to the whims of public officials.

And, in the meantime, don’t forget — England did not ban the head of the American Communist Party. More on that later.

—————
Ronald Glenn has worked in real estate and law for more than twenty years. He now works in Philadelphia, and lives outside the city with his wife. Ron has been writing for America’s Right since January 2009.

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Comments

  1. GO AHEAD PUNK MAKE MY DAY says:

    The ‘fairiness’ doctrine is turning us all into Mr. Rogers. I’d prefer to be a Dirty Harry.

  2. Rix says:

    What did you expect from England Emirates, fairness? Next time you’ll want them to disregard Shariah and start upholding their own laws! It’s discrimination and racism, shame on you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jeff:

    Wise but scary article!

    Do you have ANY idea why Fox is literally the ONLY news network that will not even mention Savage’s name or his current situation? Even Glenn, Rush, and Sean never speak about him. What is going on there? I realize he can be a little dogmatic and abrasive, but he DOES speak many truths.

    Whadda ya think?

    Lisa in TX

  4. READ THE DAMNED THING says:

    I thought The First Amendment and the Bill Of Rights was our FAIRNESS DOCTRINE. Stupid people.

  5. Gail B says:

    Michael was talking about that on his program last night.

    At least he has the (Jeff, what’s that term you use to keep from saying “balls”) to speak out for what he believes!

    The man is to be admired, not banned! Michael Savage is a true Patriot.

  6. sharon says:

    Lisa in TX… I have no idea what is up with FOX. In a slight defense, Oreilly did mention it one time. I think Beck while on track with ACORN and many subjects is pushing a Libertarian party. A third party will guarantee a second term for the socialist/marxist. I sent an e-mail to Rush and have not heard a reply although I do not expect one.

    I am very concerned about all of this, and the new government insurance coming down the pike…. I think it is up to all of us to get the word out. I received an e-mail yesterday that said Bill Ayers dad ran the electric company in Chicago until his death. Obama received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money from that co. through the years….It is all disturbing, that is all I know.

  7. Gail B says:

    Oh, whoopee! Yaba-daba-doo!

    Just heard Neal Boortz say that he’d seen a story somewhere that the rich people who backed Obama have taken a look at what he’s done to their wealth are now saying, “Uh-ooh! We screwed up!” In other words, they thought that what he was saying was just campaign rhetoric; they didn’t know he meant THIS!

    I TOLD y’all that people would wake up! Now the ones with the money who backed him hopefully will be fighting his agenda!

    Let’s pray that this awakening includes a lot more in time for the 2010 elections!

    I’ll see if I can find the story Boortz was referring to so I can give the link.

  8. sharon says:

    Lisa in TX, this guy is talking about it, and he is ticked off….. Our friend pastor manning…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUTa7gSWp4s

  9. Gail B says:

    Well, here’s one of the stories:

    Barack Obama’s rich supporters fear his tax plans show he’s a class warrior
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/5301078/Barack-Obamas-rich-supporters-fear-his-tax-plans-show-hes-a-class-warrior.html ^
    Posted on Sat May 09 2009 15:33:12 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) by Maggie Maggie Maggie

    Some of Barack Obama’s richest supporters fear they have elected a “class warrior” to the White House, who will turn America’s freewheeling capitalism into a more regulated European system.

    Wealthy Wall Street financiers and other business figures provided crucial support for Mr Obama during the election, backing him over the Republican candidate John McCain as the right leader to rescue the collapsing US economy.

    But it is now dawning on many among them that Mr Obama was serious about his campaign trail promises to bring root and branch reform to corporate America – and that they were more than just election rhetoric.

    A top Obama fundraiser and hedge fund manager said: “I’m appalled at the anti-Wall Street rhetoric. It was OK on the campaign but now it’s the real world. I’m surprised that Obama is turning out to be so left-wing. He’s a real class warrior.”

    Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute, a free enterprise think tank, said Democrats in Congress were unnerved by the president’s latest plan to raise $210 billion over 10 years from multinational corporations.

    The money is needed to pay for a national debt that will double over the next five years; and triple over the next 10 years to $17.3 trillion. But the crackdown already faces fierce Democratic resistance.

    “These big companies are based in New York Boston, Seattle and Silicon Valley, where Democrats dominate,” Mr Edwards said. “Obama’s tax plan is already cleaving him from his big corporate supporters,” he said.

  10. Gail B says:
  11. goddessdivine says:

    Let’s not forget: Michael Savage is an entertainer. Just like Rush Limbaugh (has he been banned yet?) When you look past the rants and raves, Savage is actually quite funny.

    No–I think the left is scared. They know these ‘right-wingers’ speak the truth. Why else would you ban someone? Sure, Savage is abrasive; but he’s honest. And oh my gosh quite brilliant. His political books are fascinating and eye opening (and clever and well written).

    And don’t you just love how the left has decided what’s fair

    Lisa in Texas: O’Reilly mentions Savage every now and again; he ran this story the other night. (However, the two of them seem to have an ongoing feud.) But you’re right–Savage is rarely mentioned on Fox. Do they feel threatened? Who knows…..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sharon & Goddess Divine:

    Yes, I heard that O'Reilly mentioned Savage briefly, but that it came off quite dismissive. I don't listen to or watch O'Reilly anymore b/c he it is like eating baby food! He has such a naive and many times off-base opinion of what' really going on…

    How much longer will he continue to cut Obama slack?

    It makes me CRAZY!

    Lisa in TX

  13. cal says:

    The left is incredibly intolerant which is rather ironic since it is the right that people paint as being close minded. Just look at the malicious treatment of Miss California and you can see how hateful the left can be to those who dare speak their mind. The left’s intolerance is becoming an increasing threat to our freedoms here in the country. I think it is very important that republicans do well in the mid term elections to send a message to the left that they have gone too far in meddling with our way of life.

  14. Celia in TX says:

    Michael Savage has announced today that he is pursuing this legally through Hilary Clinton.

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