Al Sharpton told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz he has scheduled “a series of meetings next week” with federal officials to discuss kicking Rush Limbaugh off the airwaves. Rush’s rhetoric, Sharpton claims, is racist. However, this time the FCC is headed by an Obama appointee equally committed to removing conservative ideas from the airwaves.
The good reverend said he has been “talking with all the civil rights groups” about joiningthe anti-Limbaugh purge, saying, “We’re not going to stand by and let publicly regulated radio and television just go for marketing and promoting this kind of racism.” As examples of Limbaugh’s alleged racism, Sharpton cited Paul Shanklin’s satirical song “Barack the Magic Negro” (a term first coined by the Los Angeles Times) and his use of the phrase “Driving Miss Nancy” (which Limbaugh uttered while bashing “the white racist leadership of the Democratic Party”).
When asked how he would “monitor” this “racist-type talk,” Sharpton replied the FCC should “establish what is the guidelines [sic.] where you go over the top, and clearly I think Rush Limbaugh’s statements would be over the top.” Of course, Sharpton’s over-the-top remarks about “white interlopers” at Harlem’s Freddy’s Fashion Mart in 1995 stoked racial resentments that culminated in the deaths of eight people. Now he presents himself as the quintessence of ethnic comity.
How far would Sharpton go toward suspending the First Amendment? He believes no one should be offended by speech on the airwaves:
Rush Limbaugh has the right to say whatever he wants to say. He does not have the right, though, to do it on publicly regulated airwaves. The FCC has the responsibility to set standards — to say the public cannot be offended based on their race or their gender in this country.
He concluded, “We’re not telling Rush don’t say what you want to say. Say it at home!”
When asked if he were serious, he cited his involvement in opposing Limbaugh’s bid to become a partial owner in an NFL franchise. “We stopped that, and that was the private sector,” Sharpton gloated. “I think the public sector has to be at least as accountable as the NFL and private owners were.” Limbaugh’s bid to own the St. Louis Rams was denied on the basis of specious quotations.
By all accounts, Sharpton has a willing partner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps gave a speech last Thursday at Columbia University reaffirming his belief that minorities are “stereotyped and caricatured” because too few of them own television stations — and he aims to correct this through federal force.
Copps told the Columbia audience democracy itself was under siege, because television stations employ fewer reporters. Copps suggested the FCC should conduct a “Public Value Test of every broadcast station at relicensing time,” which should be held more frequently. Stations would be graded on the Obama administration’s criteria of how much “value” they contribute in terms of news, “educational and governmental programming,” and an Affirmative Action review of its accomplishments at “Reflecting Diversity.”
He bemoaned the fact that “people of color” (white is not a color?) “own only about 3.6 percent of full-power commercial television stations.” He added, “The FCC’s Diversity Advisory Committee has spent years providing us with specific targeted recommendations to correct this injustice,” he said, adding it was “sad” no one had addressed this “awful wrong.”
Republicans have only themselves to thank for this. The Diversity Advisory Committee was created by Republicans in 2003.
Copps mentioned another “sad reality”: he believes Americans are undertaxed to pay for public broadcasting. Each American pays only $1.42 a year for left-wing, government propaganda, Copps stated. “In other democracies,” he said, “citizens happily pay up to hundreds of dollars more than that.”
Defund CPB, the FCC’s Diversity Cops, and the Czars
A better number suggests itself: zero. If Republicans had any courage, they would take a page from former Congressman Phil Crane and zero-fund the Diversity Advisory Board, every Obama Czar, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That is, Republicans should propose no money for these entities in the forthcoming budget. Since all spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, the body Republicans will control in 2011, this is an achievable goal.
The Republican leadership would enjoy tremendous political cover for taking this action at this time. In addition to NPR’s firing of Juan Williams, the president’s deficit commission proposed eliminating funding for this unnecessary, unconstitutional outlet for far-Left views.
The twin moves of defunding public broadcasting and abolishing Obama’s diversity police (and all his czars, as well) would tell the president the people mean business: keep your hands off our radio dials.
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