The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It is not possible to have Freedom of Speech if the right of people to listen to that speech is abridged. Today, a right that most take for granted—our freedom to listen to the radio or TV broadcaster of their choice or even programs on the Internet—is in jeopardy. Liberals in all branches of government are calling for so-called “fairness” in media, particularly AM radio. Of course, they claim the right to define what is “fair,” and their goal is to force privately owned radio stations to replace conservative speech with liberal speech.
In early 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assaulted our freedom to listen by proposing the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” (CIN) by which government researchers would invade America’s newsrooms and grill reporters and editors as to why and how they chose what to report. It was halted, for now, by widespread public outrage.
This outrageous attempt to censor information that Americans are allowed to receive followed the FCC’s 2012 Net Neutrality guidelines to restrict and control the Internet, despite never receiving authority from Congress to do so, and in defiance of a federal court ruling.
In 2009–2010, the FCC similarly launched an effort to revive the “Fairness Doctrine,” which it was forced to abandon in 1987 as an insidious attempt by the federal government to control what Americans get to see and hear.
In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that the ban on independent political expenditures by corporations violated the First Amendment’s right to freedom of expression and speech. This important decision helped secure Americans’ freedom to listen by allowing more privately purchased political advertising on broadcast media.
Our freedom to listen is under an unrelenting threat from the FCC, which threatens to regulate the conservative point of view out of business under the guise of “localism,” “viewpoint discrimination,” “community monitoring boards,” “media ownership diversity” and reduced or overly restrictive terms to renew broadcast licenses for radio and TV stations.
The ACRU urges every lawmaker to take these threats to our freedom to listen seriously. The FCC and other overreaching agencies need to be kept away from America’s microphones and newsrooms, and should never be allowed to dictate what Americans are allowed to read, hear and see, based on politicized determinations by liberal government appointees about what is “fair” or ”balanced.”
Freedom to Listen “In The News”
- In an increasingly coarse culture created by the ACLU’s destruction of minimal public decency standards, it would be no wonder that nothing could possibly be considered offensive.CONTINUE READING
- The home of the brave is becoming the land of the tongue-tied.CONTINUE READING
- Just the threat of invoking liberal lawyers’ wrath is enough to send people packing.CONTINUE READING
- Given President Obama’s increasingly dictatorial rule, it’s a good time to dust off some thoughts on despotism by America’s “forgotten founder,” Thomas Paine.CONTINUE READING
- The law doesn’t demand that a single dissident be allowed to spoil the enjoyment of many.CONTINUE READING
- If you were perplexed by President Obama’s post-election comment that he heard the voices “of the two-thirds who didn’t vote,” you can be forgiven.CONTINUE READING
- The pattern of recent events clearly shows a nation in decline.CONTINUE READING
- Obama Democrats suppress free speech to enact their liberal agenda.CONTINUE READING
- America’s leaders are helping degrade the culture like it’s their job.CONTINUE READING
- Reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a Tennessee football game wins the day.CONTINUE READING
- The Constitution of the United States has endured for over two centuries. It remains the object of reverence for nearly all Americans and an object of admiration by peoples around the world.CONTINUE READING
- American Civil Liberties Union imposes its beliefs, one institution at a time.CONTINUE READING
- In my opinion, there appear to be no standards of performance low enough for blacks to lose their loyalty to their black political representatives.CONTINUE READING
- This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published July 5, 2014 on The Washington Times website. Hillary Clinton thinks it’s a “hard choice” to take a human life. She wasn’t talking about ...CONTINUE READING
- This column by Caleb Howe was published May 26, 2014 on TruthRevolt.org. On MSNBC this afternoon, commentator and Republican politician Ken Blackwell was on as part of panel discussion about guns and gun ...CONTINUE READING
- This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published May 23, 2014 on The Washington Times website. On May 19, it happened in Oregon. The next day, it was Pennsylvania’s turn. In Oregon, ...CONTINUE READING
- ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara and former ACRU intern and researcher Carlos Ramirez explain in a Liberty Law Review article why the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech is violated if ...CONTINUE READING
- This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published February 11, 2011 on The Washington Times website. Did you know that the nation soon will undergo a test that will determine ...CONTINUE READING
- While most Americans readily embrace the opportunity to honor our nation’s fallen, increasingly some have become critical if not hostile to this effort, particularly when religion or expressions of faith are involved.CONTINUE READING
- When President Obama announced his new budget a few weeks ago involving record spending, tax increases, deficits and debt, he did so with soaring rhetoric about spending cuts (non-existent), tax cuts for ...CONTINUE READING