By Mark Hyman
Any doubts about the administration's designs on reducing First Amendment opportunities may no longer exist due to officials' remarks and government actions including a recent decision by President Barack Obama. The administration's resolve to tamp down dissent was signaled in a June 28th presidential memorandum that would lead to the end of all free, over-the-air television.
Fortunately for Obama he has various federal agencies, the Democrat-controlled Congress, a judiciary hostile to the Constitution, and a compliant liberal media at his disposal to help him usher in speech controls.
Obama's disdain of political dissent is well documented. He has differentiated himself from all other modern presidents by publicly calling out by name the handful of journalists that have criticized his presidency. Senior White House staff have served as his Praetorian Guard against media critics.
While presidential name-calling is indeed troublesome, it does not rise to the level of the concern created by the administration's plans to control the nation's telecommunications platforms.
Obama's Harvard Law School classmate and current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has been directing a multi-pronged effort aimed at increasing government control of news, information and entertainment.
First, is the FCC's ill-conceived National Broadband Plan, which is designed to end local television broadcasters' use of the electromagnetic spectrum (i.e. the radio spectrum) to deliver free, over-the-air television and eventually move the nation's 1,600 TV stations to subscription-only platforms such as cable. Cable is a much easier to control than 1,600 geographically dispersed television transmitters.
The goal, claims Genachowski, is to make the spectrum available to other wireless platforms such as cellular telephones. The single largest beneficiary of the FCC scheme would likely be Verizon. Unfortunately for Genachowski, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg panned the NBP and 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."
To bolster support for its National Broadband Plan, the FCC announced a broadcast engineering panel to examine the technical aspects of its proposal. The June panel convened by the FCC was notable for who the Commission excluded -- broadcast engineers. The FCC relented at the last moment after the Society of Broadcast Engineers waged a fierce PR campaign to be added. To exclude broadcast engineers from the panel would have been the functional equivalent of bureaucrats rewriting detailed medical procedures without consulting a single doctor... Read the whole article.
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- ▼ July 2010 (9)
- Fr. Christopher George Phillips
- Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.