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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 20, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Sue Wilson on 6/8/2012 10:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Whatever questions remain about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election, there is no question that his campaign was built on big money, the likes of which we've never seen in a gubernatorial campaign before. And where did all that money go? Right into thin air - OUR air.

And as owners of the air - our public airwaves, to be precise - there is plenty we can do to combat the corrosive effect of big money on our elections, by holding our partners in broadcasting, local TV and radio stations, accountable to the communities they serve.

Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, is the reason huge amounts of money poured into the Walker camp from third parties like the billionaire Koch Brothers and others, (compared to the relatively paltry sum given to his opponent Mayor Tom Barrett by unions and others.)

As previously noted by The BRAD BLOG:

Focus will turn to the unprecedented amount of dark money raised and spent in the election, with Walker's campaign raising at least $30.5 million (a majority of it coming from out of state) to Barrett's $3.9 million. That, of course, is just the money raised by the two campaigns themselves. It doesn't take into affect the extraordinary amount of money spent by outside groups on behalf of the candidates, largely in support of Walker by a reportedly outsized ratio of 25 to 1.

So the Walker recall gave us the first glimpse at how the infamous Supreme Court ruling will affect campaigns for years to come unless something changes. . There is a large and growing movement now from organizations such as Move to Amend, to amend the Constitution to help put the brakes on the unlimited spending allowed by Citizens United. Such an effort, however, will take years to accomplish, if it ever happens at all.

But what's not being talked about is where most of this unrestricted money goes: about half of all campaign dollars go directly into your local radio and TV stations' wallets --- local broadcast stations which get licensed in the public/private partnership of broadcasting ONLY IF they "serve the public convenience, interest, and necessity."

As to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has also ruled, in Red Lion v. FCC that "it is the right of the viewing and listening public, and not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount."

Nonetheless, until Citizens United is changed or overridden in some fashion, things are only going to get worse --- unless we the people do something about it now with a few, still-unused tools that remain at our disposal...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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(And can the Supreme Court be far behind?)
By Sue Wilson on 5/29/2012 10:56am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Anyone remember a time when radio seemed friendly and informative, rather than hostile and manipulative?

I do. And I remember when it changed in 1996, after Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act into law, and suddenly, huge corporations like Clear Channel began using our public airwaves --- those scarce radio frequencies which are owned by us ALL --- as a hammer to pummel Clinton and all other Democrats.

I've been working to correct the problem ever since 1998. I've advocated rewriting the Telecommunications Act, made the film Broadcast Blues to educate people about the problem, founded the Media Action Center to get local groups communicating with their local broadcasters, filed petitions to deny stations' licenses, and more.

Nothing worked.

But now, I believe I have found the legal means to put Talk Radio on trial at the FCC --- and perhaps eventually at the Supreme Court --- and, ironically enough, we just may have embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to thank for it...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Green960, redubbed KNEW 960, to become 'home of misfit, or at least mismatched, toys', says one insider...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2011 2:23pm PT  

You might call it splitting the baby. Sort of.

Progressive radio will be allowed to remain on our public AM airwaves in San Francisco, though with major schedule shake-ups, the removal of its popular progressive branding and several bizarre additions to the line-up, including far Rightwing extremists such as former Fox "News" phenom Glenn Beck in the place of what had been one of Green960's most popular morning shows.

The latest move in the strange back-and-forth saga follows on radio giant Clear Channel's announcement just over two weeks ago, that Green960 --- the only AM Progressive Talk Radio station on the dial in San Francisco, one of the nation's most progressive cities --- would be banished from the popular public airwaves and sent to the radio-ghetto of the little-known and even lesser-received HD2 band. Its progressive programming --- featuring the likes of popular lefty-ish talkers such as Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Norman Goldman and Mike Malloy --- would be replaced (with the exception of Rhodes, who is syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio) by yet another so-called "conservative" talk station, featuring extremists such as Beck and other Fox "News" regulars.

The move by the media conglomerate, now owned by leading GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC, was to occur on January 3. The move would have left Rhodes as the only progressive voice on the entire AM dial in San Francisco, as of the first business day of the new Presidential Election year.

But a funny thing happened on the way to 2012 on Bay Area talk radio...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2011 1:47pm PT  

[UPDATE 12/21/11: Confirmation that Clear Channel will keep most of its progressive programming on the AM airwaves in San Francisco --- though with some bizarre changes --- is now detailed here...]

The only progressive AM talk radio station, Green960, in one of the nation's most progressive cities, San Francisco, may be allowed to stay on the public airwaves after all in the 2012 Presidential Election year!

Last week we detailed corporate radio giant Clear Channel's plans to remove Green960 (call letters KKGN) from the AM dial and send it to the radio ghetto otherwise known as "HD2," a band that requires a special receiver that very few people actually own. Adding insult to injury, the 960 spot on the AM dial would be replaced with Glenn Beck and other Rightwing talkers from Clear Channel's "conservative" talk station "Fox News Radio KNEW" which is currently on 910, but would move to the 960 frequency.

In the 910 slot, Clear Channel had planned to launch a new talk station, which would also include some Fox talkers, branded as "San Francisco's Talk 910 KKSF."

If plans move ahead as previously announced, the end result would be that --- except for progressive talker Randi Rhodes, who is syndicated by Clear Channel's syndication arm Premier Broadcasting and who would be allowed to keep her live Noon-3p PT slot on both the new KNEW 960, as well as the "HD2" schedule where the current Green960 line-up would be sent to --- there would be no progressive AM talk station on the air in San Francisco.

The entire shuffle was set to occur at the beginning of the 2012 Presidential Election year on January 3rd, a move that had raised at least a few eyebrows, as Clear Channel is now owned by the Mitt Romney-founded venture capital firm, Bain Capital LLC.

Well, now that entire plan, according to one industry website and several insider sources I've spoken to today, may be on hold and Green960's popular line-up of progressive talkers like Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman, Mike Malloy (for whom I am a regular guest-host, including on tonight's show), and others may be allowed to stay on the AM air after all!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2011 12:07pm PT  

[UPDATE 12/16/11: Clear Channel may now be re-thinking their plans to dump Green960! Details now here...]

The only progressive AM radio talk station, Green960-KKGN, in one of the nation's most liberal cities, San Francisco, is being taken off the AM dial by radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications, Inc. --- a media conglomerate now owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC --- at the beginning of the 2012 Presidential election year.

Adding insult to injury for progressives in the Bay Area, the 960 slot on the dial is being replaced by Clear Channel with the likes of Glenn Beck, Fox News Radio's John Gibson and other radical Rightwing talkers, according to a press release [PDF] issued by the media giant last week, touting, in somewhat Orwellian terms, their "goal of expanding talk radio in San Francisco."

"We saw the opportunity to expand our footprint in this crucial arena as we head into an election year and a population increasingly engaged in local, state, and national events and activism," says Clear Channel's San Francisco Director of Operations Don Parker in the release.

The expansion will amount to moving Green960's current schedule of progressive talk shows off the AM band, and on to FM's HD2 radio ghetto where it will become a largely automated "robo-station," according to several radio insiders familiar with the station and Clear Channel's plans for it. The station which was formerly Green960 will have the catchy new name "FM Progressive Talk 103.7-2" at its new home, if listeners can find it.

The new Rightwing format taking its place on 960 will be known as KNEW, which is currently at 910 on the AM dial featuring a number of Fox News Radio programs. The 910 position will then be filled with a new talk format being developed by Clear Channel called "San Francisco's Talk 910 KKSF," which will also include some Fox News Radio veterans.

One bright side for progressives in San Francisco, the popular Randi Rhodes, who is syndicated nationally by Premiere (Clear Channel's syndication arm) will continue in her current live Noon to 3p PT slot on the new KNEW-960. She'll also remain in the same live slot in the progressive line up on the HD2 band, though few are likely to hear her there, as very few Americans actually own an HD radio receiver.

Rhodes tells The BRAD BLOG there could be a potential upside to the format change which will leave her progressive voice, as well as Bill Press' in the pre-dawn hours, sprinkled in among the far Rightwingers.

"I never want to see Progressive voices lose ground, but hopefully we can build on the new HD channel," Rhodes told us via email on Friday. "It does look like the beginning of the end of 'conservative format purity' has started. That's a change in the industry that I've been fighting for for a long time and I'm happy to be part of it."...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2011 3:35pm PT  

In apparent response to GOP leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee who requested in June that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Julius Genachowski "strike the Fairness Doctrine from the agency's rulebook," the former corporate media executive has announced exactly that today, striking the rule, and 82 others, from the official FCC rulebook...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Attempt to ease media consolidation rules overturned by court...
By Sue Wilson on 7/8/2011 12:41pm PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia handed the public a huge victory on Thursday, and giant corporations a rare loss, in their decision [PDF] on a case that (ironically enough, given the subject matter) most of the public knew nothing about, but one which has the potential to benefit real people with better quality news and information for decades to come.

The case, Prometheus Radio Project v FCC, pitted "Citizen Petitioners" who seek more persons owning local media outlets to ensure diversity in viewpoints and news coverage, versus "Deregulatory Petitioners" who want fewer persons (spell that "corporations") to own local media outlets, and the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves that go with them, in order to enhance their profits.

At stake were the rules determining how many local TV and radio stations one company can own in a single market; whether a newspaper owner can also own a TV or radio station in the same town; and how broadcast ownership by minorities and women should be handled.

The Deregulators challenged the FCC's constitutional and legal authority to set rules and restrictions on ownership of broadcast spectrum licenses, while the Citizen Petitioners sought to protect the FCC's authority, even while challenging a number of new rules the agency speciously attempted to enact without appropriate public input.

Six attorneys representing Free Press, Media Alliance, The United Church of Christ, and Prometheus Radio Project went up against 48 lawyers representing such corporate behemoths as Clear Channel, CBS, Belo, FOX, Cox, Sinclair, Tribune, and Gannett, and groups including the National Association of Broadcasters, plus another 8 attorneys for the FCC and 5 more from the US Department of Justice. The case became a classic David v. Goliath struggle.

The good news this time around, at least for the moment, David finally won one...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/17/2011 1:44pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On his Tuesday radio show, syndicated over the public airwaves on some 200 stations, Rightwing talk show host Neal Boortz said:

This town [Atlanta] is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city.

His entire rant, appearing to encourage the vigilante murder of unnamed "thugs" across the major Atlanta metropolitan area, can be heard below.

The question now is: Did Boortz incite murder over our public airwaves and should he be prosecuted for it? Moreover, will complaints be filed by the public at the FCC's website (hit the "Take Action" button there, if you'd like to file your own complaint), demanding an investigation and prosecution for the potential crime and/or sanctions against the affiliate stations who broadcast it to the public?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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GUESTS: GOP Presidential candidate Fred Karger & BRAD BLOG legal correspondent Ernest Canning!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2011 4:02pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below...]

We're back guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show for the next few weeknights --- tonight through next Tuesday! Hope you can join us!

We'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) each night, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fast-paced show, with a GREAT interview with Fred Karger right in the middle! Be sure to give it a listen! The audio archives (and chat room archives) follow below. See ya again tomorrow night!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2011 4:15pm PT  

From The Hill:

The [Republican] leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday asking him to strike the Fairness Doctrine from the agency's rulebook.

The controversial rule, introduced in 1949, required broadcasters to present controversial public issues in a manner deemed fair and balanced by the FCC.

Fairness and balance?! On the airwaves owned by the people?! We can't have that! Thanks for the watchdogging, Republicans!

[Hat-tip Sue Wilson via Twitter.]

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By Sue Wilson on 4/28/2011 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

After revealing his "long form" birth certificate Wednesday, President Obama scolded the news media for letting this non-issue become a national obsession.

But if President Obama really wants to restore reporting to its rightful role, he needs to act on commitments he made immediately after his inauguration. As I wrote in September 2009 for The BRAD BLOG:

Shortly after Barack Obama was sworn in as President last January, as Brad Friedman reported at the time, the new White House website "Technology" page signaled a hopeful change, and a call to re-examine the oversight of our public airwaves:

Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum.

Okay, let me connect some dots here.

For more than two years, GOP extremists have made the President's birth certificate an issue that has successfully permeated the country's consciousness. According to a New York Times-CBS News poll last week, 43% of the country is not sure Barack Obama was born in this country, despite long standing factual evidence to the contrary.

How did GOP extremists manage to make a non issue such a huge issue? They used the power of broadcasting to beat the drums of paranoia into 50 million people across our land. They used the power of talk radio, which they have used successfully tomarginalize Democrats and anyone else outside their narrow point of view.

That's right. According to Arbitron, 53 million people listen to talk radio every day in this country. When Glenn Beck loses his Fox "News" audience of 2 million, he still will have his radio audience of 10 million...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2011 2:34pm PT  

Good for Congressman Nadler! Calling on the people's airwaves to be used, as required by law, in the "public interest"...

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that the Federal Communications Commission should reinstate the fairness doctrine for broadcast television to ensure that multiple sides of controversial topics are offered to the public.

“For over the airwaves TVs, I think they should bring it back,” said Nadler on Fox Business News with Andrew Napolitano.

“I think it makes sense for people to be able to hear as many sides of political opinions as possible, and as long as it's the people's airwaves that should be used for that purpose.”

Nadler’s comments come in the wake of the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), which has re-launched the debate over what role heated political rhetoric plays in the spurring people to take violent actions.

Nadler's comments follow on the heals of remarks by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) following the shootings in Tucscon. "Free speech is as free speech does," he is quoted by the The Post and Courier as saying. "You cannot yell ‘fire' in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that."

Despite originally calling for a "clarif[ication of] the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum" on the White House website the day he was inaugurated, the Obama Administration has since retreated after false charges by the Right that Democrats intended to "censor" Rightwing talk radio. The passage was quickly removed from the White House website and, more recently, the Administrationhas said they have no interest in revisiting the Fairness Doctrine. (Though, we should note, that doctrine is not the only way to help restore fairness and balance to our public airwaves.)

The Fairness Doctrine, which had been enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 1949, required those who used the limited and publicly licensed broadcast airwaves to at least attempt to offer opposing views on controversial issues, was ordered abolished by President Reagan in 1987.

The doctrine's abandonment immediately paved the way for round-the-clock, one-sided propaganda from nationally syndicated talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and scores of others.

Diversity of viewpoints shared in the public interest over our public airwaves was further brought to an end by the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed by President Clinton. The act, sold as a "boon to competition in the market" lifted the cap on the number of radio and TV station licenses that could be procured by a single corporation. For example, prior to the Telecom Act, the Clear Channel corporation owned just 59 radio and TV stations nationwide. After passage of the act, they were allowed to purchase and control more than 1,200.

In the bargain, real competition --- and virtually all pretense of fairness and balance --- on our public broadcast airwaves largely died, rather than flourish as supporters of the Telecom act had claimed (and as detractors, such as Ralph Nader, had predicted), as corporations were allowed to hold virtual monopoly control over political viewpoints on the nation's airwaves in nearly all major cities across the country.

The BRAD BLOG has covered this topic for years, long calling for fairness and balance to be restored to our public airwaves. Following the recent shootings in Tucson, we have revisited the topic again, most recently in an article highlighting Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's spotlight on "vitriolic rhetoric" on radio and TV as an element helping to incite violence and bigotry in his city which features six Rightwing radio stations, but none offering a progressive voice. And in another article, posted the day after the shooting, we offered statistics on how bad the problem is across the entire nation.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2011 4:28pm PT  

As you may have noticed (or expected), I've been doing a lot of radio lately, discussing the AZ Shooting and related issues, such as the RW media and Democratic Party culpability and what needs to be done about it.

A discussion I had earlier this week with the non-partisan Allen Handelman on North Carolina's powerful 100k watt "Super Station," FM Talk 101.1 WZTK was particularly enlightening, I think. Most interesting was that the bulk of the callers --- even though I had been hoping for folks to call in disagreeing with my take --- seemed to generally agree with me. That, even on this station in supposedly "red" NC which features both non-RW talkers as well as far RW misinformants and miscreants such as Michael Savage and Neal Boortz who use our publicly owned airwaves to skew the nation with damnable lies and propaganda.

Happily, NC's FM Talk 101.1 is the exception to the national rule, as it uses its licensed airwaves to serve the public interest, as they are supposed to by law, by offering a variety of political viewpoints. In the bargain, they are the area's #1 talk station (yes, even beating the stations which carry Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.). That, of course, would go against a lot of the "conventional wisdom" (propagated, naturally, by RWingers) which says that NC is "red," that RWingers only want to listen to RW talk, and that folks like Limbaugh and Hannity are so "good" and so many people agree with their "point of view" that they can't be beat. Of course, having the biggest 100k watt blowtorch in town never hurts either, as is the case in most places where the most powerful signal also seems to receive the most listeners for some odd reason.

So where RW stations are placed on 50,000 watt clear channel transmitters, they tend to handily beat the 1k and 5k and 10k stations where one may be able to hear progressive talk --- if you are in a town lucky enough to have such a station and live close enough to its transmitter to actually hear it.

If you'd like to listen to my two "hours" (with commercials already removed, they're really about 40 mins each) with Allen, they can be downloaded or listened to online below. My thanks to Allen for both having me and for sharing the audio files. He also informs me that he'll be re-playing these two hours on his nationally syndicated show as well this weekend...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Sue Wilson on 10/21/2010 10:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

In the October issue of O magazine, Democratic consultant and commentator Donna Brazile did the unthinkable: she used the "F" word --- in Oprah Winfrey's publication, no less! Eyebrows are being raised across the political spectrum.

Okay, not that "F" word, a different one which is, apparently, far more controversial these days: Brazile says that if she "were in charge" her first priority would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine." She says that that would require "holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion."

To the uninitiated, bringing Fairness to the public airwaves --- broadcast radio and TV --- is a no-brainer. But to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of 550,000 amassed to keep the nation's radio airwaves under "conservative" control, Brazile's declaration of priorities could be a call to arms. Is it possible that the Democratic establishment is finally ready for a fight to take control of their message? While no longer with the DNC, Brazile is still closely aligned with the Democratic power establishment after all.

Okay, time for a bit of history.

Our elders will remember a time when radio was America's number one source of news and information. And they remember being horrified at how Tokyo Rose and our enemies used the radio airwaves to promote hate and propaganda against the U.S.

So they watched as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio station owners worked together to prevent propaganda from ever being broadcast over the public airwaves in these United States of America. This coalition of government and business put the "Fairness Doctrine" in place to ensure a healthy, reasoned discourse so critical to our democracy.

The thing is --- and a point important for those who believe much more information is now available on cable and the Internet --- radio is still America's number one source of news and information. More people listen to radio than watch television, read newspapers, or go online. Nearly fifty million people in the U.S. listen to talk radio.

But Fairness? Equal Time? Reasoned discourse? Those went out the window in 1987 with - drumroll, please - President Ronald Reagan...

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What about 'the public interest' in the death of Jennifer Strange?...
By Sue Wilson on 9/7/2010 3:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

Wow. The FCC just fined a radio station $4,000 for getting a date wrong in some radio contest rules. If that infraction is worth four grand, whatever will the FCC do to the station which killed someone because it failed to give contestants any rules at all?

Will the FCC find that such a 'murder-by-radio' did not, in fact, serve the "public interest" which broadcasters are supposed to uphold in exchange for their free license to use our public airwaves?

DJs at Nassau Broadcasting's WWEG-FM, "106.9 The Eagle" in Myerson, MD, had broadcast rules that a Father's Day contest would be open "through June 13, 2008." But the contest actually ended June 12, apparently depriving would-be contestants of their right to enter. Two years later, the FCC is punishing WWEG for violation of Section 73.1216 of the Commission's rules, which state that broadcast licensees must "fully and accurately disclose the material terms" of any contests that it conducts, and "conduct the contest substantially as announced or advertised."

Okay. Let's now contrast that swift accountability in the public's interest, against what happened when Sacramento's Entercom Communications station, KDND, the unfortunately nicknamed "107.9 The End", didn't follow its own rules when it ran a water drinking contest which resulted in the January 2007 death of a mother of three, Jennifer Strange. This is a case where a jury found the station liable for Strange's death, awarding her family more than $16 million, even as the corporation who has been granted the broadcast license has yet to face a single sanction from the FCC…

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