Freedom of speech. It is our most cherished privilege as Americans, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution since 1791.
But our current presidential administration threatens to sharply curtail or silence altogether the freedom of expression that distinguishes America from the average dictatorship. What is under direct attack? Conservative talk radio.
During the Reagan administration, conservative talk radio burgeoned when the FCC voted to stop enforcing the Fairness Doctrine, which required all licensed broadcasters to present "balanced" viewpoints on controversial issues. The format was a smash hit, attracting an estimated 50 million listeners weekly. Popular, profitable, outspoken, powerful, influential—it’s what the American people wanted, and its success was the Democrats' worst nightmare.
Now, the principles underlying the Fairness Doctrine threaten to be reinstated. Under cover of being "fair," they will be used as a means of censorship, allowing government to influence who owns our airwaves and thus controls the content, a mandate with far-reaching implications for all media—indeed, for freedom of speech for all Americans.