Two weeks ago, an anonymous piece in the American Spectator alleged that the office of U.S. Representative Henry Waxman met with the Federal Communications Commission to plan various ways to end free speech on the Internet. This anonymous piece provides no documentation of the claim, which runs counter to Waxman’s civil libertarian record.
One week ago, the FCC and Waxman’s office both issued statements to categorically deny not only that they ever discussed doing so, but also to deny that any meetings whatsoever had taken place:
“Those meetings did not happen,” FCC spokesman David Fiske told B&C Wednesday. “FCC staffers did not meet with the Waxman staff. We flatly deny that [American Spectator] story.”
A committee spokesperson was equally definitive in an e-mailed statement to B&C: “The American Spectator printed a fictitious story alleging that Chairman Waxman and the House Energy and Commerce Committee were having conversations with the FCC about putting in place a form of the Fairness Doctrine. The American Spectator report is false and was written without any documentation or attribution.“
The publisher of the American Spectator has sputtered, but is unable to provide any evidence that such a meeting ever took place. It is by all empirical indications a false report.
And yet, despite the lack of any evidence of such a meeting, despite the direct and thorough denial of any such meeting by the FCC and Waxman’s office, despite the lack of evidence for any such plan by either the FCC or Rep. Waxman, despite all this the conservative noise machine continues to assert this “news” as if it were true. Today, a full week after the complete and total denial that Waxman or the FCC had any such meeting or has any such plan, Eagle Publishing has used its Human Events magazine to continue to spread the American Spectator claim as if it were true. From Human Events’ latest e-mail blast, featuring this message from the “Center for Individual Freedom”:
“Senior FCC staff working for acting Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps held meetings last week with policy and legislative advisers to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ without actually calling it such.”
-The American Spectator, February 16, 2009
One by one, liberals in Congress and in the Obama Administration are scheming for ways to reinstate the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” as a way to muzzle Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and other conservative voices on talk radio.
And, just in case you were thinking that attempts by liberals to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine” were simply aimed at conservative talk radio… THINK AGAIN.
It’s actually much worse than we initially thought!
Now, according to the above report by The American Spectator, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, under the leadership of far-left Congressman Henry Waxman, is talking about imposing Fairness Doctrine-type regulations on all forms of media… including the Internet!
… Make no mistake: they have made very clear their desire to silence conservative dissent….
Clearly Waxman, Pelosi and other liberals in Congress are preparing to gang up on free speech and bludgeon it to death with blunt instruments – all in the name of Mom, apple pie, and fairness….
Make no mistake, liberal elites intend to effectively take over the media and SILENCE conservative voices on talk radio and the Internet. If we are going to STOP them, the time to TAKE ACTION is NOW!
This talk goes on for pages and pages… that’s just an excerpt.
There is absolutely NO mention of the fact in this Human Events e-mail blast that Rep. Henry Waxman and the FCC have both directly denied any such intention, denied any such discussion, denied even any meeting. It is a frank effort to dissemble in order to… what?
Human Events and Eagle Publishing benefit because they were paid big money to forward this message by an organization called the Center for Individual Freedom. One week later, the organizational leadership of Human Events and Eagle Publishing know this claim is untrue, but the money matters more to them than the truth.
Human Events and its parent, Eagle Publishing, are not at the fringe of the American conservative movement. They are at its center. Thomas S. Winter, Editor in Chief, is Vice Chairman of the American Conservative Union and Treasurer of the Conservative Victory Fund. Christopher M. Field, Managing Editor, is a former staffer of the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee. John Berthoud, Contributing Editor, is president of the National Taxpayers’ Union.
Take your own action. Contact the Human Events and Eagle Publishing and tell them you don’t appreciate them spreading untrue claims for the sake of big money payoffs:
Write: One Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
Call Editors: (202) 216-0600
Call Advertising Department: (202) 216-0601, ext. 475
The Center for Individual Freedom benefits because links in this message calling for readers to “TAKE ACTION” lead people to a web page in which they can so helpfully keep “This Vital Campaign” going with “A Minimum Contribution of $20.00, But You May Give More If You Wish. Please Select A Contribution Amount Below. Please Complete The Form Below Using Your Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover Card. GrassTopsUSA.com will appear on your billing statement.” The directors of the Center for Individual Freedom know that the claims being made in this message blast are unsupported, but the money matters more to them than the truth.
Take your own action. Contact the Center for Individual Freedom and tell them you don’t appreciate them spreading untrue claims for the sake of fundraising success.
Write: 113 S. Columbus St., Suite 310, Alexandria, VA 22314
At the base of this effort is the “grassroots industry” corporation that calls itself GrassTopsUSA. Headed by Chris Carmouche, the Director of Internet Development for the Christian Coalition and Executive Director of the now-defunct LaptopLobbyist.Com, a company that did the exact same thing GrassTopsUSA is doing now: specializing in the distribution of apparent calls to action that eventually lead to a fundraising pitch. Wil Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News explains:
Simply put, and crafting our words very carefully here, the game that the good wingnuts at laptoplobbyist.com are playing is to whip conservatives into a frenzy over some “moral” issue. The latest — a campaign against Pa.’s own Sen. Arlen Specter, who “has consistently voted in favor of killing unborn babies.”
Then it likes to ask for their money, payable by a major credit card. Usually, $20. For what? To send out an angry fax to a bunch of senators and Congress people. You read that right: $20 to send a fax.
Does Kinko’s know about this?
Here’s how the Bergen Record (sorry, no link) described it:
Laptoplobbyist.com, a year-old conservative group outside Washington that claims to have 150,000 subscribers to its e-mail list, has built its mission around the “Insta-Fax.” For a $20 donation (payable by credit card), Laptoplobbyist.com will send a fax with your name to a group of politicians it has selected.
Executive Director Chris Carmouche says faxes are the best way for ordinary people to get a politician’s attention, because members of Congress have adopted computerized methods for ignoring e-mail from the public while giving the impression that those messages are being read.
Although Laptoplobbyist.com prides itself on its members’ active participation, it doesn’t allow people to customize their letters. “The one thing we want to do is stay on message,” Carmouche said…
To protest the sacrifice of truth at the altar of money by Chris Carmouche and GrassTopsUSA, contact them at… no, wait, don’t even bother to contact these people. This part of the conservative noise machine doesn’t respond to public pressure. It will only sell your contact information to someone else.
These “reporting” lies have their effect, as consumers of them go on to spread the reporting of untruths as their own version of the truth in talk radio phone calls and newspaper letters to the editor, like Royal A. Brown The Third’s letter, published just yesterday:
Henry Waxman, the liberal Democrat from California, wants to force the so-called “fairness doctrine” not only on the broadcasting industry (radio and television), but now on the Internet, too. This would mean these media would be forced to broadcast as many liberal shows as conservative ones and equality among the blogs, regardless of their lack of profitability and lack of popularity. Hey, Waxman, have you ever heard of the First Amendment and freedom of choice? Apparently not. – Royal A. Brown III, Winter Haven
It’s not true, the claims aren’t real, but they have a real effect as readers get this third-hand “news” and take it seriously. Head to your favorite search engine and check out the life of this false story on the internet and in America’s newspapers. The absolute denial by Waxman and the FCC that they take this position or have even had a meeting has been utterly swamped by the conservative noise machine and the people who, wittingly or not, spread its falsehoods.
Take the actions I mentioned above in the name of reason and reality. Help do your bit to counter the bullcrap.