Patterico's Pontifications


The Democrat Free Speech Mafia Lives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:54 pm

Nice broadcasting license you got there, Squire. It’d be a real shame if you was to lose it over “The Path to 9/11.”

Democrats, it’s simple. Denounce this letter, or declare yourselves in favor of government threats against networks based on the content of free speech.

UPDATE: OK, I swear I didn’t read Allah’s take on this before I posted:

Wonderful network you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.

. . . .

My only question is this: was that letter typed, or did they use letters cut out from magazines?

But it’s mighty similar (if funnier), isn’t it?

52 Responses to “The Democrat Free Speech Mafia Lives”

  1. Does the senate regulate broadcast licenses?

    actus (6234ee)

  2. Weve already meekly accepted restrictions on our political speech via BCRA. (I havent yet noticed anyone stepping forward to commit acts of civil disobedience.) What makes anyone think that the American public is going to get all worked up over the government stifling a network?

    [Bloggers can’t commit such acts, because we begged for (and got) an exemption. — P]

    diffus (116edd)

  3. Do you think we can retroactively ban Fahrenheit 911 ? Just asking.

    Mike K (416363)

  4. They did the EXACT SAME THING with that Kerry movie before the 2004 election. Strike 2 against free speech.

    Jim C. (85b830)

  5. With this crackdown on free speech, it’s no surprise the Dems have long held the communists in such high regard.

    Desert Rat (d8da01)

  6. Patterico,

    1. What do you think the shelf life of the blogger exemption will be?

    [Don’t know and don’t care. The government can’t tell me not to mention a candidate’s name within 60 days of an election, and I won’t let it try. — P]

    2. Would you, as a juror some time in the future, vote to convict a blogger of violating the govt’s speech codes, say, because they criticized an elected official? Or would you nullify? I’m just trying to find the edges here.

    [I certainly wouldn’t vote to convict, but it’s tough for me to say I’d lie my way onto a jury to acquit either. I’m not sure I would. I am convinced that Americans will ultimately not stand for a law so outrageous that it prevents a blogger from mentioning a candidate’s name within 60 days of an election. I’ll say that I would defy such a clearly unconstitutional law, and I couldn’t convict anyone of it. But I don’t think I’d lie to nullify. And as a lower court judge, I couldn’t uphold such a law. I’d probably write the most scathing resignation letter you’ve ever read. — P]

    3. The above two q’s aren’t meant to be as snarky as they sound.

    [I know. You have a long history here. Permission to speak freely granted (though you didn’t request permission and don’t need to). I won’t take offense. — P]

    ras (a646fc)

  7. Do you think we can retroactively ban Fahrenheit 911 ? Just asking.

    Ah, yes, because censoring political speech is _exactly_ what Patterico is championing in this post. Do people even read before the knee goes off?

    Not like F911 wasn’t passed over because it was “too political” by the same company, but that was private action, not state.

    For the record, that letter is out of line. I suspect it is just posturing, but it is wrong. And F911 sucked. OTOH, If Mickey Mouse wants to replace the elephant, far be it from me to want to stop them. Fitting, really. Although I would have picked Elmer Fudd…

    fishbane (3389fc)

  8. The D.N.C. has a petition on their website for ABC and Disney to censor this film and get it axed.

    I signed the petition. Here’s my contribution:

    The Democratic Party is completely terrified of the truth coming out about Bill Clinton’s neglect of matters not involving cigars, interns, etc.

    And I hate to see grown men cry, so I must insist that you immediately pull this docuDrama from the air before it airs because:

    1.) You’ve been threatened (and Democrats love caving into threats, so be a good boy now)

    2.) When “acclaimed” docuMENTARY producer Michael Moore whose documentary points were blown out of the water for being outright lies, distortion, non-sequential editing, misrepresentations by people who are now suing him, etc. and he’s granted a V.I.P. seat at the D.N.C. convention, well, fairness demands that Disney and ABC pull their drama before it has a chance to air to the public

    3.) This will kill the Democrats’ midterm re-election chances faster than Bill Clinton making crocodile tears in front of cameras at his Ron Brown’s funeral… dumb, dumb D-U-M-B d-u-m-b!

    I never thought the Republicans would pick up seats again. Thanks for helping Rove out!

    Why don’t you all support the petition too? Click here to voice your say.

    Do… the Democrats really want to be known as the party that censors kids favorite network, Disney?

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  9. They did the EXACT SAME THING with that Kerry movie before the 2004 election. Strike 2 against free speech.

    For those who missed this, Reed Hundt, the former chairman of the FCC, sent this letter to the Sinclair Broadcasting Group threatening to get their licenses revoked (of course Kerry would have had to win for there to have been a chance of this happening).

    I think the calls for boycotts in cases like these are against the spirit of free discourse, but certainly within people’s rights. But threatening to pull licenses for engaging in political discourse is a disgusting, anti-American act.

    Ken Hirsch (e16a8e)

  10. Democrats, its simple. Denounce this letter, or declare yourselves in favor of government threats against networks based on the content of free speech.

    Didn’t the senate just increase indecency fines? The content of speech have been a part of how we allocate spectrum since the begginging.

    [You’re DEFENDING this?!?! — P]

    actus (6234ee)

  11. This is going to bite the Democrats, my party (I am a lifelong Democrat), in the behind. It is too much to hope for that ABC will fire George Stephanopoulos or Sam Donaldson but I doubt that it will again finance any more fishing trips by Nightline to Vietnam in order to debunk the Swift Boat Vets. Nobody likes blackmail.

    nk (2ab789)

  12. The Democrats will deny any threat was intended, but one wonders what their reaction would be if Scott McClellan had written the Sumner Redstone with the same innuendo before Dan Rather’s infamous story.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  13. nk,

    How can you possibly stay a democrat with all of the crazy evil things they do? I used to be a hippy in San Francisco…as liberal as they come until I woke up and decided to join the real world, lol. I just don’t understand how anyone with any sense of logic or the ability to think critically can remain with the dems. It took me 3 years, but I’ve even turned my mom into a conservative…the world isn’t safe with democrats in office…….

    Stacy (e5478a)

  14. Stacy #14,

    Think of me as a Reagan Democrat.

    nk (2ab789)

  15. Stacey, some of us (Not speaking for nk or anyone else) “Democrats of opportunity”. I can’t see how anyone who wants small government can support these hosebags in office now, and at least I want a divided government. Terrorism is not an existential threat, and is in fact better handled as a criminal and intel matter, as Europe is showing. (Not that it matters, but I live in NYC, where aside from the anthrax or the OK bombings, the two biggest terror plots to hit us, hit us. NY now has its own intelligence agency, which is pissing off the federal ones because it is more effective.)

    We need these con artists out of power and a return to limited government with interlocking oversight. It doesn’t matter that D’s might be just as bad: we need gridlock to stop things from getting worse.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  16. EFishbane, Europe is getting hit repeatedly. You’re an idiot.

    It’s a military matter. Unleash.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  17. …And the Gloves Come Off…

    Hot Air’s Allahpundit and Bryan have been furiously keeping up with the day’s developments over ABC’s “The Path to 9/11.”

    Hugh Hewitt has taken notice as well
    Texas Rainmaker has an excellent synthesis of the cover-up, as well as (gasp!) actua…

    Fake Turkey (59ce3a)

  18. fishbane: The con has been working, at least on you. What is so funny is that everything the democrats have screamed about ‘Bush’ lied has been proven false. This is just another example of BDS progressing to insanity in the democratic party. How many more of the democrats lies will be revealed in the coming month as just that, lies. WMD found,Plame shot down without a gun. When a democrat lies it takes a while but the truth outs itself.

    Scrapiron (9f37aa)

  19. fishbane,

    Posing kills. I hope you can renounce it before it kills any more.

    I suspect you know it too, you’re smart, but are showing your more partisan side in public for reasons of pride.


    Thx for the answers, but frankly a scathing resignation letter means nothing other than two lines on pg 17, if that. All it does is cede power to your non-representative replacement who will then do the dirty deed.

    Really my q boils down to this: if the govt moves, observing the legal process at every step, to take away free speech thru legislation, at what point do their actions (to use your phrase as I recall it) threaten the fabric of society?

    I.E. What, on the topic of speech suppression, would be enough to justify jury nullification in your mind? Or is the line inviolate on this matter, regardless, and the scathing letter remains as your complete answer?

    Better let us know while it’s still allowed!

    ras (a646fc)

  20. Posing kills. I hope you can renounce it before it kills any more.

    I’m not sure I know what this means. If you can clarify, I’ll respond.

    I suspect you know it too, you’re smart, but are showing your more partisan side in public for reasons of pride.

    Really, I’m not a Democrat. I’m one of those damned libertarians. I voted for Bush the first time, thinking that congress would go the other way. Silly me.

    Trust me, if it were a matter of pride, I’d have declared victory and gone home a long time ago. Literally nothing I want happens – Clinton? We get blowjobs (OK, that probably wasn’t phrased well – at least some people might like him better if that were true). GOP gets everything? we get bridges to nowhere and insane, counterproductive, expensive wars.

    If it were my pride attached to a party, at least I’d have a party.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  21. fishbane,

    Ok, I’ll bite! What does the word “libertarian” mean to you?

    ras (a646fc)

  22. ras:

    Less government.

    For the extended abstract, please see Hayek, or Friedman.

    Feel free to dismiss me. I’m guessing, but not assuming, that you’re the same sort of person who thought of FISA as intrusive back in the day, and now finds it too restrictive. Guess we need more black helicopters now, too. Or more Demorcrats. Either way, I guess. Sigh.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  23. Fishbane, I think your statement that the New York “intelligence service” is more effective than the national one is a bit of fancy, but if it were true, maybe it would be because the New York Times isn’t actively sabotaging the local boys like they are the national intelligence services.

    Doc Rampage (4a07eb)

  24. Doc, you are smoking crack. Look it up – google isn’t hard. I know where my taxes go. I wonder if you do.

    And what they NYT has to do with local government, I dunno, unless this is another the-liberal-MSM-eats-babies thing. As far as it goes, they’re much more dangerous about property than the pals of BloomShrub. (Even republicans hate him, locally. cf. Giulliani, only less present – I think Bloomberg has spent more time on vacation than the President, which is impressive. In a way.)

    fishbane (3389fc)

  25. fishbane,

    How can I take your libertarian stance seriously when you advocate replacing big with bigger?

    q: welfare should be eliminated. Y/N?

    q: medical care should not be a govt function. Y/N?

    q: all schools should be private. Y/N?

    I’ll check in come the morn to see your replies. G’nite.

    ras (a646fc)

  26. Sorry to have phrased incorrectly, I meant “the feds” when I said “they” in the last entry.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  27. I’m a huge believer in a mixed economy.

    The fact is, I’ve benefitted from social programs — to the point of having my life saved by publicly-funded medical care, which my poor parents could never have afforded.

    I’m also smart enough to realize that the money for said social program came from people working for their own self-interest. And that most of life isn’t medical care. That working for your own self-interest is inherently good and I do it for myself.

    Strangely, while strongly pro-business, I find myself working for the same publicly funded medical system (for a privately run administration company!) that saved my life over 15-years ago — perhaps twice.

    It’s tough to by the pure libertarian argument that all social programs are bad. I also learned to do much of my reading, writing, and arithmetic, in addition to calculus, algebra, geography, etc. at school. Publicly-funded school.

    Yes, I was a keen learner, still am, and learned much of this myself. I’d skip school to go to the library to study. Seriously.

    I love sales and marketing… human communications generally. It’s a passion of mine and where I see my future.

    I believe in investing and… a mixed economy with taxes in the 30-35% range (somewhat lower than Canada has now) and support programs for poorer people. Limited support programs and I strongly support “two-tier” because it’s immoral to threaten someone with jail because they choose to spend their own money on their health care instead of on a hot tub.

    Yet pure libertarianism? Wouldn’t work. You’d create the conditions for socialist revolution.

    Our two countries’ systems aren’t perfect… but they aren’t that bad.

    Most people can pursue the job, education, spouse, friendships, and entertainment of their choice… and see a doctor.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  28. Ras:

    – Welfare? kill it, but encourage work-to-jobs. It seems to work, messy, sure, but it keeps people going, and I think we all want that.
    – Medical care? Get it the fuck out of government hands. But I would, in fact, prefer single-payer over what we have now, which is a massively subsidized insurance scam to buy votes from old people in the short term. (face it.) But if we could have a real free market, I’m all for it. Until then, I’d rather something better, which is why people keep poking it.
    – I’m all for an all private school systems. The sooner the better – give the idiots what want creationism a moron factory, for dog’s sake. I didn’t have the advantage, but my brother was taught at home. Advantage will, ahem, evolve.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  29. So, next up, Ras: let’s talk about the agricultural subsidies, the (huge) energy subsidies, and general silly pork. Which one do you want to defend first?

    fishbane (3389fc)

  30. #17

    “Terrorism is not an existential threat”

    I assume that you have notified the families of the 9/11 victims about your grand pronouncement? Even I am stunned by such dangerous and self-indulgent idiocy.

    Federal Dog (9afd6c)

  31. Machiavelli once said “Do not wound the Prince, or else you will find out why he is the Prince.”

    ABC has a choice to make–it can be a broadcaster or it can willfully turn itself into an extension of the Republican party.

    ABC wouldn’t have gotten away with it had they not been so utterly obvious in their intentions–hiring a buddy of Rush Limbaugh and pandering to rightwing and conservative pundits and bloggers.

    Btw, there is a huge difference between a broadcaster with a public license and a film that charges admission.

    [I’m just curious: who are the right-wing bloggers who were pandered to? — P]

    Geek, Esq. (a214b6)

  32. [You’re DEFENDING this?!?! — P]

    I think its as unprecedented as what ABC is doing. But the fact is that broadcast is a highly regulated medium, and in indeed, content based. So to say that it’s unprecedented that we have someone complaining about the content is, well, wrong.

    And I think its clear that ABC’s license won’t be touched. From what I know of broadcast regulation, having friends who are media activits, broadcast licenses don’t get pulled. At most, ABC’s interests with democrats in congress will suffeer, just as we expect the interest of anyone who donates 40 million dollars to the opposition to suffer. But probably won’t suffer that much: ABC’s interest is the same as that of a lot of the content industry, which is not only a heavy democratic donor, but also quite savvy on the hill. Note their ability to pass ludicruous copyright laws.

    Also, I believe that ABC doesn’t really have a broadcast license. Individual ABC stations do. ABC may own some or all of these stations though

    actus (6234ee)

  33. Actus,

    I think there is a big difference between regulating, and specifically threatening someone that if you broadcast something we don’t like politically, and we get the majority, we will pull your license.

    So, you are basically defendint 2 things here: 1) censorship (merely complaining about the content and calling ABC to try and get it changed is not censorship – threatening them with government power is) and 2) blackmail – by use of official office.

    So, I am surprised if you are really claiming that threatening to take their license away (even if you believe it would never really happen) because the dems don’t like the message, is ok.

    – GB

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  34. For instance, as much as I think “Farenheit 9/11” or “An Inconvient Truth” are total b.s. and packed with lies, I would not support any republican threatening a network television station and threatening to pull their license if they air it.

    However, if you believe it is OK in this instance, than it would certainly be OK to do in the above instance.

    Is that really what you are advocating for?

    – GB

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  35. Democrats Threaten ABC License and Free Speech over "Path to 9/11" Mini-Series…

    Apparently the only message that Democrats want to allow out is the type of false and misleading Michael Mooreish style message that distorts the truth for the purpose of Democrat political gain.


    Webloggin (a2d188)

  36. Scholastic Pulls "Path to 9/11" Educational Resource Kit…

    I have a copy of the resource kit here. Nothing in the documentary or the kit would have threatened the objectives as stated in this letter to teachers. It is more likely that politically active teachers would have taken it upon themselves to steer the…

    Webloggin (a2d188)

  37. “Does the senate regulate broadcast licenses?”

    Does it matter, after this was done? The Dems lost any moral authority to regulate broadcast licenses after they broadcast (pun unintended) their little threat.

    It’s like trying to sue for libel/slander/defamation nowadays. That sort of legal action has become universally seen as an attempt to silence the critics.

    Brad S (12c864)

  38. […] Democrat Senators threatened ABC’s free speech rights yesterday, and the L.A. Times has failed to report it. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » L.A. Times Ignores Democrat Senators’ Thuggery (421107)

  39. […] Patterico: “Democrats, it’s simple. Denounce this letter, or declare yourselves in favor of government threats against networks based on the content of free speech.” posted by: The Editors @ 6:26 pm September 7, 2006 […]

    The Unalienable Right » Democrats threaten censorship and retaliation if miniseries airs (7644ea)

  40. I didn’t see this until this morning.

    The Senators should not have sent this letter, and they should apologize for doing so. Even if their allegations about the truth of the information contained within the show is true, it is not ok to send a letter complaining about the falsehood and referencing the station’s license in such a way as to imply a threat. The correct solution would be to publish proof that the information is false, and/or pay someone to create a competing miniseries.

    (For what it’s worth, I don’t think the implied threat is serious; but that doesn’t make it any better.)

    aphrael (e7c761)

  41. Actus: yes, and the indecency rules are an affront to free speech, as well. One evil does not another evil justify.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  42. “allegations … is”. sigh. No commenting before coffee!

    aphrael (e7c761)

  43. But the fact is that broadcast is a highly regulated medium, and in indeed, content based.

    Equating apples and oranges as usual. This has nothing to do with enforcing a regulation.

    So to say that it’s unprecedented that we have someone complaining about the content is, well, wrong.

    A red herring. This is not just complaining. It appears to be an attempt to pressure ABC.

    Gerald A (fe1f90)

  44. “I think its as unprecedented as what ABC is doing.”

    What’s unprecedented about what ABC is doing? They are showing a movie based on actual events over 2 nights. It isn’t the first time this has happened, nor is it the first time anything was shown without commercials.

    sharon (03e82c)

  45. fishbane,

    So, next up, Ras: let’s talk about the agricultural subsidies, the (huge) energy subsidies, and general silly pork. Which one do you want to defend first?

    None of the above. I’m a small-govt type myself: just enough to prevent anarchy leading to warlords leading to dictatorship, pls. Less is more.

    I think Chris from Victoria hits on a key pt: there is a fundamental disconnect between a libertarian philosophy that produces the wealth, and a social-pgms philosophy that consumes it. A centralized govt cannot answer to two masters.

    If there are to be any “extraneous” pgms run by govt, then the two philosophies must be delineated by clear, bright lines. And, if possible, that should include delineation by jurisdiction (kick it downstairs to the states, provinces, etc) to enable people to see how different approaches fare, and to choose those that they prefer.

    Oh, and I would, btw, roughly lump all of the examples in your list (e.g. pork, which you redundantly referenced as being generally silly) under the moniker of “corporate welfare.” Let’s just say that corp welfare is as bad as any other kind and should be eliminated.

    p.s. Got a busy day underway so I might not be able to check back in till much later for replies.

    ras (a646fc)

  46. […] Some folks are calling “unprecedented” the Democrats’ mafia-style implicit threats to yank ABC’s broadcast license. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Democrat Threats to ABC’s Free Speech Rights Are Hardly “Unprecedented” (421107)

  47. What is realy needed is a whole lot of demacrats to get impeached removed from office and sent to live in the himalayas for the rest of their lives

    krazy kagu (3067be)

  48. The demanazis free speech is nonexistent and thats the way they want it

    krazy kagu (be5799)

  49. They are showing a movie based on actual events over 2 nights. It isn’t the first time this has happened, nor is it the first time anything was shown without commercials.

    You’re right. There’s plenty thats unprecedent: They’re broadcasting Electromagnatic waves throughout the country. But they’re also spending millions of dollars lying about the path to 911.

    actus (6234ee)

  50. […] As a staunch advocate of the First Amendment, I have to say that this is one of the scariest things I’ve seen since . . . well, since the last time Democrats used thuggery to try to squelch free speech. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obama Uses Thuggish Lawyer Tactics to Try to Squelch NRA’s Criticism (b16ea8)

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