Mr. Speaker, it is written, ``Congress will make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or bridging the freedom of speech or the freedom of press or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances.'' Of course, this is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. And Mr. Speaker, it is first because, without these first principles, the rest of the following amendments are meaningless. These are rights that Americans take very seriously, particularly in regard to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
There are some in Washington, D.C., however, that feel if someone is saying something they don't like, they ignore this freedom of the right to speak and try to control speech. This is where the so-called Fairness Doctrine comes into play.
In the early 1940s, the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, established the so-called Fairness Doctrine. It was instituted in an attempt to ensure that all broadcast station coverage of controversial issues be fair and balanced. This mainly applied to radio stations. This means allowing equal time for each side on an issue. If a radio station wanted to talk about the need to secure the borders, they would have to grant the same amount of time to individuals who wanted open borders.
The Fairness Doctrine was considered by many journalists a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and freedom of press. And I agree with this assertion. It even led many journalists to avoid reporting on controversial issues to protect themselves from having to report on the other side of the issue. This led to the opposite effect of the doctrine that the FCC had intended. It actually stifled free speech.
So, by 1987, the FCC revoked the Fairness Doctrine, realizing the gross error in their ways in total disregard for the freedom of speech. There have been several attempts by speech-control advocates to reenact the Fairness Doctrine, and all of these attempts have continued to fail. But this decision still does not sit well with many in Washington, D.C., who feel that broadcast talk radio is one-sided. What it really means is that talk radio largely boasts conservative views and not liberal viewpoints. Liberal radio doesn't go over well with Americans, and these stations generally fail financially and with the American listeners. So the critics of conservative radio have started a movement to eliminate conservative talk radio unless equal time is allowed for liberal viewpoints. Basically, they want a reinstatement of the unfair Fairness Doctrine. But what the critics may really be irate about deals more with illegal immigration than it does with talk radio, because that is the current controversial issue on talk radio stations.
Since their voices are so rarely heard in Congress, the American public has come to express their opinions by talk radio, especially on this issue of illegal immigration. The backroom, closed-door meetings the Senate has had to reach a deal on amnesty that the American public certainly doesn't want has encouraged talk radio shows to inform the public of this absurd nonsense of amnesty.
Talk radio has been one of the only vehicles that has kept the public informed about the ``give America away'' amnesty program and the political pandering and preference policies for illegals that the Senate bill is advocating.
So because the amnesty crowd doesn't like what they hear on the radio, they want the Federal Government to control this speech by forcing radio stations to give them free air time. If the liberals don't like talk radio, it is patently unfair to force radio stations to pay for and give away air time to them. You see, liberals can't make their case on their own radio station because no one listens to them.
So, Mr. Speaker, the Constitution protects free speech, not equal speech. Congress is to make no law abridging the freedom of speech whether we like the speech or not.
It's simple, Mr. Speaker, speech is to be free, not fair. Fair is too subjective a word. Our grandfathers guaranteed us free speech, not fair speech, and there is a big difference.
Congress is to stay out of the controlling of speech business because it says so in the U.S. Constitution. Our ancestors wrote the First Amendment mainly to protect two types of speech, political speech and religious speech. Those are the most controversial of all types of speech and the most important types of speech. That's why they are protected in our Constitution.
By trying to regulate what is said on the airways, the Federal Government and the speech police are speaking out of line.
And that's just the way it is.
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