FEC Going After Talk Radio

The Federal Elections Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman doesn’t like it. But, he said federal government officials are pushing for his agency to go after conservative media such as talk radio and conservative internet sites.

Sean HannityThe Washington Examiner story specifically mentioned Sean Hannity and Matt Drudge. But if the media exemption for federal election laws are done away with for certain media, it would be a devastating blow to talk radio.

“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” Goodman told the Washington Examiner. “The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications.”

Lifting the media exemption on conservative outlets – or any media outlet – would treat a radio show, Internet site, magazine or newspaper as a political action committee that is subject to regulation by the government. That would undercut the basic First Amendment right to freedom of the press.

This is not new. In the 1960s the Kennedy administration launched an assault using the government to go after conservative talk radio. This was accelerated by the Johnson administration in what was called the “challenge and harass” strategy.

To learn more about the “challenge and harass” strategy of liberal government officials against conservative talk radio, read Chapter 5 of The Right Frequency.

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