Right-wing worries wane over Clinton-led FCC

Thursday, December 22, 2016
 | 
Billy Davis, Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Trump and Hillary shaking handsAlong with appointing a new cabinet, Donald Trump will choose a slew of lower-level government officials, including some commissioners to the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC regulates things related to broadcast media, and Democrats brought their big-government worldview to that panel, most recently with a push for so-called "net neutrality."

That push is expected to diminish after Tom Wheeler, the FCC commissioner, announced this month he will step down when Trump takes office Jan. 20.

Wheeler's departure, Politico explained, "means the FCC will start the Trump administration with a 2-1 Republican majority, allowing the GOP to immediately begin dismantling Obama-era regulations." 

Aaron Mercer of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) organization says the FCC has regulatory control over broadcast media, not just the Internet. 

radio studio microphoneThat has historically been where liberals have tried to attack the message as well as the messenger.

"If the federal government gets more and more involved and has more and more power," Mercer warns, "we're concerned that there could be more restraints placed on content that we care about."

In the past, those have included things like the Fairness Doctrine of the 1950's, '60's and '70's. That requirement mandated that when a news organization such as American Family News gives voice to one side of an argument – a pro-life story, for example – it would have to give the pro-abortion viewpoint as well.

Due to influential radio pioneers such as Rush Limbaugh, and many others who followed him, Democrats in Congress have repeatedly pushed to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine to thwart right-wing radio waves.

"Had the Reagan-era Federal Communications Commission not done away with it in the 1980s — it was a patently unconstitutional limit on the First Amendment rights of broadcasters — Limbaugh’s career would never have happened," National Review Online reported in 2008, when Limbaugh's show turned twenty years old.

NPR logo 620x300There was certainly concern among religious conservatives about an FCC controlled by the Clinton administration, says Tim Wildmon, president of the Mississippi-based American Family Association.

The ministry has expanded to include American Family Radio, which currently oversees 185 radio stations in 33 states, including a tower operating in Virginia that reaches into Washington, D.C.

American Family Association"As an organization mislabeled a 'hate group' by the Left," Wildmon says, "we were deeply concerned about the direction the FCC was headed in 2017 if Hillary won."

Aware of the government's power, NRB maintains a presence in Washington, D.C., where it views itself as a "watchman on the wall" for religous broadcasters across the country.

Beyond its influence over the radio waves, Mercer says the FCC adds a ton of regulations to how the Internet operates, treating Internet carriers and broadband providers much like phone companies.

"There are laws that are specific to them that now, using that authority, the FCC can wield a lot of power over how the Internet works and how it gets delivered to you," he says.


American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News, which includes news website OneNewsNow.

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