Democrats on the FEC Prove that Big Government Liberals are a Bunch of Squares

Democrats on the FEC Prove that Big Government Liberals are a Bunch of Squares

November 20, 2014

By: Patrick Hedger, Policy Director- American Encore

The 2009 film "Pirate Radio" is one of my favorites. Apart from its killer soundtrack, the film tells the story of a bunch of quirky and lovable characters sick of the British government’s refusal to play rock and roll on the radio in the 1960s. Imagine that! Not playing any rock and roll in 1960s Britain, a time when that country was producing some of the best music and artists of the 20th Century, would be like the government trying to stifle the fossil fuel industry during an oil boom (cough, cough)… but I digress.

The characters take to the high seas and begin broadcasting all the great music of the time from a ship parked in international waters. Of course this rubs the uptight aristo-bureaucrats back in London the very wrong way, and they proceed to do everything in their power, and even outside of it, to shutdown the rock and roll pirates. It’s a back and forth of silly laws and regulations versus first-class nose thumbing from the pirates. Meanwhile, the people of the UK are firmly in the corner of the pirates. The pirates meet the insatiable demand of the people for rock and roll that the government never even attempts to do through the state-owned media outlets.

Believe it or not, the movie is based (loosely) on a true story. In the 1960s, the British government didn’t play any popular music on BBC radio. So pirate radio stations were established, both on and offshore, and the government passed all sorts of laws to try and shut them down. Yet recent remarks by the Republican Chairman of the Federal Election Commission have me thinking that movie now serves as an apt metaphor for the interaction of government and politics under the Obama administration.

Lee Goodman, the mentioned Chairman, has warned that his Democratic colleagues are interested in regulating political speech on the Internet, from blogs, to podcasts, to YouTube videos. “It really is a specter of a government review board culling the Internet daily,” he told Fox News.

While this may sound like a crazy idea, its premise is perfectly in line with the pattern of observed behavior elsewhere in government under Democratic control. The IRS is still taking heat for targeting conservative groups for additional scrutiny in review of their tax-exempt statuses in addition to a number of seemingly politically motivated audits of other groups and individuals. Even in Congress, Senate Democrats have introduced a Constitutional Amendment to literally amend the First Amendment and give Congress (and thus themselves) near limitless power to control election spending.

Now comes word that the FEC wants to regulate who is saying what on the World-Wide-Web. What is going on here? Why the sudden push by liberals, long supposed champions of individual liberty, to gut Free Speech? To answer this question, we have to look at what’s happening on the other side of the coin.

For years the political establishment in the United States, despite free press protections, could more effectively control the dissemination of information to the masses. People were limited to their local papers, schools, libraries, and a paltry handful of television and radio stations for news and information. It wasn’t easy for the average American to get a real handle on what was going on in Washington with just a few minutes every night with Walter Cronkite or Tom Brokaw. Even today, with all the competition from online sources, the media establishment still fails to deliver relevant information.

A recent study by the Media Research Center, which of course we wouldn’t know about if the Democrats at the FEC, IRS, or in the Senate had their way, found that the big three networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, virtually didn't cover the 2014 Midterm Elections which were shaping up to be and became a nightmare for Democrats. Between September 1 and October 20, CBS Evening News ran 14 stories, NBC Nightly News 11, and ABC World News an astounding zero. Compared to 2006, a year when Democrats were poised to dominate and did? 68 stories, 55, and 36 respectively.

The difference between those two years, and more years passed, is that information is increasingly on demand. It travels at the speed of light at the moment you request it from millions of different sources and perspectives. The truth can no longer be hidden. History and economics lessons that pull the clothes off the emperor aren’t covered in dust on a back shelf at the library. They are available on Amazon and can be at your door tomorrow morning. Their teachings are on countless different blogs from a vast array of the world’s best critical thinkers. The news? It’s no longer filtered through big corporations that pay for the cameras and typewriters and printing presses. Almost everyone has a camera. Almost everyone has access to a computer and the Internet.

Independent bloggers, organizations, trade groups, and other stakeholders with opinions and access to different facts about important issues all have the ability to broadcast that information to anyone that demands it through blogging, videos, and podcasts. Meanwhile, the traditional media continues to be incapable to, or perhaps unwilling to, meet this demand.

Thus the Internet has become our ship in international waters. Conservatives, independents, and even progressives that challenge the order of things are the pirates, artists, and rock and rollers. Meanwhile, Washington Democrats, in their effort to sink the ship, have proven to be just a bunch of uptight squares that can’t stand all the noise.

I say rock on.

It's Time for an American Encore