Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee Bans Talk Radio

In what could only be described as a bizarre and illogical first move as the newly elected governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee (I) announced a ban on state employees having any contact with radio broadcasters. The move is part of a broader attack on radio broadcasters by liberals across the nation in the wake of the tragedy in Arizona.

Shortly after the heartbreaking incident in Tucson, liberals across the spectrum immediately began assigning blame for it, without evidence, to conservatives and the tone of rhetoric in today’s politics. Even after this notion was completely debunked as anything was learned of the shooter, Jared Loughner, liberal leaders persisted. Even after President Obama wisely rebuked such a suggestion in his Tucson address.

Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA) chose to introduce a bill that would limit the exercise of free speech to that which a member of congress agrees with, dismissively saying: “Let the Supreme Court deal with freedom of speech. Let the Supreme Court deal with the Constitution. Congress passes laws. That’s what we do.”

Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) chose to call for a return to the Fairness Doctrine, looking for a better way “to control our airwaves.” Of course, Congress censoring the airwaves was an idea rejected long ago. In fact, the Fairness Doctrine was in place when President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated, so its connection with the incident in Arizona is nothing but opportunism on the part of elected leaders looking to stifle free speech and debate.

Taking a cue from Clyburn and Slaughter, Governor Chafee didn’t even wait for the FCC to take action against radio broadcasters, and instead muzzled all state employees unilaterally. Chafee’s spokesman defended the decision saying talk-radio is “ratings-drive, for-profit programming” and went on to say they don’t “think it is appropriate to use taxpayer resources” -in the form of state employee work time to- “support for-profit, ratings-driven programming.”



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