RUSH: Sam in Cincinnati, you’re next. Welcome back to the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. It’s an honor. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I had a question on the Harkin amendment.
CALLER: Well, given the failure of liberal talk radio and the fact that our defense is a valid receptacle of government funding, I wondered if his amendment could any way be a back door to mandating domestic radio, putting more liberal talk show hosts in their lineup.
RUSH: No, I don’t think that — let me — there have been some developments in this, too. Well, that could happen, but not via this amendment.
RUSH: That could happen via something called the Fairness Doctrine.
CALLER: Right, right.
RUSH: And it wouldn’t lead to more liberals on the radio — well, it would, but what it would lead to is the lack of discussion of issues that station management considered controversial because they would be mandated to give people who disagree with it the same amount of time. They couldn’t run a business that way. So the Fairness Doctrine was part of Reagan, deregulation of broadcasting back in like 1986, and the left has done everything they can to try to get it reinstituted and if they ever get power back in the White House and control enough of the Senate or the House, they may try it again. It’s going to be tough to get it done but they may try.
The Harkin amendment, I talked to Senator Ted Stevens, folks, after the program yesterday. I called him, and because Ted Stevens is the senator from Alaska. He did the first eulogy for President Reagan at the Capitol Rotunda, before the public was admitted into the president lying in state. And I talked to him yesterday about five o’clock, and I asked him about it. He didn’t even know about this. He didn’t know about this, which is classic. It’s exactly what we thought yesterday, the way the Senate works. Harkin did not go to the floor of the Senate to read his amendment. He put a statement into the record that nobody read, just offered an amendment, nobody read. It was just, you know, an innocuous little amendment, statement on the website that was full of things that trashed me personally.
And I talked to Stevens, and the reason I wanted to call him is because he is chairman of the subcommittee on defense appropriations, and he was an appropriations bulldog, and he didn’t know anything about this. And he said, “Let me look into this and I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” He sent me a fax today with a revised amendment. They’ve gone in and fixed the amendment. They’ve watered this thing down. Whatever the Harkin amendment was, it now doesn’t mention my name. It’s too long to read to you, but it’s just full of whereases and herefors and from now on’s and so forth we believe in balance on the Armed Forces Radio Network. We want to balance. We want to make sure that the people who program the Armed Forces Radio Network, assure that there’s balance of opposing views and so forth and so on.
Let me tell you what this is. What this is all about is getting a few more liberal talk shows on the Armed Forces Network. That’s what I think the ultimate aim is all about here now. I’m not through fighting this, because if this can happen without these people knowing about it, and it’s not their fault, this is Senate procedure. We’ve heard all along about how these bills get so bloated with so many amendments added at the last moment, it’s impossible because the main thrust of this bill is to fund the military next year. So here you have an innocuous amendment about Armed Forces Radio and having it be balanced. Well, who’s going to oppose that? It’s like you may as well call this the Civil Rights Amendment of 2004. Nobody is going to oppose anything if it’s called civil rights. You could have a bill that wipes out abortion. If it’s called the Civil Rights Act of 2004, it will be a tough time for people to vote against it because of the term “civil rights.” It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I wanted to illustrate it that way.
So Stevens did something yesterday, revised this, and he sent me the new amendment, and he said, “Is this okay?” He said, “Do you have any objections to this?” (Laughing.)And I looked at it, and I said, “Am I allowed to object to an amendment to the defense appropriations bill when I’m not a senator?” I mean, I can as a citizen, obviously, any citizen can object, but it doesn’t matter.
So apparently it’s been really watered down. It’s very innocuous, but Harkin accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, ultimately, because what this is about is getting even more liberal diatribe on Armed Forces Radio Network, probably the Armed Forces Network. Now, we’re not through with this because there’s a still a chance of getting this whole thing taken out over on the House side, and I do not withdraw from the position that I said yesterday. This is unprecedented for a United States senator to single out a single citizen in a defense appropriations bill, a major, major piece of legislation. A United States senator singles out a single citizen, me, as representing harm, as spreading propaganda, as damaging the morale of the troops. Now, that’s censorship. That is attempted censorship, not what happens to other people in the private sector. That may be bad enough, but it’s not censorship. This, when a United States senator, reacting to a bunch of numskulls that are extensions of the Democratic Party, can simply add an amendment based on a single citizen, why, I mean on the one hand, folks, it’s astounding. It’s unbelievable. On the other hand, I’m going, “I am really screwing with these people, and I love it! This is cool!” (Laughing.)
So we’re still working on it, but to answer your question, I don’t think that the Harkin amendment will find its way into the mainstream of American commercial broadcasting. They’ve already got a vehicle for that called the Fairness Doctrine. They’re itching to get it reactivated. I appreciate the call out there, Sam.