Radio station WIOD, AM 610, has been the official channel for emergency information from Broward County government for the past year. The County Commission, all Democrats, balked at renewing the deal Tuesday, unable to stomach the station also being home to [Rush] Limbaugh's talk show.
Commissioner Stacy Ritter said she did not want to support a station that's out of step with area politics. Ritter, a Democratic stalwart in the state Legislature before being elected to county office, cited talk shows hosted by Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and WIOD's partnership with Fox News.
--The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 13, 2007
And so we reach the inevitable end of the left’s campaign against the First Amendment. The Democrats in Broward County have officially declared themselves as the anti-free speech party. Commissioner Ritter is to be applauded for her candor, for declaring openly what elected Democrats across the country mutter quietly to themselves: “Rush, Sean and the rest must be silenced!”
I have heard of brass-knuckled politics before, but never anything on the order of denying your political opponents news of approaching hurricanes.
When Katrina struck, some wild-eyed lefties accused President Bush of denying relief efforts to New Orleans because the city was predominantly African-American.
Now we have actual proof of Democrats wanting to keep conservatives in the dark about approaching storms.
WIOD is the big news-talk voice on the block in south Florida –the news/talk ratings giant in the region. Those of us in the business know such things. If you want to get the word out about breaking news, you go to WIOD, first. It is where people in the area turn for bulletins.
My program is not on WIOD. The station’s loss, let me assure you, but also an indication that I have no dog in this fight. Professionals tend to be cold-eyed about data, and the data says one thing: If you want to warn south Florida about the approach of a hurricane, you’d better get the message on WIOD.
In the world of talk radio, Rush is Hertz and Sean is Avis. I am happy to be Enterprise, and my colleagues at Salem –Bill Bennett, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved—will all tell you the same thing. We have vast and wonderful audiences, but not as large as those enjoyed by Rush and Sean. Those are just facts.
The facts ought to be telling the Broward County lefties that they are putting politics ahead of the public interest.
Any serious law professor will also tell the Broward County bigs that what they have done is a blatantly unconstitutional punishment of speech. To bestow a benefit or inflict a punishment on the basis of the political perspective of the citizens involved is outrageous and will be condemned by any serious student of the First Amendment, as liberal Duke University Law School Professor Erwin Chemerinsky blasted the Broward County decision on my show on Wednesday.
What’s next: Instructing the Broward County Fire Department to refuse calls from homes with Romney or Giuliani signs in the yard?
This absurd action from Broward County Democrats is a sign of desperation on the left. Air America has failed. The MSM is bleeding readers and viewers. Tony Blair has produced a scathing indictment of how the left-wing elite media operates. Fox News is thriving. Townhall.com is surging. The blogs of the center-right –from Instapundit, Powerline, and Michelle Malkin through the young college student who just fired up their new site yesterday—are growing and not just in visitors but also in the ability to persuade and not merely enrage. The new media world favors facts and well-made arguments, and the center-right has those, in abundance.
Which means the palsied arguments of the left are going to lose. Which means the left is going to try and stop the discussion, try and censor the debate, try and clamp down on speech.Broward County is the future. I don’t think the people of Florida or the county will endorse this most un-American decision to silence the speech of the opposition.