The American Spectator's Prowler column published today has a disturbing report on the plans by the Democratic Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman to regulate political speech on the Internet.
In addition to details of methods Waxman is considering to rein in conservative talk radio, The Prowler reports on Waxman's desire to use the power of the federal government to investigate amd control political content on the Internet.
The article quotes an unnamed committee staffer as saying of Waxman's power grab:
"Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them."
"Internet radio is becoming a big deal, and we're seeing that some web sites are able to control traffic and information, while other sites that may be of interest or use to citizens get limited traffic because of the way the people search and look for information. We're at very early stages on this, but the chairman has made it clear that oversight of the Internet is one of his top priorities."
"This isn't just about Limbaugh or a local radio host most of us haven't heard about. The FCC and state and local governments also have oversight over the Internet lines and the cable and telecom companies that operate them. We want to get alternative views on radio and TV, but we also want to makes sure those alternative views are read, heard and seen online, which is becoming increasingly video and audio driven. Thanks to the stimulus package, we've established that broadband networks -- the Internet -- are critical, national infrastructure. We think that gives us an opening to look at what runs over that critical infrastructure."
The article reports that Waxman intends to work with Democratic Party President Barack Hussein Obama's nominee to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, who is awaiting confirmation by the Democrat controlled Senate, to investigate and regulate free speech on the Internet.
In All Fairness
Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the "Fairness Doctrine" without actually calling it such.
Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. "It's all about diversity in media," says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. "Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them." snip