A lobbying group that has been trying to make English the official US language since 1986 thinks that the FCC’s initiative to promote localism could pave the way for increased multicultural programming which would in turn drive radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and James Dobson off the air.
The group calls the localism initiative a “back-door” version of the Fairness Doctrine. The requirement that broadcasters form a consumer advisory board to weigh in on station programming would allow “self-appointed community leaders” – they mention Latin and Muslim advocacy groups League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Center for American Islamic Relations (CAIR specifically – to discourage open discussion of topics like illegal immigration and global jihad.
RBR/TVBR observation: Smart broadcasters already have open communication with their audience, and the latest ratings provide a snapshot of how well that audience is being served. The citizens’ panels being mentioned by the FCC could be productive, but will often be little more than a nuisance, particularly if they attract not a station’s audience but those who would preach to that audience.
But it is highly doubtful that the scenario English First envisions will come to pass, because neither the government nor a citizens’ panel has any right to control speech. The constitutional framework for this project does not exist; indeed, the Constitution would seemingly prohibit this project. It should be stopped now before the courts are forced to step in and stop it.