SURABIAN: FCC has chance to shield conservative talk radio from big tech


The woke left has infiltrated newsrooms and taken control of newspaper editorial boards. He censored and expelled conservatives from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and just about every other digital platform. He hired leftists deliberately branded as “fact checkers” and rigged the TV green rooms and cable news channels against us.

But now longtime talk radio host Hugh Hewitt fears he’s even planning to enrich Big Tech at the expense of talk radio – the only medium that doesn’t censor, use or abuse conservative thinkers.

Talk radio has long been a thorn in the side of the radical left. Over the years, he has angered a slate of Democratic politicians, interest groups and activists and been the subject of numerous angry leftist news and opinion pieces in the New York Times. , the Washington Post and elsewhere. The reason is obvious: at least 15 million Americans every week tune in to Hewitt, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and the rest of the top 15 talk radio programs – and only one of them is left-leaning.

The woke left can’t stand it not dominating the radio narrative. After all, his entire political agenda is centered on indoctrination and brainwashing, which requires maximum control. That’s why they reacted so aggressively to Elon Musk promising free speech on Twitter.

We all know the motto of the left: when you can’t compete, regulate, censor and destroy.

Enter the Federal Communications Commission, which is considering a dangerous and flawed proposal called “Zonecasting.” Whatever the technical jargon of the rule, it is clear that it will amount to an outright decimation of the conservative talk radio industry.

Under Zonecasting, American companies could begin to choose which sections of the city they advertise in for the very first time, taking millions of dollars out of the hands of broadcasters.

The industry has made it clear that Zonecasting will strain the bottom line of many programmers and jeopardize the creditworthiness of thousands of small stations across the country.

Respected conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, who has aired his nationally broadcast show for more than 30 years, has expressed serious concerns about the prospect. In a recent filing with the FCC, Hugh – who has interviewed conservative political leaders such as former President Trump and progressive politicians from Hillary Clinton to John Kerry – noted that “talk radio is the real place public, perhaps the last. Zonecasting threatens this public space.

What does this Zonecasting threat mean for conservatives?

First, it would mean that the only platform conservative activists have to voice their opinions without censorship would be significantly weakened. Thousands of conservative voices across the country risk being silenced as the left’s monopoly on the dissemination of information becomes near absolute. In this new world order, they would have to choose between participating in a media that silences them, banishes them from the shadows, censors them or sanctions them outright. Is this really a choice anyone in the United States of America should have to make?

As if that weren’t enough, Zonecasting would also enrich Big Tech.

While radio is the third-largest industry for ad spend, the internet — and Facebook and Google in particular — is the overwhelming leader. Where do you think American companies will channel the advertising dollars that Zonecasting allows them to extract from the radio industry? You guessed it – straight into the palms of Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai.

Advertising is already the main source of revenue for Facebook and Google. Its advertising dollars give them the capital they need to engage in the anti-competitive and collusive activities that have solidified their monopoly status and their power to toe exclusively to the Democratic Party line. It was ad dollars, after all, that allowed Mark Zuckerberg to spend half a billion dollars in the last election cycle in his quest to defeat President Trump. With potentially billions of additional advertising dollars up for grabs, who knows what they’ll feel emboldened to do next.

Luckily, we may never have to find out. The FCC is currently divided politically, with two Democratic and two Republican commissioners. This means that if the two Republican Commissioners – Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington, both appointed to the Commission by President Trump – gave it a thumbs up, it would instantly kill the FCC’s Zonecasting experiment.

If they care about free speech and free speech and competition the way my former colleagues in the Trump White House did, and I think they do, then this death knell freedom of expression will never have a chance to see the light of day.

Let’s hope Carr and Simington stand up for what’s right. The health of free speech and the future of the conservative movement in America depend on it.

Andrew Surabian is a Republican strategist who has worked with numerous federal election candidates and is a political adviser to Donald Trump Jr. He previously served as special assistant to President Trump and deputy White House strategist.

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