To the Editor:
The First Amendment says that, “Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.” It does not grant free speech in all locations such as the work place, private buildings open to the public (shopping malls), or property you do not own. It may be limited by a concept known as “time, place, and manner.” Libelous and slanderous statements (lies) are not protected unless uttered on the House or Senate floors.
I believe that FCC should be investigating broadcast media. It is established that the airwaves are a public resource. Congress gave the FCC a regulatory duty. There is a significant amount deal of dishonesty in broadcast media content. In recent history, I have seen/heard bullying in broadcast media, either directly or through advertising.An example of bullying would be those ads which stated: candidate X “voted with Nancy Pelosi,” without specifying what item was voted on. Folks, every Congressman voted with Nancy Pelosi on something, if nothing more than a motion to adjourn.
An out-and-out lie uttered time and again was that the Affordable Care Act authorized a, “death panel” that would decide which Medicare people would not get expensive health care, a form of rationing ( not unlike commercial insurance companies do now, a fact never mentioned). I could not believe that Congress would pass such a thing. This law was an Act of Congress not an Presidential Authorization like water boarding.
I read the law. The panel was charged with containing Medicare costs. In the law, that panel was specifically prohibited from making recommendations as to rationing health care. The panel’s recommendations are to be presented to Congress, which will act on them however it chooses. The panel cannot enact the recommendations. I have no problem with the FCC going after liars and frauds on my airwaves. We are supposed to have open debate. Deliberate misrepresentation of the facts should be prosecuted. Such behavior is subversive and contrary to a healthy democracy.
Joe Gilbert, 21st District House candidate, wishes to do away with the U.S. Department of Education. He is quoted as saying that the Department, “isn’t in the Constitution.” I read the Constitution. He’s right, no departments are listed: none, zero, nada. Using Gilbert’s criterion for getting rid of departments, we should sack these department too, among others: Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security. In for a penny, in for a dollar!
The type of statement used by Gilbert occurs all to often. In my opinion, it is aimed at creating a quick, negative reaction - “its wrong if it is not in the Constitution” - from people who are too lazy to check out the Constitution or other sources of facts. Getting into power by misrepresentation and innuendo seems to be the norm. Abuse of the First Amendment is the weapon of choice.