By Deanna Spingola
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Despite the guarantees of the First Amendment, America is one of the most propagandized countries on the planet due to government regulation, deregulation, selective licensing, discriminatory editing, substantial money from ideology-minded, tax exempt foundations, accelerated, unwarranted promotion of slanted print material, biased partisanship and network privatization. Freedom of the press (any and all media) could easily be redefined: the organizations, corporate, religious or government that maintain any degree of control over America’s information sources have unlimited freedom to willfully indoctrinate or distort our perceptions. As a result, Orwell’s 1984 has become our reality, with its massive “newspeak” vernacular fully functional.
In the last four or more decades, through character assassination, disinformation, misinformation, lack of objectivity, lack of reasonable dissent, deliberate omissions and downright dishonesty, the entire country has been culturally moved to the far right without so much as a whimper. Conservatives and their Religious Right colleagues seized control of the media while claiming they have no voice. One of their ignoble tactics is their unsubstantiated declaration of liberal bias – significantly hyped by checkbook journalists with such titles as Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, Persecution, How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christians, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, and Slander.
Liberalism, once the champion of social justice, is intentionally and aggressively associated with every contemptible, evil aspect of American culture. As a consequence, most individuals are anxious to be defined as conservative which, under the last administration, should be subject to scrutinizing interpretation. Distracted, polarized, lemming-like citizens have been brainwashed, propagandized and ultimately victimized into believing whatever the compromised corporate media dishes out. Too busy watching reality TV, many overlook reality. The masses accept the misinformation about poor suppressed, silenced conservatives because, they contend, how could dozens of claimants be wrong?
Ironically, leaders of the Religious Right, also very visible and vocal, claim media and public censorship of religion and religious phrases and words despite a vast multitude of Christian broadcasters. They are quick to cry bias and just as speedy in demanding additional censorship for those they disagree with by targeting advertisers.
The Trinity Broadcasting Network was founded by Dr. Paul Crouch Sr. and the Christian Broadcasting Network was created by Pat Robertson in 1960. It has had a long and diverse history. Their trade organization is the National Religious Broadcasters Association which boasts 1600 members who disseminate their messages through radio, television, and the Internet. They claim to reach 141 million listeners and viewers. Many of these same 1600 entities publish books, email newsletters and magazines. They also maintain substantial snail-mail databases through which they accrue financial pledges, amass huge amounts of cash and disseminate information and political recommendations. Read this very enlightening essay on this organization.
Unfortunately, according to Pew, 30 percent of all Americans obtain their news from talk radio and cable television – many never open a book. A large percentage get their “news” from the Fox Network whose employees receive the morning memo, a directive on how to spin the “news” of the day. Roger Ailes, autocratic president of Fox News, has a throng of “journalists” and guests who push right-wing propaganda disguised as news. They are notorious in their attacks on dissenting opinions. On other stations, people are frequently fired for divulging embarrassing facts. Others censor themselves in order to retain their jobs.
Despite his claim, Bill O’Reilly is not looking out for you; he is looking out for himself while making boatloads of money. In this regard, he is not unique among the Fox personalities, except for his notorious belligerent arrogance. While Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch, appears to be the most right of center, many stations now promulgate the same government misinformation while demonizing any dissenters. Bill Kristol’s (PNAC*) Weekly Standard, established in 1995, was assisted by a $3 million annual subsidy from Murdoch.  Fox Network, experiencing wide viewer acceptance and financial success, has set the standard for other networks. Party propaganda is passed off as news on this alleged “fair and balanced” cable channel. They decide what to report and what to conceal. Don't rely on news reports to form your opinions of the world or other people.
Obedience-trained Americans, aptly conditioned, often write letters to networks or newspapers that reveal unpleasant facts. Citizens don’t want to know about all the un-American activities that our government initiates in our country or in other countries. So obviously, with a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil mentality, the disobedient but objective journalist is erroneously considered treasonous, unpatriotic, or even worthy of incarceration. Just ask Peter Arnett! The Pentagon pressured CNN regarding Arnett’s enlightening segment entitled “Valley of Death” which revealed Operation Tailwind.
It is the job of the press to censure the government, not the other way around. The press has a watchdog responsibility: “A variety of court opinions have found that the press has an important function as a guardian of democracy and as a check upon governmental abuse. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black perhaps best summarized this vital theme of American constitutional law in his final concurring opinion in the 1971 ‘Pentagon Papers’ case: The government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.” 
“The courts have rejected most attempts by the government to impose prior censorship. The best-known recent example of such a government attempt was the Nixon administration's call for a permanent injunction against publication of the "Pentagon Papers" by The New York Times and The Washington Post, based on the claim that publication of the highly classified documents on the history of U. S. involvement in Vietnam would cause grave damage to the United States. In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court determined that the government failed to meet the “heavy burden of showing justification of such a restraint.” 
On the other hand, profanity, sexual innuendos and graphic portrayals masquerade as entertainment. Sex, an unfortunate selling point, pervades every aspect of our lives. Family-friendly shows disappeared and were replaced with “adult” programming. Many people were initially shocked. First we abhorred the the so-called entertainment, then we tolerated it and ultimately many have embraced what the networks daily dish out. Cultural tolerance establishes the real standards of programming integrity. People actually watch this rubbish which has incrementally descended from mildly offensive to outright vulgarity. Our “entertainment” reflects our own and the nation's morality.
Most parents, Democrat or Republican, are justifiably alarmed and concerned for their children. As a result, we are anxiously amenable; we even request and embrace additional censorship laws to protect us from the vileness that pervades the corporate-owned airways. However, we already have federal laws, albeit infrequently enforced, that should suffice.  We do not need, nor should we desire, increased censorship but rather enforcement of existing decency standards. Stations have a public, moral responsibility that should supersede financial opportunities. Moreover, parents should supervise their children, and themselves, and not abdicate that responsibility to the government. Ideally, we chose our entertainment – no one forces morally destitute garbage upon the sanctity of our homes.
When broadcast radio began in November 1920, the airwave spectrum, according to official government theory, was in short supply. As a consequence, they determined that it was necessary to license and regulate the use of this public commodity. Obviously, anyone with a political or religious philosophy, product or service wanted airtime. Consequently, by 1922 there were 576 stations licensed by the Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. By 1925 there were sixty-three stations owned by churches or religious groups.  The Department of Commerce sponsored a series of conferences for major broadcasters. At the first meeting, a Westinghouse representative complained to Hoover that certain inferior stations, according to him, lacked substance and recommended that only preferred people be allowed to broadcast with a national limit of 12-15 stations. 
The Radio Act of 1927 established the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) which later became the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 1929 a set of guidelines known as Great Lakes Broadcasting Co., apparently based on an acquisition by NBC, was issued by the FRC. Accordingly, a station was to accommodate the “tastes, needs and desires of all substantial groups among the listening public...in some fair proportion, by a well-rounded program, in which entertainment, consisting of music of both classical and lighter grades, religion, education and instruction, important public events, discussions of public questions, weather, market reports, and news, and matters of interest to all members of the family.” 
According to the official government story, regulation of some kind was essential due to a barrage of signal interference. Selectively licensing broadcasters solved the dilemma of allocating the alleged limited amount of airwave frequency. Government regulations, regardless of public airwave ownership, surely stifle the free dissemination of ideas in an open marketplace. The airwaves were defined as public property and put under the guardianship of the Commission especially selected by the government. 
Possible partisan or religious bias of both broadcasters and government-appointed commissioners was obviously an issue. “The station itself must be operated as if owned by the public....It is as if people of a community should own a station and turn it over to the best man in sight with this injunction: ‘Manage this station in our interest...’ The standing of every station is determined by that conception.”  Broadcasters began acting as public trustees and communities apparently made certain naïve assumptions that this charge would never be violated. See this page for a comprehensive discussion about the political ramifications of broadcast policy.
The Communications Act of 1934  established the regulatory Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which began operating on July 11, 1934 with seven commissioners appointed by the President, and confirmed by the Senate. This was changed to five in 1983. 
In 1942 the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) was created by conservative evangelicals to raise awareness against those who they felt had abandoned the true gospel of Jesus Christ. “In 1944, the NAE formed the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), whose goals were more specific to safeguarding access for its conservative evangelical membership to the airwaves, in addition to providing protection from competition with liberal denominational broadcasters and the United States government.” 
License renewals depended on compliance to FCC regulations. However, policy changes occurred in 1960 which allowed TV stations to sell additional airtime to religious broadcasters which appeared to fulfill the station’s public interest obligation. So, even more Televangelists began to fill the airwaves as well as their portfolios. Why preach and pass the plate to limited weekly congregations when one could captivate the spiritually starved multitudes willing to commit to monthly financial pledges for legitimate in addition to contrived causes that never culminate with any degree of measurable success.
The National Religious Broadcasters maintains that it regulates its broadcasters and views government regulation as interference. A congressional committee was convened to question the practices and behavior of many broadcasters but it was squelched. “When called before the oversight committee of the House Ways and Means Committee in October 1987, several of the nation's leading religious broadcasters told Congressman J. J. Pickle (D-Tex.) and his colleagues that they were quite capable of regulating themselves.” 
The Fairness Doctrine, adopted by the FCC in 1949, reiterated the earlier policies that directed station licensees to provide ample opportunity for diversity and opposing opinions. As a result, licensees, under the auspices of the Fairness Doctrine, agreed to devote adequate airtime to concerns of public interest and to transmit conflicting opinions about those issues. “They must allow all points of view. That requirement was to be enforced by FCC mandate.”  President Kennedy invoked the Fairness Doctrine to challenge the imbalanced right-wing presentations of biased broadcasters. 
Mark S. Fowler, a communications lawyer appointed to head the FCC by President Ronald Reagan, aggressively opposed the Fairness Doctrine as well as the First Amendment. “He set about pruning, chopping, slashing, eliminating, burying and deep-sixing fifty years of regulations that guarded against monopolistic practices and excessive commercialism and protected the public interest standard.” 
There were some on the right who had manipulated the Fairness Doctrine in order to inculcate right-wing ideology into the media. Phyllis Schlafly, a Reagan revolution promoter, favored its retention but she was out-maneuvered by people like Terry Dolan. He was the co-founder and national chairman of the 300,000 - member National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) and organized and headed the Conservative Alliance (CALL). In 1984 NCPAC received $775,000 from Rev. Moon, a foreign entity. Dolan stated that the secret of fundraising, used to target opponents, is to “make them angry and stir up hostilities.” “The shriller you are, the easier it is to raise funds. That's the nature of the beast.”  He raised 7.6 million in 1979-1980 and spent 3.3 million targeting Democratic senators.  “Most of the $1 million NCPAC spent on independent expenditures during the 1980 Senate races financed attack ads against incumbents. A NCPAC target could face as many as 72 negative radio ads a day and 200 television commercials per week, well before the election.” 
Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon banking, oil, and aluminum fortune, finances many right-wing activities through his organization Landmark Legal Foundation which was set up to influence education and attack EPA regulations. Scaife also used this foundation to challenge the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine. The Heritage Foundation, conservative right-wing think tank, also supported repeal.  The Landmark Legal Foundation receives donations from the Sarah Scaife Foundation, Scaife-funded Carthage Foundation, Castle Rock Foundation, and the John M. Olin foundation. Exxon Mobil has also made donations. 
The Fairness Doctrine, along with diversity, fairness, equal time and objectivity was rescinded in 1987. Television and radio stations were no longer required to present both sides of important or controversial issues nor give equal time to candidates.  Objectivity was replaced by opposition to anything contradictory to the party line. Apparently this mentality also applied to religion. The majority of all religious programs may be classified as conservative evangelical. Most, despite denomination, appear Republican-friendly. However, it is important to remember that the Religious Right does not represent every evangelical or every Christian.
The Religious Right merged with the conservative movement after the Communist boogeyman was vanquished and then, because of sheer numbers, ultimately began dictating Republican Party policy. This also includes discontinuing government funding to secular groups in favor of Religious Right groups. Right-wing fundamentalists, with a great network of committed members, were primed to take on society’s demons and clean up the country. The pious conservative crusade, accelerated in the last twenty five years, is often driven by bigotry, social intolerance and fanaticism under the umbrella of traditional values and a perverted interpretation of compassion. Cleaning the inner vessel has given way to cleaning up the whole country through government intervention.
It is difficult to perceive where the influence of the Religious Right ends and the Republican Party begins. Are the blind leading the blind in this symbiotic relationship? Falwell, now deceased, and Robertson both blamed liberalism for the events of 9/11, almost before the towers fell. However, it didn’t take too long before the Religious Right focused their antagonism at Islam, the new “axis of evil.” Franklin Graham, who led Bush’s inaugural prayer, denounced Islam on television as “a very evil and wicked religion.” Reverend Jerry Vines, a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, which had strong ties to the Bush administration, called the Muslim prophet Muhammad a “demon-obsessed pedophile.” These remarks were widely reported in the Arab press but somehow failed to make the “fair and balanced” Fox News.  No wonder 70% of evangelical leaders assume that Islam is a “religion of violence.” Given the number of Iraqi deaths since Christian America's invasion, it would appear that Christians are the most violent.
America has approximately 2,000 denominations – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists and others. America is also full of sin. In political planning, particularly among the secret society elite, nothing is coincidental. The prevalence of sin would easily pave the way for the merging of religion and government. Politico-religionist activists, assuming the moral high road, are attempting to redeem America through government regulation while trashing the just law of the land – the Constitution, a secular document meant to protect each individual regardless of religious status.
*Project for a New American Century
 The Republican Noise Machine, Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy by Steve Brock, p. 294-95
 Spiritual Warfare, the Politics of the Christian Right by Sara Diamond, p. 58
 The Republican Noise Machine, Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy by Steve Brock, p. 296
 The Republican Noise Machine, Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy by Steve Brock, p. 294-95
 With God on Their Side, How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush’s White House by Esther Kaplan, p. 13
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