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Parshall: Broadcasters Face ‘Real Prowling Threats’

Cites localism proceeding, Mark Lloyd's comments among others

Broadcasters should prioritize on the “real prowling threats that are being loosed upon us.”

That’s the word from Craig Parshall, senior VP and general counsel of the National Religious Broadcasters.

Reacting to press reports about the impact of FCC indecency regulations, Parshall writes in the NRB newsletter that “there are real fang-baring ‘tigers’ that threaten the First Amendment rights of broadcasters and electronic communicators, and they have nothing to do with phantom fears about the over-extension of the Pacifica standard.”

He lists what he calls a “hate speech” petition asking for conservative talk radio to be investigated, pending before the FCC. Meanwhile, “the Democrat leadership in the House is refusing to give a floor vote to anti-Fairness Doctrine bills. Then there’s the ill-conceived ‘localism’ proceeding, which would have given the FCC unprecedented and intrusive control over programming content. It is still ripe for implementation. Finally, the FCC’s new ‘diversity czar,’ Mark Lloyd, has called the idea of First Amendment rights for broadcasters ‘a romantic view,’ ‘too simple’ and ‘an exaggeration.'”

Parshall said the NRB supported FCC indecency rules in the FCC v. Fox case, “believing as we do that the FCC rules (while not perfect) were reasonable and justified. It turns out that the Supreme Court was of the same opinion.”

“We should not be afraid of the narrowly circumscribed rules that keep our children from being exposed to indecency,” he writes, “but focus instead on the broadly advanced and truly dangerous idea that the federal government knows best what religious, social, and political viewpoints our citizens ought to hear on radio and television.”