- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RADIO COALITION

A group called the Free Radio Coalition has been formed to fight the possible reimposition of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” Radio America President James Roberts said Tuesday.

Chairing the coalition will be veteran broadcaster, Radio America talk-show host and former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock.

“The reinstatement of the misnamed Fairness Doctrine would constitute a massive assault on our cherished First Amendment rights and should be of concern to all Americans, regardless of their political or religious persuasion,” Mr. Hedgecock said.

The group hopes to hold a summit conference of radio talk-show hosts and religious broadcasters in Washington to plan a coordinated strategy.

The organization also plans to organize expert testimony in the event that the Federal Communications Commission or congressional committees hold hearings on the Fairness Doctrine.

Mr. Roberts and others interested in the issue, including radio talk-show hosts G. Gordon Liddy and Blanquita Cullum, will hold a reception Wednesday evening for Mr. Hedgecock in Washington.

LEFT AND CENTER

President Barack Obama is taking a beating from liberal critics who think his attempt to court Republican support is a political failure and a policy disaster. Yet this assault on Mr. Obama’s bipartisan instinct is misguided and, ironically, threatens to undermine liberal goals,” Matt Miller writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“The president has his eye on a bigger prize than winning a few Republican votes for his stimulus package or having a conservative in his Cabinet. He aims to move the political center in America to the left, much as Ronald Reagan moved it to the right. The only way he can achieve this goal is to harness the energies and values of both parties,” said Mr. Miller, author of “The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of The Old Ways of Thinking To Unleash a New Prosperity.”

“Left and right mean less nowadays, especially to Americans outside Washington. But broadly speaking, Mr. Obama seeks to use government in new ways to bolster opportunity and security in an era when financial crisis, global competition and rapid technological change are calling into question the political and business arrangements on which our prosperity has rested for decades. This is the task that history has assigned this president. The spat between him and his liberal critics is about the way one makes this happen.”

Mr. Miller added: “Liberals who mock Mr. Obama’s Republican flirtations fail to appreciate that his bipartisanship is an effort to play for bigger stakes. He’s daring to link a political strategy to an attempt to actually solve America’s major policy challenges.”

THE GAP

“Readers of this column know that I am a great admirer of Barack Obama and those around him. And yet the gap between my epistemological modesty and their liberal worldviews has been evident over the past few weeks,” New York Times columnist David Brooks writes.

“The people in the administration are surrounded by a galaxy of unknowns, and yet they see this economic crisis as an opportunity to expand their reach, to take bigger risks and, as Obama said on Saturday, to tackle every major problem at once.

“President Obama has concentrated enormous power on a few aides in the West Wing of the White House. These aides are unrolling a rapid string of plans: to create 3 million jobs, to redesign the health care system, to save the auto industry, to revive the housing industry, to reinvent the energy sector, to revitalize the banks, to reform the schools - and to do it all while cutting the deficit in half,” Mr. Brooks said.

“If ever this kind of domestic revolution were possible, this is the time and these are the people to do it. The crisis demands a large response. The people around Obama are smart and sober. Their plans are bold but seem supple and chastened by a realistic sensibility.

“Yet they set off my Burkean alarm bells. I fear that in trying to do everything at once, they will do nothing well. I fear that we have a group of people who haven´t even learned to use their new phone system trying to redesign half the U.S. economy. I fear they are going to try to undertake the biggest administrative challenge in American history while refusing to hire the people who can help the most: agency veterans who are registered lobbyists.”

MENTAL STIMULUS

A biotech company is offering what it is calling a mental stimulus package to government officials who forget to pay their taxes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports at www.jsonline.com.

Quincy Bioscience, based in Madison, Wis., will provide free bottles of its flagship brain-enhancing supplement, Prevagen, to any member of Congress or the Obama administration who has forgotten to pay taxes during the last 10 years, the company said Tuesday.

“We’re confident that after 30 to 60 days of taking the supplement, most legislators and government officials will recall, without being reminded by aides or reporters, all tax periods for which they have forgotten to pay state or federal income taxes,” Quincy Bioscience President Mark Underwood said in a news release.

Prevagen is so effective it also should help most government officials recall when they failed to make Social Security and Medicare contributions for illegal-alien household workers, Mr. Underwood said.

IN DENIAL

MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell on Monday denied there was a media bias against Sarah Palin during last year’s presidential campaign, the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker reports at www.mrc.org.

Conservative filmmaker John Ziegler, creator of “Media Malpractice,” a documentary on media bias against Mrs. Palin, was interview by Ms. O’Donnell.

“Well, let me ask you,” Ms. O’Donnell said, “you called the treatment of Sarah Palin and her family a, quote, ‘media assassination, one of the greatest public injustices of our time.’ Is that a little strong? Are you and her a little thin-skinned?”

Mr. Ziegler responded by pointing out Ms. O’Donnell’s own anti-Palin bias, the MRC said.

“The evidence is overwhelming. It’s continuing today. I mean, just a few weeks ago, Norah, you incorrectly stated on the air Sarah Palin called Barack Obama a terrorist during the campaign.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or e-mail Greg Pierce

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