The Creeping Fascism of Pat Young
Delegate Pat Young has proposed legislation that will chill free speech in Maryland and attempt to regulate how news and television stations present analysis and opinion.
Young, from Baltimore County, has introduced HB 1079, a bill entitled the “Truthiness Act of 2019.” The synopsis reads: “Requiring a certain television or radio station that broadcasts a certain news analysis program in the State to broadcast a certain disclaimer at the beginning of the program; and establishing certain penalties.”
Basically, Young’s bill intends to require TV and radio stations broadcast a disclaimer prior to the start of “a certain news analysis program.”
Young’s bill, of course, does not take into account that fact that the radio and television stations are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Nor does Young’s bill take into account that large sections of Maryland receive their news from TV or radio stations that are licensed to cities out of state, where their signals are being transmitted from out of state, or where their studios are out of state.
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It doesn’t take long to realize that Pat Young’s bill is squarely targeted at only one company; Sinclair Broadcasting.
Young’s bill, however, quickly takes a turn toward fascism by regulating who can say what on the broadcast spectrum. Young’s bill defines a disclaimer as:
“DISCLAIMER” MEANS A STATEMENT THAT THE CONTENTS OF A TELEVISION OR RADIO PROGRAM INCLUDE ANALYSIS OR DISCUSSION AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS WHOLLY FACTUAL.
Young of course doesn’t bother to define what “analysis or discussion” is, nor does Young define why something “should not be interpreted as wholly factual.”
Young’s bill gets worse from there, as he attempts to define what “News Analysis” is:
(C) (1) “NEWS ANALYSIS PROGRAM” MEANS A TELEVISION OR RADIO PROGRAM THAT INCLUDES ANALYSIS OR DISCUSSION OF LOCAL, REGIONAL, NATIONAL, OR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS.
(2) “NEWS ANALYSIS PROGRAM” INCLUDES:
(I) A TALK SHOW OR PANEL SHOW;
(II) A CONSUMER AFFAIRS PROGRAM OR CONSUMER REVIEWS PROGRAM;
(III) A NEWSMAGAZINE; OR
(IV) A DOCUMENTARY.
(3) “NEWS ANALYSIS PROGRAM” DOES NOT INCLUDE A NEWS PROGRAM.
(D) “NEWS PROGRAM” MEANS A TELEVISION OR RADIO PROGRAM THAT REPORTS ON LOCAL, REGIONAL, NATIONAL, OR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS.
Young’s bill is very clearly slanted at only at conservative political talk shows. You’ll note that Young’s bill does not address Democratic cheerleading from members of the TV or print media, something that we have discussed at Red Maryland at length. We don’t expect Young will suddenly decide partisan cheerleading from news programs or newspapers, but there’s a better than average chance that Young’s bill we be expanded to include online media and podcasts such as us here at Red Maryland.
Why is Pat Young introducing this bill? What does Pat Young have against the First Amendment? It’s hard to say, because Young’s bill is a complete slap in the face toward free speech, freedom of the press, and the promotion of a free media in Maryland. Young seems to have a real problem with the idea that radical Democrats might be challenged on their anti-worker, anti-taxpayer poppycock on television shows or on the radio. And instead of figuring out a way to defend his party and its ideas, he decided that he would rather get the state of Maryland into the business regulating how broadcasters
We have to call Young’s bill what it is: creeping fascism. Young wants to set up a state government regime to regulate how commentators deliver commentary on issues of local, state, and national importance without ever defining what opinions actually trigger the disclaimer requirement. Young will likely argue that his bill is designed to “protect” people from “fake news”, but what the bill is actually an Orwellian fever dream intent to punish wrongthink. Young’s bill is an insult to the people of Maryland, an insult to the Constitution, and Young should be thoroughly ridiculed for introducing such a totalitarian piece of nonsense.