The Senator Who Hates Speech

Sen. Ed Markey's history of supporting communist speech repression.

Massachusetts SenateGeorge Will wrote a column in September describing the attempt by 48 Democrats to amend the 1st Amendment:

The Democrats’ amendment says: "Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections," and may "prohibit" corporations — including nonprofit issue-advocacy corporations ... from spending any money "to influence elections," ... Because all limits will be set by incumbent legislators, the limits deemed "reasonable" will surely serve incumbents’ interests. The lower the limits, the more valuable will be the myriad (and unregulated) advantages of officeholders.

Will names those who voted for it, including Edward Markey (D-MA).

Markey has a history of hostility toward free expression. Back in May, Newsmax reported:

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has introduced legislation calling for the government to investigate "hate speech" on broadcast, cable, and Internet outlets — a bill that is raising concerns from First Amendment advocates and constitutional experts.

Newsmax quoted The Washington Times editorial board's warning that

[w]hat the congressional Democrats are targeting isn't virtual Ku Klux Klan rallies. The left slaps the "hate speech" label on just about anything with which it disagrees. They aim to shut down conservative voices.

Markey also was one of the key people who in the '80s institutionalized a Marxist, anti-Republican focus within the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ever wonder why PBS and NPR regularly praise Fidel Castro but won't air conservative documentaries? David Horowitz found out why. He conducted an investigation into "The Politics of Public Television" for Commentary magazine. Here is part of his findings:

At least four of the programs on Central America which PBS chose to air  during this crucial decade before Communism’s collapse were the work of a single director and radical ideologue, Deborah Shaffer, whose “solidarity”  with the Communist dictators of Nicaragua, and their guerrilla allies in El Salvador and Guatemala, was a proudly displayed item in her curriculum  vitae. Her most celebrated documentary, Fire From the Mountain (1988), an aggressive promotion of Sandinista myths, was based on the  autobiography  of the Sandinista secret-police chief, Omar Cabezas, while her other films-El Salvador: Another Vietnam? (1981), Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements  (1986), and Nicaragua: Report From the Front (1984)-all reflected her commitment to the politics of the Central American guerrillas.

In 1988, the Congressional Oversight Committees for Public Television, led by  their Democratic chairmen, Representative Edward Markey and Senator Daniel Inouye, institutionalized this revolutionary front inside PBS by authorizing the transfer of $24 million of CPB monies to set up the  Independent Television Service (ITVS) as a separate fund for “independent” film-makers. Representing the independents in testimony before the  committees were Deborah Shaffer’s producer, Pam Yates of Skylight  Productions, and Larry Daressa, co-chairman of  the National Coalition of  Independent Public Broadcasting Producers. Daressa, who later turned up on  the ITVS  board, was also the president of California Newsreel, flagship of the  radical film collectives and producer of such 60′s classics as Black Panther and The  People’s War, a triumphalist view of the Communist conquest of Vietnam.

Biting the hand that had fed him and his ideological comrades so generously,  Daressa attacked PBS for knuckling under to “corporate interests”:

Independent  producers have found themselves progressively  marginalized in this brave new world of semi-commercial, public pay  television.  Our diverse voices reflecting the breadth of America’s  communities and opinions have no place in public television’s plans to  turn itself into an upscale version of the networks. We have found  that insofar as we speak with an independent voice we have no place in public television.

But as one veteran member of the public-television community scoffed on hearing this testimony:

These people are not “diverse,” they’re politically correct. Nor are they “independent.” These are the commissars of the political Left. These  are the people who basically owned the Vietnamese and Cuban and Nicaraguan franchises, who got so close to Communist officials and guerrilla capos that if you wanted to get access for interviews or permission even to bring camera equipment into the “liberated zone” in certain cases, you had to go through them.

Nevertheless, Congress authorized $24 million in public funds to the artistic  commissars of the ITVS, thereby providing the extreme Left with an institutional base in public television.

Markey's opposition to freedom of speech is so extreme that he is willing to excuse Stalinist censorship. Literally. Take for example this report from the Boston Globe of August 19, 1983, detailing his trip to see Daniel Ortega, dictator of the Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua:

Markey said that when he asked Ortega about censorship of the media and restriction of religious freedom in Nicaragua, "He said he would lift the restrictions if he believed there was any kind of normal situation in his country. But because the US was massing for war on his northern border and because the US had someone such as Henry Kissinger, who was a central figure in the assassination of (former Chilean President Salvador) Allende, how could he be expected to exist as though a normal situation was at hand?"

Markey's response was not to condemn the Communist dictator for (his weak attempt at) trying to justifying his repression, but to placate him by saying: "I assured him the vast majority of people in this country never want to see another Marine set foot in Nicaragua."

Actually, what the vast majority of Americans wanted was true freedom in Nicaragua -- which meant getting the Reds out. This is partly why Reagan won reelection in a landslide. It is also what the people of Nicaragua wanted. Markey should have gone among the people to ask them directly, like Paul Berman did. Berman recalls:

Having bantered with me long enough, a market lady, lowering her voice, expressed a few modest reservations about the Sandinistas. Then a few more reservations, until she was whispering.

Finally she explained that, in her estimation, the Sandinistas stood for everything she opposed. In Masaya, a Marxist language of social class made simple sense to a great many people, and the market lady availed herself of this language. She glanced around to see if any of her neighbors were eavesdropping, and then, assured of her own privacy, she whispered that, all in all, the Sandinistas were the enemies of the workers and the peasants.

I asked in an equally low whisper, "Who is the friend of the workers and the peasants?"

She said, "No one!"

I persisted. "Surely someone is the friend of the workers and the peasants. The Catholic Church, maybe?"

She shook her head. A pause. She gathered her courage. And she whispered: "Ronald Reagan."

"Reagan?" I said. "Reagan is the friend of the workers and the peasants?"

Solemnly she nodded to tell me, yes, I had heard her right. I was astonished, and, then again, not astonished. To hang around Masaya long enough was to enter into conversations along those lines day after day, in one fashion or another.

The Sandinistas knew this -- which is why they were so repressive. After the Cold War, top Sandinista officials would admit this. Alejandro Bendana, who was the Sandinistas' top diplomatic spokesman, admitted that the "contra army grew beyond ... expectations not as a result of sophisticated recruitment campaigns in the countryside but mainly because of the impact on the small-holding peasant of the policies, limits and mistakes of the Sandinistas."

If Markey was willing to support the Sandinistas' attempts to silence the Nicaraguan people, would he try to silence the American people?

Massachusetts is the home of the American Revolution. Let us hope they don't tarnish their name by reelecting this thug.

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