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Obama: Republic or Empire? (Update)

John on August 28, 2008 at 9:10 am

There’s a broad definition of censorship which goes something like this:

Action taken to prevent others from having access to a book or information; a public objection to words, subjects and/or information in books, films, and other media with the idea of depriving others from reading or viewing them.

Personally, I prefer a slightly tighter definition, one that includes the fact that real censorship is usually the action of government authority, like the kind of thing that happens in repressive communist regimes around the world. China censoring certain information on the internet comes to mind.

It seems to me that both definitions probably apply to the recent actions of the Obama campaign. First they tried to stop the airing of a commercial by an independent 527 group. He did this by sending threatening letters to the TV stations warning of possible justice department investigations. He then took it even further by sending a second letter calling for the prosecution of the individual who funded the ad. Which brings us up to today.

Today the Obama campaign has gone even further, trying to shout down Stanley Kurtz appearance on a radio show. Note, we’re not talking about Daily Kos here, this is the campaign organizing this (albeit with help from surrogates):

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign organized its supporters Wednesday night to confront Tribune-owned WGN-AM in Chicago for having a critic of the Illinois Democrat on its air.

“WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears,” Obama’s campaign wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.”

“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” the note said.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves,” the note continued. “At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies.”

Apparently, Obama’s supporters don’t like “divisive, destructive ranting” on the public airwaves. No doubt they’d prefer something along the lines of the congenial, unanimity found on Cuban state radio. Or perhaps the massaged message of Pravda.

Guess what, you nuts, this is the United States of America!

We prize freedom of speech on “the public airwaves.” Please note that they’re the public’s airwaves, not yours and not the Democratic party’s. So I’ll give you the same advice Hollywood has been giving parents for years. If you don’t like it, turn the dial.

And, hey Barack, you have some nerve using your status, money and army of lawyers to try and shut down public debate. Frankly, it says a lot about you. A man who’d turn his campaign apparatus loose on a single journalist (not having even heard what the man has to say) must have a great deal to fear.

That set at Invesco field is starting to make a lot more sense. Barack Obama isn’t running for President, he’s looking to be crowned Caesar.

Update: Read this account of the interview itself written by Guy Benson who was there:

The experience was surreal, amusing, and chilling. In a matter of hours, a major national campaign had called on its legions to bully a radio show out of airing an interview with a legitimate scholar asking legitimate political questions.

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