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Column: Obamas Subverted Version Of Free Speech

This story was written by Mitchell Blatt, Indiana Daily Student

If Barack Obama needs to send any legal papers my way after reading this column, he can find me in Read Residence Center, floor 5, Curry wing. After all the disruptions, smear campaigns and legal threats that Obamas campaign has pursued against his critics, I wouldnt be at all surprised if he had something for me as well.

Obama has a disturbing record this election season of trying to silence critics with Chicago-style tactics. His latest attack against free speech came Sept. 23 when Obamas general counsel, Robert Bauer, sent letters to managers of TV stations in Pennsylvania and Ohio warning them not to run an anti-Obama NRA ad. The letters read, For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement.

Bauer cited court precedents that found that independent political organizations do not have a right to command the use of broadcast facilities, and that stations have a duty to protect the public from false, misleading, or deceptive advertising.

The NRA advertisement accuses Obama of supporting tax increases on guns, banning deer-hunting ammunition and banning shotguns and rifles.It certainly is selective in its use and presentation of facts, but there is nothing inherently false about it.

Each of the statements used in it were backed up with citations.

At an anti-gun rally in December 1999, Obama outlined a plan that included raising taxes on guns by up to 500 percent and banning gun shops within a five-mile radius of schools or parks, a measure that the NRA says would close 90 percent of all shops.

Obama also supported a bill in 2005 aiming to prevent armor-piercing bullets that would have also made certain types of hunting ammunition illegal.

The advertisement is no more inaccurate than some Obamas own campaign has run.

One, for example, claimed McCain wants to cut social security benefits in half. He does want to cut them in 2075, by an average of 28 percent. Until then, Obamas truth squad might want to alert the FCC about that one.

For someone who says, We must ensure that we have an open media market that represents all of the voices in our diverse nation, Obama never has done a good job of advancing the cause.

Earlier this year, he was intimidating critics like David Freddoso, whom he labeled as dishonest and hate mongering, before Freddoso appeared on WGN Radio in Chicago. He called on his followers to bombard the show with telephone calls as he had done a week earlier when Stanley Kurtz appeared on the show.

In August, Obama called on the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation into the American Issues Project for their ads linking Obama to William Ayers.

Now hes trying for FCC regulation.

Whats next? With his support for the FISA wiretapping bill, it shouldnt be long before he starts regulating the phone lines as well.