The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

19 February 2009

Obama Appears To Circumvent Rush Limbaugh's Op-Ed


Obamists Launch Preemptive Strike Against Limbaugh Essay


Clearly hoping to take the wind out of his sails, Barack Obama has launched an apparent preemptive strike against an upcoming Wall Street Journal Fairness Doctrine Op-Ed written by Rush Limbaugh.

Just ahead of its publication, expected Friday, Obama has made his first and only direct, emphatic denial of any desire to push for government regulation over talk radio's content.

Though we'd like to believe his administration values free speech in broadcasting, it's far more likely to represent the same mind games we've encountered from Democrats for over a year on the subject. Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, the Obamists are certain to find a less direct, back-door approach to the suppression of dissent that avoids inflaming his critics.

First, from Fox News:

President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a spokesman told Wednesday.

The statement is the first definitive stance the administration has taken since an aide told an industry publication last summer that Obama opposes the doctrine -- a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.

"As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.

That was after both senior adviser David Axelrod and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left open the door on whether Obama would support reinstating the doctrine.

"I'm going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC ... and the president to discuss. So I don't have an answer for you now," Axelrod told FOX News Sunday over the weekend.

The debate over the so-called Fairness Doctrine has heated up in recent days as prominent Democratic senators have called for the policies to be reinstated. Conservative talk show hosts, who see the doctrine as an attempt to impose liberal viewpoints on their shows, largely oppose any move to bring it back.

After an extended period of silence on the subject, Obama's sudden willingness to address the issue directly didn't escape Limbaugh's attention. From Wednesday's show:

RUSH: I wouldn't read anything into this. Of course they're not going to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. They're going to call it something else. They're going to use a series of contrivances. They will use ownership restriction, ownership rules. They will use local content rules. The Wall Street Journal, two days ago, asked me for an op-ed on this. I submitted the op-ed this morning. It is an open letter to President Obama asking for clarity and definitive answer on -- on censorship of the media. Now, I'm wondering. I am just wondering if somebody along the line did not leak my op-ed and the White House heard of it coming and they want to preempt its publication." I'm going to...

At the next break, I'm going to fire off a note to the people at the Journal, because there is an expiration date on every Obama statement. He can say today he doesn't believe in it but then something of an emergency will come up in another day or two, in a week, and force him to change his mind. Now, the FCC, he's got a lot of people working on this. ACORN is gearing up to enforce the same type of restrictions on broadcasting that the Fairness Doctrine would require. They're not going to call it that. They are going to go for it.

As I've told you, I'm reluctant to talk about this, because I don't want to sound like a victim. I don't want to sound like, "They're coming after me! They're coming after me! (crying)" but they're going after any area there is dissent. They're even going after the Internet. The Obama administration people are talking about the unfairness and the imbalance and the lack of a "filter" on the Internet.

It's not just talk radio. They're not going after cable TV; they're not going after NPR; they're not going after broadcast TV; they're not going after newspapers or magazines. They are focusing on talk radio. The very idea that he says he opposes the Fairness Doctrine? But he doesn't oppose the results of the Fairness Doctrine. He is in full-fledged support of what would happen if the Fairness Doctrine were ever re-implemented. But I just have to ask myself -- and I spent a lot of time on this op-ed and the publication date scheduled for tomorrow.

And outta nowhere, out of nowhere, on Fox, some spokesman says Obama's not even considering it? Why now? I mean that didn't come up at the housing meeting today. It didn't come up in Denver yesterday. It hasn't come up on Air Force One.

Where did it come up from? I didn't tell anyone. I mean, I told, you know, a couple friends that I was going to write this thing. It's fascinating stuff going out there.

The intrigue, ladies and gentlemen.

At Human Events, Connie Hair has details of ACORN's push for talk radio censorship:

ACORN’s own website proudly displays their intent:

II. Make the mainstream media accessible and accountable to low- and moderate-income people.

A. Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting, so that grass roots community groups have equal time to express their views.

B. Require cable TV companies to make good on their promises to allow community groups access to air time, or revoke their operating licenses.

Membership on the local board is a key to the ACORN’s plan: activists on state and local boards can give their national agenda support that can’t be obtained elsewhere. “Diversity” and “underserved communities” are their mantra. The plan is for the boards to control the content of stations with their ability to make licensing renewal recommendations to the FCC. We all know how intolerant the left is of any ideas other than their own -- just look how any conservative speaker is treated by the left when they speak at any college campus around the country today.

I asked House minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) about this open secret called “localism” yesterday. He told me, “‘Localism is quickly becoming code for the efforts of liberals to limit free speech and dissent. The American people do not believe the federal government should be in the business of dictating or restricting what’s on the public airwaves, and Republicans will fight any and every effort to stifle free speech.”

As we noted just over a week ago, Democrats are clearly trying to have it both ways on this issue:

At the same time, however, the left is engaged in a game of doublespeak, as they repeatedly attack conservatives for "making up" the controversy. It will never happen, they claim, so why are those on the right so worked up about it?

Though they claim Obama himself is against the forced elimination of conservative talk radio, we don't have him on the record saying that directly. Instead, a spokesperson made that claim on one occasion during last year's campaign. Since taking office, the question has been ducked during press conferences.

While Obama's "opposition" to talk radio censorship clearly isn't fooling anyone, it will be up to those who value a free press and vibrant public discourse to monitor the FCC's future proceedings. Like the fine print buried inside hundreds of pages of the Porkulus bill, the crackdown will likely be hidden inside otherwise-mundane agency business.

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  • It is because of Rush,Sean, Levin that
    I will never vote Republican again.
    November 2008 was the first time I
    ever voted for a Democrat for President.
    One reason was the daily, non stop
    bashing of then Senator Obama.
    These guys helped elect the current
    president by rumor and verbal attacks.

    You would think they have learned that
    this type of speech only helped the
    DNC. But no Rush right now is going
    on and on this the daily trash.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 12:54  

  • ok - phillip - how about the non stop bashing from the democrats towards Pres Bush for 8 years? That's ok? Have you ever listened to a liberal talk radio show? if you want to hear hate, that's the place to go

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:35  

  • Phillip = faux republican.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:43  

  • Nice try Phillip. If pointing out weaknesses and inexperience is bashing, then count me in. I guess dissent is no longer the highest form of patriotism. As evidenced by their own words and deeds, if the left gets its way, you will not have the option to listen to any dissenting voices on the airwaves. So be happy, comrade Phillip, nirvana is just around the corner...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:45  

  • Sounds like ACORN is interested in COMMUNITY television, public access outlets. Where does ACORN advocate censorship? You people are psychotic at this point.

    ACORN wants people to have access to broadcasting, how is that censorship?

    you are sick in the head. You ditto-heads are ticking time bombs, I believe we need right wing radio to baby sit you sociopaths

    Levin, one of the most repugnant people in radio today, a smart man who goes into a childish mindset to talk down to his audience, a vile piece of human waste.

    and NPR does not even broadcast ideological talk. Levin is counting on your ignorance. Levin obviously ignored what ACORN is talking about, broadcasting outlets for the community, not a word about talk radio was mentioned by ACORN

    another assumption and fantasy by the radical,psychotic and dangerous right wing.

    We need con talk more than ever. Without con radio these people would go on murdering sprees. IT happened already in July, when a talk radio listener shot up 6 people in a church

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:45  

  • half retarded poster: how about the non stop bashing from the democrats towards Pres Bush for 8 years?

    with good reason you terrorist.
    You freaks have attacked Obama from day 1, nobody attacked Bush until he lied about Iraq's WMD

    how quickly, the psychotic forget

    keep living vicariously through Limbaugh, he skips to the bank laughing all the way...SUCKER

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:47  

  • Phillip = liar and drone

    By Blogger Patrick, at 19 February, 2009 13:48  

  • It's because of Philip, Reed, and Pelosi that I will never vote Democratic again. November 2008 was the firt time I ever voted for a Republican for President. One reason was the daily, non stop bashing of Senator McCain. These people helped elect the current president by rumor and verbal attacks.

    Blah blah blah...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:48  

  • Hate?

    want to see hate, turn to the op-ed section of the Murdoch owned NY Post

    you sick, sick, bastids

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:48  

  • Phillip is, what do you say, a "seminar caller"--more accurately, a "seminar commenter."

    He's not for real.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:50  

  • I remember when the fairness doctrine was in force. H. L. Hunt was forced to change his wholly paid-for political commentary programs to religious programs. Religion was still protected under the fairness doctrine. He started and closed each program with a hymn—Throw out the Lifeline—but the commentary was essentially the same. Samizdat will prevail

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:51  

  • Phillip with your brilliant mind set please stay with the libs.

    By Blogger pf1, at 19 February, 2009 13:54  

  • I don't give a fig what the Liar-in-Chief says but am happy to know about another Rush op-ed. Thanks! Listening to him now, and a groundswell of revolution is brewing. (Mark should be even hotter tonight.)

    So Phillip is bashing Rush while listening to him. Do these people have a clue?

    By Blogger Peg C., at 19 February, 2009 13:55  

  • Phillip never voted for a Republican in his life. He's just like Obama and the rest of the Democrats, he lies.

    Obama is lying about the Fairness Doctrine. Just like he was lying during most of his campaign. He says what he thinks his audience wants to hear at the moment and then does what he wants to do as soon as the cameras and microphones go away.

    Pitchforks. We need pitchforks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 13:56  

  • One thing is for sure. Limbaugh could care less about what he predicts, hopes happen, and so on. What Rush really cares about is keeping up trumped up outrage and controversy alive -- so his fans won't grow bored. Especially now that President Obama has once again quashed Rush's delirious blather with common sense, straightforward talk. Whether you want to believe the President or Rush Limbaugh is up to you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 14:07  

  • Phony soldiers, phony Democrat voters ... Old BS goes bad when left in the sun too long.

    So Rush won, this round. But lurking is the same localization BS that may not need an act of Congress.

    It's because of Rush that I voted Republican for the first time ever in 2008. I just couldn't bring myself to vote for the communist.

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 19 February, 2009 14:08  

  • @Phillip
    That was almost convincing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 14:08  

  • The salient question is, what did those hosts say about then-Sen. Obama that you take issue with, Phillip et ilk, or that you have found to be untrue?

    I was listening to Rush in election season, though not to the other two. He generally adhered to a few themes about Obama: 1. Obama had not done anything worth the adulation he received from the press and his non-press supporters. 2. Obama's much-vaunted rhetorical ability tended to go belly-up when he was off the TelePrompTer. 3. Obama's life stood at odds to his rhetoric: he didn't even help members of his own family out of poverty. 4. Adjunct to the particular example in 3: Obama talked a lot about "our" - that is, Americans' - needing to do this, that, and the other, but his (spotty, scarce) legislative history, the bits of policy proposals we could discern, and pretty much everything about those he associated with gave us reason to believe he meant something very different.

    The "something very different" was that rather than Americans doing things, the government would do things, and Americans would increasingly both depend on it to do things and lose their legal ability and/or will to do things. Rush was, as always, articulating the conservative viewpoint. Early days yet in the Obama administration... but don't Rush's predictions ring pretty darn true so far?

    By Blogger Jamie, at 19 February, 2009 14:31  

  • Welcome to the socialist-fascist state, comrade.

    Do not criticize Dear Leader or you will be punished.

    Play along, and we will pay your mortgage. Of course, it means nationalizing all industrial and financial institutions, and the state will officially own your property.

    But we guarantee 24-hour Air America access on every station.

    Good job voting, dumbasses!

    By Blogger Noah Boddie, at 19 February, 2009 14:37  

  • Oh, and WingNutPsychosis, RushIsTheirLife, GOP08_DOA: take a look at what Bush "did" to free speech.

    Nothing. Nothing at all. And was gracious, unfailingly, to you who (RITL's claims notwithstanding) debased him in the vilest terms from long before his first day in office. (Does any of the three of you remember the 2000 election season? Or were you far, far too young to vote then?)

    On the other hand, ANY reiteration of the Fairness Doctrine in ANY form and under ANY name would be chilling to free speech. The question is, will efforts, by the sainted ACORN or anyone else, get traction under Obama? If so, then we can say with great objectivity that Obama did more to "shred" the Constitution than Bush.

    So I'm waiting to see what Dear Leader will do.

    By Blogger Jamie, at 19 February, 2009 14:37  

  • How is ACORN demanding equal time censorship?

    Because someone has to pay for it. And if three hours of ACORN is prohibitively expensive since no one will buy commercials for what no one wants to listen to, then there can't be three hours of Rush. A "community" radio station will be forced to shut up the conservative voice because it can't pay for the liberal one.

    If liberal talk radio has listeners, liberal talk radio will sell ads, and liberal talk radio will exist.

    They have community television here... I've no idea how much it costs. No one watches it. Who pays for it? If you turn it on there is always some druggie talking about legalizing pot. Weee! Sure glad someone is paying for that. (And I'm even half convinced that we *ought* to legalize pot.)

    And Rush is right about Obama... he can say he's firmly against the Fairness Doctrine and it's meaningless. He'll just call it something else.

    Sort of like Obama told us there was no "pork" in the stimulous bill.

    By Blogger Synova, at 19 February, 2009 14:51  

  • Phillip is a RINO! Stop drinking the koolaid!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 15:29  

  • Whatever happened to Air America? Oh, right, bankrupt in the marketplace of ideas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 15:48  

  • This is all Bush's fault. Bush caused people to hate him so much that the mere mention of his name made people sick. Therefore, as the only network that dared criticized Bush due to the ill wind of censorship that forced Tim Robbins to whine in comments seen and heard by millons of people that he had no free speech, could not get any listeners, Air America was unable to get any listenership.

    Karl Rove planned it all from the beginning, so that liberals had no voice in radio as 20 million people a week would be forced to turn their radio dials to Rush because there was nothing on the AM Dial besides SPanish stations and polka music. I'll bet if someone looked, they would find out that Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh bought all of those Spanish and polka stations so that everyone would be forced to turn to Rush.

    In sum, that is why we need the Fairness Doctrine. My reasoning and logic are unassailable.

    By Blogger Brian, at 19 February, 2009 18:03  

  • Amd We need to make serving on one of those "localization" boards as unpleasant an experience as possible. It's the Alinsky way!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 23:49  

  • Has Rush Limbaugh ever said anything good about a Liberal or Democrat ? ... Now don't jump in all at once & NOT that one died . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 February, 2009 02:43  

  • Phillip is The Minister of Propaganda, and many of the posts in this thread are his under different names. MoPoop is practicing Sockpuppetry, the lowest form of Liberal Democrat lying.

    By Blogger PCD, at 20 February, 2009 14:32  

  • Fairness Doctrine? Censorship? WTF are you talking about? Remember this?

    This was the Decency Bill The Republican majority passed because of Howard Stern? Stern was not only goofing on you, but was destroying Bill Clinton. So what did your leaders do? Pass H.R. 3717 or the decency Bill and guess what, what's stopping the libs from doing the same? The republican party did it, and now qith a liberal FCC, you are next! Our party is in trouble.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2009 15:54  

  • First off we would like to congratulate you on your fine public speaking skills. It looks like those who said the Obama Administration would strike while the iron is hot may have been correct, and the Administration may be doing it in a way that does not require them to even get a vote in Congress.

    By Anonymous Egy Azziera, at 04 April, 2009 01:39  

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