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article imageOp-Ed: Will Obama Silence The Opposition?

By David Zublick     Sep 27, 2009 in Politics
In recent weeks, a serious threat has emerged to the liberties of every American with regard to free speech in this country.
This threat has come in many forms and from many fronts.
Cass Sunstein, Barack Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar, believes that the government should be able to force broadcasters to air "diversity" ads, which would be a backdoor attempt at reconstituting the Fairness Doctrine.
In his 1993 book "The Partial Constitution", Sunstein wrote "If it were necessary to bring about diversity and attention to public matters, a private right of access to the media might even be constitutionally compelled. The notion that access will be a product of the marketplace might well be constitutionally troublesome."
Sunstein would like to see the creation of a "First Amendment New Deal", or a new "Fairness Doctrine" that would include the establishment of a panel of "nonpartisan experts" to ensure "diversity of view" on the airwaves.
Obviously, this would result in time constraints to the private broadcasting companies, which would be forced to give up valuable revenue-generating advertising slots to air these diversity ads. This could also result in programming changes on conservative stations, which might be forced to drop certain hosts or programs to prevent having to equalize all points of view.
At the same time, there is a new bill being drafted behind closed doors in the Senate, S.773 (excerpt) which would give the White House the authority to seize control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency. In effect, the Internet would be shut down at a moment's notice due to some perceived (or conceived) threat. After all, wasn't it Rahm Emanuel who said "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
If the threat to broadcasters and the Internet aren't bad enough, Obama is now thinking about bailing out the failing newspapers in this country. There are several bills in congress that would boost the newspaper sector, including a senate bill that would allow newspaper companies to reformulate themselves as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks. These newspapers would then be print versions of PBS and NPR, which would, in effect make them mouthpieces for the government. The White House could control the advertising and all editorial content appearing in these papers.
Obama already has the mainstream media in his back pocket. All of the major networks and most of the print media are in the tank for this guy. But it still sticks in his craw that there are those outlets that offer opposition to his policies. Several attempts have been made to demonize those who share disparate views. Charges of racism have been leveled against those who oppose health care, cap and trade, the stimulus and our increasing budget deficit.
The charges of racism won't be enough, however, to keep Obama's critics quiet. So other steps must be taken to stave off the growing cacophony of voices that stand to hold this regime's forces at bay. Pushing for another Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters, taking control of the print media through a financial bailout of the newspapers, and the authority to shut down the Internet at a moment's notice, might just give our government a way to silence all of Obama's opposition.
Scary thought.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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