Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama's Brownshirts

John Fund:

Team Obama has launched an offensive against WGN, the Chicago Tribune's radio station, for interviewing Stanley Kurtz. Mr. Kurtz is a conservative writer who this week forced the University of Illinois to finally open its records on Sen. Obama's association with William Ayers, the unrepentant 1970s Weather Underground terrorist.

An Obama campaign email to supporters called Mr. Kurtz a "slimy character assassin" whose "divisive, destructive ranting" should be confronted. WGN producer Zack Christenson says the outpouring of negative calls and emails is "unprecedented." He also notes that it is curious -- because "we wanted the Obama campaign's take" on Mr. Kurtz's findings, but the campaign declined to put anyone on air.

The university released more than 1,000 files relating to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). A cursory review of the files reveals that Obama and Ayers "attended board meetings, retreats and at least one news conference together," which contradicts Obama's statement on April 16, 2008 during a Democratic debate.

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

Actually, Obama and Ayers were very close. This is evidenced by not only their leadership of the CAC, but also their collaboration as directors of the Woods Fund and its numerous troubling relationships.

Working together as the heads of the Annenberg Challenge, Ayers and Obama facilitated a handout of more than $160 million in and around the Chicago school system. These funds went to groups that purportedly were going to improve student achievement.

The effort failed miserably by every measure.

Kurtz began his review of the CAC's papers and was invited on Milt Rosenberg's long-running Chicago radio show to discuss his initial findings. Though Obama's campaign declined an invitation to appear on the show, it did broadcast an "Obama Action Wire" requesting that supporters phone the show and interrupt Kurtz' appearance.

The station, WGN, has made a stream of the broadcast available online, here, and it has to be heard to be believed. Obama’s robotic legions dutifully jammed the station’s phone lines and inundated the program with emails, attacking Kurtz personally. Pressed by Rosenberg to specify what inaccuracies Kurtz was guilty of, caller after caller demurred, mulishly railing that “we just want it to stop,” and that criticism of Obama was “just not what we want to hear as Americans.”

Steve Diamond, writing at the left-leaning Global Labor blog, decried the tactics:

Caller after caller to WGN read off talking points provided them by the Obama campaign alleging that Dr. Kurtz, and by implication and sometimes directly, Milt Rosenberg, was "smearing" Barack Obama and finding Obama "guilty by association." They also accused Kurtz of lying.

Yet, when pressed for specifics, these callers had none.

This gang of callers and emailers reminded me of the "turbas" - the street thugs organized by the Nicaraguan Sandinistas who would be deployed on a moment's notice to harass independent trade unionists, human rights activists and government critics during the Sandinistas' rule over Nicaragua in the 1980's. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela - a favorite haunt of Bill Ayers and other "Progressives for Obama" - uses similar bodies in Caracas neighborhoods.

Ostensibly, Obama's campaign embraces post-partisan "change." Yet its use of brown-shirts to disrupt a radio program -- rather than offer a reasoned debate -- smacks of neanderthal tactics.

It is an ominous glimpse into the future should the "Fairness Doctrine" Democrats take control of government.

Related: MP3 -- Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg Unabridged - 720 WGN - 8-27-08 Stanley Kurtz, Guest.

Hat tips: Fausta, National Review. Linked by: Newsbusters and Parkway Rest Stop. Thanks!

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