Obama threatens TV stations for airing criticism

Obama for America wrote the following letter (pdf) to TV stations airing an NRA ad:

September 23, 2008

Re: NRA Advertisement

Dear Station Manager

As General Counsel to Obama for America, I write about an advertisement sponsored by the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) that may be airing on your station. The text of the advertisement, and a thorough explanation of its falsity, is attached.

This advertisement knowingly misleads your viewing audience about Senator Obama’s position on the Second Amendment. In an article published today, the Washington Post fact-checks this advertisement and awards it three “Pinocchios,” meaning: “Significant factual errors and/or obvious contradictions.” For the same of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement.

(Via Snowflakes in Hell, via Instapundit.)

As is his practice, Obama cries “liar” whenever he is criticized. The letter goes on the discuss the “inarguable falsities” of the NRA ad. In fact, the falsities are indeed arguable. To the contrary, David Kopel argues that the ad is entirely accurate. But that’s not the main point.

The point is that Barack Obama, who wants to be President of the United States, is threatening to shut down TV stations that accept advertising that criticize him.

Forget the business about whether the ad is true or not. There’s no way to police politics for truth, since a big part of politics is people don’t agree on the truth. (No ad was ever more dishonest than the DNC’s 100-year-war anti-McCain ad, but somehow the DNC stood by it.) Stripped of the noise, this letter is a brazen effort to intimidate a TV station, not through boycotts or other legitimate means, but by threats of government action. Free speech is fine, as long as it doesn’t criticize Barack Obama.

It’s also amazing to contemplate Obama’s thin skin. Obama has managed to tame the media so much that, not only will they rarely utter any criticism of him, but when his opponent criticizes him, they will repudiate their own reporting on which that criticism is based. But it’s not enough for Obama to be spared by the press; when his opponents spend their own money to criticize him, he tries to shut them down.

MORE: It’s not an isolated incident either. Gateway Pundit notes a story by KMOV TV in St. Louis that reports that the Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target his critics:

Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading television ad during the presidential campaign.

This should be shocking to anyone who believes in free speech.

Again, let’s not have any nonsense about how only liars need fear prosecution. The story mentions two specific items they don’t want anyone to contradict: (1) Barack Obama is a Christian, and (2) he wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250k a year. I hereby contradict them. Barack Obama is not a Christian. (No, he’s not a Muslim, as some have alleged, but neither is he a Christian.) Barack Obama will probably not cut taxes at all, and will certainly not cut taxes on everyone making less than $250k. If I lived in Missouri, would I be facing the law now?

A willingness to engage in legal harassment of his critics should be an immediate disqualification for any office of public trust, especially the presidency. I cannot believe that America is contemplating electing this man.

UPDATE: Another instance I’d forgotten.

UPDATE (11/10/2009): Updated the Gateway Pundit link. The WMOV video seems to be gone now, but I transcribed the above lede myself. Gateway Pundit notes that WMOV later silently edited their story to soften it, but I can’t find any indication that they ever retracted their original reporting. Moreover, if this wasn’t an effort to intimidate critics of Barack Obama, why recruit only law enforcement?

UPDATE: The WMOV story is posted on YouTube:

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