By HERB DENENBERG, For The BulletinDuring the last presidential campaign, I said there was a light whiff of fascism coming from the Obama campaign. That was based on its habit of improperly trying to repress criticism of every kind. Example: A Chicago radio station was planning on airing a critic of President Obama, who was publicizing the candidate’s close association with terrorist Bill Ayres. The Obama campaign organized a call-in campaign to flood the station with calls and prevent the critic from being heard. Anther example: The Obama campaign warned that any critics in Missouri would be subjected to prosecution there if they voiced criticism that was not true. There was a "Barack Obama Truth Squad” made up of prosecutors and sheriffs to keep critics in line, promising rebuttals and prosecution in appropriate cases (NewsBusters, September 29, 2008).
Now that whiff has turned into a strong stench of fascism, as the Obama Administration uses the vast resources of the federal government to squelch criticism and silence and intimidate critics. Here are some of the recent examples of that:
• The administration has organized a concerted campaign to marginalize, demonize, de-legitimize and destroy Fox Cable News simply because it, virtually alone among broadcast outlets, originates strong criticism of the Obama Administration and asks tough questions about what it is trying to do. Obama spokesmen, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor David Axelrod have said, in effect, that Fox is just an arm of the Republican Party and is not a legitimate news organization. Obama spokesmen say the station has a perspective. There are several answers to this. First, its news programs (as opposed to its opinion and commentary programs featuring the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck) pre- sent both sides of issues in a fair and balanced manner, and that has been confirmed by the survey of a respected research organization.
• When a health insurance company that marketed Medicare policies tried to warn its policyholders that Obamacare would hurt seniors’ insurance programs, the Department of Health and Human Services issued on a gag order on such communications with policyholders. It also said that the warning was misleading, which it was not. The gag order was since revoked, but its initial promulgation tells you something about the mentality of the White House and its attitude toward criticism.