- Bestselling author and scholar Dinesh D'Souza, whose "2016: Obama's America," was one of the biggest documentary movie hits of its kind, was indicted last week on felony campaign finance violation charges that could see him imprisoned him for up to seven years. He was arraigned on $500,000 bail and Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department prosecutors made sure to collect his passport to prevent him from fleeing the country.
- Friends of Abe, a group of conservative Hollywood figures that applied for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, has seen its application held up for two years while Internal Revenue Service officials demand, among other things, a list of the group's members, who would prefer their identities not be made public for fear of losing work. In fact, one of the key reasons for the group's existence is to provide peer support for political dissidents who have face a serious threat of blacklisting in Hollywood.
- Last year, Holder's Justice Department shocked the media establishment by monitoring the phone records of reporters at the Associated Press and Fox News in a heavy-handed, jackbooted effort to identify leakers of classified documents within Barack Obama's own administration.
- Last fall, in a pre-dawn raid conducted by agents of the Coast Guard, Homeland Security and Maryland State Police in full body armor, the Obama administration invaded the home of Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson in search of illegal firearms. During the raid, one office asked Hudson if she was the reporter had written a series of stories critical of the Federal Air Marshal program. Hudson acknowledged she was. "Those stories were embarrassing to the agency," the officer said ominously.
- The IRS has admitted targeting tea party and other conservative groups based on their political ideology. But it makes no apologies for doing so. In fact, the IRS is pushing new regulatory procedures that would essentially make the practice of political targeting legal – by establishing one standard for unions and liberal 501(c)4 groups and another tougher standard for tea party and conservative organizations.
It's only a partial list of shocking anti-First Amendment actions by the Obama administration over the last year. Yet, the press establishment that makes its living under the protection of the First Amendment sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil.
Perhaps that's the safest, if least courageous, course in times like these.
Some defenders of the Obama administration question whether this represents more than a circumstantial case of abuse of free speech, freedom of the press and the right to dissent.
That's really the wrong question. A better question is: Do these developments measure up to the anti-First Amendment rhetoric of the Obama administration and its hand-picked officials in key agencies? And the answer to that question is most definitely "yes."
Obama swept into office in 2009 with the intent of promoting policies designed to destroy the one media form dominated by conservatives – talk radio.
The key appointment was Mark Lloyd as the chief diversity officer of the Federal Communications Commission. Since that one appointment, there should be no doubt about Obama's intentions with regard to limiting the free expression of his critics and political adversaries. All you need to do is consider Lloyd's own rhetoric:
- "It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies. [T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
- He hailed Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez for his "incredible ... democratic revolution." Lloyd expressed admiration for the way Chavez attempted to shut down opposition media in Venezuela.
- "What we're really saying is that the Fairness Doctrine's not enough," Lloyd says. "And that having a sort of over-arching rule that says broadcasters ought to be 'fair' or ought to provide issues important to communities and that they ought to do it in a fair and balanced way is simply not enough – unless you put some teeth into that and put some hard, structural rules in place that are going to result in fairness."
- One of Lloyd's ideas for doing that is by getting rid of white people in positions of authority in FCC-regulated media: "This ... there's nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions. And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."
Lloyd also has proposed that private broadcasters pay an annual licensing fee in an amount equivalent to their total yearly operating costs to a fund that would be redistributed to public broadcasting stations – i.e. state-run media.
In a report he co-authored just two years before being named as the diversity czar in the Obama FCC, Lloyd made no bones about the fact that his goal is reducing the disparity in the audiences of conservative and liberal talkers.
His remedy? "Stations owned by racial or ethnic minorities are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows, and [are] more likely to air progressive hosts or shows." Also, he says, "Stations controlled by owners who run just a single station [are] statistically less likely to air conservative talk and more likely to air progressive hosts or shows."
Naturally, with the ideological content outcome in mind, Lloyd is working overtime in his position to see more minority radio-station owners and more owners of single stations.
Suffice it to say, Lloyd is not exactly a First Amendment absolutist. He's more like a First Amendment abolitionist.
That Obama would appoint a man with these ideas to such a post should reveal his intentions about his intolerance free expression and diversity of opinion. Obama and his appointees care about one thing – retaining power at any cost. They have no use for critics. They have no use for dissent.
Therefore, Dinesh D'Souza is now officially an enemy of the state, and the IRS is demanding to see the names of all the cardholding conservatives in Hollywood.
I don't know any other way to say it: Obama has declared an all-out war on the First Amendment.