WGN On The Air

We just want it to stop. It’s not fair, it’s blatant attacks against Barak Obama

I’m listening to WGN, where Stanley Kurtz apparently just finished talking about his research. The first two callers – apparently triggered by the Obama campaign – both wanted Kurtz silenced.

I’m beyond disgust. I’ve been bitterly opposed to ‘silence the critics’ on blogs and in the media everywhere. This is not remotely the kind of politics that represents change that I want to be part of.

Steven Diamond is talking now…nice slam at Ayers. Makes me feel better about being liberal.

[Addendum, 13 hours later: WGN has posted the “full podcast of the show.”:http://wgnradio.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44075&Itemid=467 –NM]

94 thoughts on “WGN On The Air”

  1. And its not just 2 callers- Rosenberg’s producer called the Obama campaign to see if they wanted to have someone on to reply (for the full 2 hours) and the spokesman (Ben Labolt) simply asked for the station manager’s name and then hung up on them. An emergency action email went out with specific talking points and thousands of calls and emails flooded the stations demanded that Kurtz be silenced. A number of callers have called literally reading these bullet points.

    This is one of the biggest radio stations in the country and one of the most respected radio journalists. They are calling for this program to be _silenced,_ not rebutted.

  2. It seems that whoever the DNC “left with the keys” in Chicago wasn’t up to putting (or authorized to put?) anyone on the air for the two hours, and went to the “roots” option.

    I would guess that all their A- and B- list people are in Denver. No-brainer prediction: The short lead time for the radio show will be interpreted as an ambush operation rather than a taken opportunity.

    OK, one extemp Obama supporter with some screws tight.

    Kurtz is now saying that his emphasis is in the ’90s record of Obama, not on the ’60s. Rebuttable?

    Woops. Another “it’s all lies… smear tactics…” call.

  3. Rosenberg is putting on a clinic for class. I wish there were more journalists like him around. He’ll give people the rope to hang themselves with, but he wont kick out the chair.

  4. Obama’s operatives have promoted the Ayers story to a new level. Like the Edwards story, this is now also a story about media, bias, and intimidation.

    Not only can two play at this game, three will, because I think the unreconciled Clintonites will pick up the ball, too.

    There is a lot of old, bad blood between feminists and the SDS-Weathermen radicals. It partly has to do with certain mandatory sexual practices of the Weather Underground, which will have Middle America puking in its cornflakes if it all gets dredged up in public.

  5. Stanley Kurtz: “Are they saying I can’t be on the air during the Democratic Convention?”

    Milt Rosenberg: “Apparently so.”

  6. Well, that was eye opening. Is there such a thing as discourse left in this day and age? If Milt Rosenberg’s show has become ground zero, i just dont know anymore.

  7. BTW, did anyone know that “Bill Ayers has a blog?”:http://billayers.wordpress.com/

    Don’t look for personal recollections of Obama; Ayers is careful to never confirm or deny any connection. There are a couple of retrospectives on the Weather Underground that are interesting, but know that Ayers has been called the biggest liar of all the ex-Weatherpeople.

    “Here is his clenched-fist salute to Hugo Chavez,”:http://billayers.wordpress.com/2006/11/ in November 2006.

  8. Well thanks to Mark B for pointing out the show.

    I used to listen to Milt Rosenberg a lot during the 80s; and to be honest, he helped me fall asleep. His shows were usually about ideas or books. The conversation was acadamic. The callers were usually knowledgeable about the topic. It was always interesting, but also calming. Milt always keeps an even calm tone. Soothing.

    Again, I’ve never heard anything like this.

    (BTW/ His Monday show was on the Fairness doctrine according to his website)

  9. Ok, I agree, this is the wrong way to go about it. It looks like they’re trying to control the message the same way the white house has controlled the message… by creating a news vacuum and then only answering it when the story can be controlled. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work well in an election, and it’s not how this candidate should react.

    It’s dissapointing. Hopefully he’ll deal with it more directly after the convention.

  10. I can’t think of anything I love more in this world than a lefty who loves reason and truth and despises the tendency of other lefties to opt instead for the use of force in the forum.

  11. Alchemist,
    The wrong way to use your jack-booted thugs to stifle dissent. The right way is for the Obama people to get power first. Then they can use the Department of Justice as their own personal force and intimidation tool, criminalize political differences, and just put anyone they don’t like or who doesn’t toe the line in jail.

    They scare me, and I’ve voted Democrat all my life. But I’m a libertarianish Democrat, i believe in freedom of speech and the press.

  12. I keep wondering what more it will take for reasonable people to admit that something potentially dangerous is going on here. It doesn’t really matter if you blame Senator Obama or some of his overly-excitable supporters; if he is elected these kinds of silencing tactics will be seen as both effective *and* legitimate. Which in turn could mean that they could be repeated with even greater intensity and frequency during an Obama administration. Once you can put the weight of federal resources behind the urge to silence critics, terrible things can happen.
    Neither Senator Obama or his campaign higher-ups seem interested in restraining or limiting the behavior of his supporters, no matter what they do. There has never been any public denunciation of these tactics. I find that extremely disturbing.

  13. I have small goals, today.

    I’d be happy if the Obama supporters, rank and file, just realized that they are supporting the Hope and Change candidate with tactics shockingly similar to ones they publicly despise and deplore.

  14. Welcome to the party, pal.

    This election cycle, we’re going to shout down our opposition – otherwise, they Swift-boat us with accusations that, while they have some merit, just don’t matter.

    It’s Obama, or you’re a racist. If we find out that you were acting against Obama, or donating to McCain, or voting for McCain, then we’re going to try to get your fired from your job, or booted from your board, kicked out of our bar, and thrown out of the Democrat Party.

    You’re not welcome.

    Leave.

    And say something nice about Obama on your way out, or we’ll key your car, spit on your kid, or have Bill Ayers pipe-bomb your kids day school.

  15. I caught the last hour of the show. This is not going to play well with the general public.

    BTW linked her at “Classical Values” and “Power and Control”.

  16. WTF?…. It’s not “silencing” a radio show when you call in and tell them that they piss you off. Actually, that’s just free speech in action, folks. It’s totally normal American discourse.

    I strongly suspect that if the shoe was on the other foot, if it was WGN interviewing, say, Cynthia McKinney, and people were calling in saying they didn’t want to hear this scary radical, you’d think it was the best thing since sliced bread.

    I need a picuture of one of those little kitty cats with the caption

    PROTECTIN FREE SPEECH: UR DOIN IT RONG

  17. I’d be happy if the Obama supporters, rank and file, just realized that they are supporting the Hope and Change candidate with tactics shockingly similar to ones they publicly despise and deplore.

    Get real

  18. atheist – calling and emailing saying “don’t give this guy airtime and you’re bad for letting him talk” isn’t any kind of ‘free speech in action’ that I recognize or will ever support. The fact that you think it’s peachy is either because you misunderstand what happened – or a pretty deep reflection on the fact that free speech means someting far different to you than it does to me.

    A.L.

  19. Glen: The wrong way to deal with criticisms of your connections. I thought he dealt with the Ayers criticisms well before. Legally validating the 527 status of Swift Boat Co, i’m fine with…. shutting down any debate makes me more quesy. More quesy than the Ayers issue alone.

    I would much rather he came forward and said “Look, I dealt with Ayers on committees of X, Y and Z. They were committees based on chicago issues we were both immediately engaged in. We did not discuss past decisions or political ideologies, but merely focused on the direct problems sitting in front of us. Since these meetings were directly engaged in fixing problems in the community, I assumed that he had put his radical past behind him. Over time, I learned that this assumption was incorrect, and as the committees stopped serving the community, I left.

    Throughout his past, Obama has made statements to this effect, and dealing with and engaging the criticism is the best way to solve the problem.

  20. Armed Liberal:

    Of course it’s free speech. Free speech doesn’t mean that you refrain from criticizing everyone, just as having civil society does not mean having an absence of conflict.

    Here’s free speech in action: Some idiot gets up and says something stupid. I raise my voice and call him out on his stupidity. It seems to me here that what you are expecting is an impossibility.

  21. #24:

    “Neither Senator Obama or his campaign higher-ups seem interested in restraining or limiting the behavior of his supporters…”

    It’s worse than that. The Obama campaign itself sent out an email alert to urge people to do this.

    Blogs sometimes have crazy commenters, and some of the more radical blogs might do something like this. But this isn’t a radical blog: it’s the actual, formal campaign organization itself calling for these tactics. That seems important to me. It seemed important to me when they were calling for Justice Department investigations into political opponents as a tactic for suppressing their speech.

  22. #32:

    A better analogy would be this:

    I have a platform, and have invited a speaker you think will say something you find stupid. I invite you onto the platform as well, for the full time he’s there, to rebut his allegations.

    You give me the finger, and go organize a mob to shout over the man trying to talk.

  23. atheist – did you listen to the show? I would be the last person in the world to criticize someone for arguing with someone else. But very little of that went on. It was simple – “How _dare_ you allow him to speak on your radio show!!”

    If that construction of free speech works for you, it says far more about you than it does about free speech.

    A.L.

  24. #34

    You give me the finger, and go organize a mob to shout over the man trying to talk.

    Some people calling in telling the guy they don’t want him on the show is a “mob” now? Don’t you think you’re taking this out of proportion?

    #35

    It was simple – “How dare you allow him to speak on your radio show!!”

    I didn’t hear the show, no.

    But did they make threats or did they just talk shit? From what you have described, they called in and stridently said, “don’t let this guy on your show”. Which is rude and strident, but within the limits. Did they make a threat against the guy, which would have been beyond the limits of free speech as I, and most Americans, would define it?

    Or did they just talk shit, say how dare you let this guy on… to be clear, I think that’s stupid too, but frankly if someone says that to you and you are a radio host, you have a good option, which is to just ignore them. You’re the one with the microphone, after all.

  25. #36

    Obamanation reminds me more of Jonestown every day

    Obama sounds like Jim Jones. Uh, OK, now you officially sound completely paranoid.

  26. >>>#36 Obamanation reminds me more of Jonestown every day<<< “Obama sounds like Jim Jones. Uh, OK, now you officially sound completely paranoid.” Problem is, every once in a while, the paranoids are right. Ben

  27. These are exerpts from the e-mail the Obama campaign sent:

    bq. _Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse._

    bq. _Call into the “Extension 720″ show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200_

    bq. _(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)_

    bq. _Then report back on your call …_

    . . .

    bq. _Calling will only take a minute, and it will make a huge difference if we nip this smear in the bud. Confront Kurtz tonight before this goes any further:_

    . . .

    bq. _Please forward this email to everyone you know who can make a call tonight._

    bq. _Keep fighting the good fight,_

    bq. _Obama Action Wire_

    “Link”:http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-obama-wgn,0,3744149.story

    And then the radio show got calls attacking the station and Kurts for having the talk show.

  28. Atheist, nobody is claiming anybody did anything illegal, thats not the point.

    Fist off- the email action alert urged supporters not just to call the show, but to call the station manager and apply pressure to have the show pulled off the air. Not illegal, but certainly not the kind of championing of free speech we tend to embrace.

    Secondly, of course it is legal and well within 1st amendment protection to advocated the curtailing of free speech. That doesnt make it less despicable. There are all kinds of speech that polite company abhors, i’d classify any speech who’s intent is to silence other in this realm. Its not illegal, no-one is calling for _them_ to be silenced (what hypocrisy that would be), but it does give me the screaming heebeejeebies. Particularly coming from supposed progressives.

    This isnt a spontaneous flood, or even some web-site that riled people up, or even some special interest group.

    This is the officially sanctioned action of a presidential contender. And i strongly doubt it wasnt a strategy that came down from on high. This could be something some volunteer freelanced. This happened so fast and deliberately, i would argue it was a standing policy of the campaign.

    I’d compare it in a smaller way to burning a flag. No its not illegal, but its certainly not something you expect out of someone asking for your vote.

  29. #41 Mark Buehner

    bq. This is the officially sanctioned action of a presidential contender. And i strongly doubt it wasnt a strategy that came down from on high. This could [not] be something some volunteer freelanced. This happened so fast and deliberately, i would argue it was a standing policy of the campaign.

    Do I have the sense of your comment correct, that there was a “not” missing?

    re my #3 and AL’s #7:

    When I wrote “…or C-list wannabe”, I meant to imply in a portmanteau that either Ben Labolt didn’t rise to the level of C-list yet or he was headed for the C-list as a sacrificial goat after yesterday’s push.

    Do they sacrifice goats nowadays by throwing them under the bus? We’ll see. If so, it’ll be called just what Mr Buehner says it can’t be, if I read him aright.

    As I mentioned in the earlier thread, another interesting question for me is why there were so many dropped calls in the first part of the second hour. Not possible to know if it was just something like eight generally-fidgety callers, or part of the Dem call wave who got tired of the mission while on hold, or if they all were effectively a DoS mission — dead air being a frequently-effective way to get listeners to switch stations.

    Maybe there were technical problems. But it piqued my curiosity, for sure.

  30. The way to fight against this type of suppression of free speech is to email the URL to everyone you know and advise them to email everyone they know. That way the word gets out exponentially and cannot be stopped by Obama’s minions.
    Voters in this country really need to hear what serves as dialogue for Obama’s supporters and ask themselves is this the kind of person or country we want.
    I have done my part by email a large number of people and my hope is that they will do the same.
    To answer; most conservatives and those on the Right would have had no problem letting those on the left speak for the more the left speaks the more damage it does to itself. You only need to listen to those callers to hear what I mean.
    I think free speech is one of the greatest rights we have. I would even ask, no beg, that those of you on the left keep calling anyone who disagrees with you a racist , sexist, et al. The more you use these terms the less meaning they carry and their ability to shut down dialogue will fail.
    I love that name calling because the more people you alienate the better.

  31. is it still a “smear” if its true? funny how all that “hope and change” goes out the window when you’re a few points down in the polls.

  32. #41
    .
    This is the officially sanctioned action of a presidential contender. And i strongly doubt it wasnt a strategy that came down from on high. This could be something some volunteer freelanced. This happened so fast and deliberately, i would argue it was a standing policy of the campaign.

    Mark, sure, I understand that. But, if it’s OK for a person to do that, then why isn’t it OK for an organization to do that? Even as large an organization as a presdential hopeful’s campaign.

    There’s paid republican staff who monitor media and do rapid responses when someone says something they don’t like. Why should this be considered differently?

  33. AL — What did you expect? This is your Democratic party now — full of Obama-nauts. Didn’t you catch all those celebrities praying to Obama in the video. It’s a religion not a candidate.

    With Obama as Joseph Smith, or Brigham Young, or that whacko from Waco, whatever you prefer. Sending out his people to shut down anything that suggests that the Messiah is not perfect.

    On a broader note, Kurz’s critics could not factually refute him, i.e. Obama was deeply involved with Ayers for decades and knew full well of his hard Left Marxist Radical past — indeed that was the whole attraction.

    I’m feeling a lot more confident now — hopefully McCain will win, the implosion of the Democratic Party will start (Hard Angry Left Radicals, Minority Separatists, College Kids + Rich Yuppies do not make a national party), and the Republican Party can start it’s arc towards picking up lots of Dems and becoming the LBJ-returns party.

    But then, I thought LBJ was a great President.

    Polling must indicate an electoral wipeout, so no wonder Obama is doing everything possible to shut people down with his usual South Side Chicago goonery.

  34. its interesting that people like Kurtz and Diamond are having to do the legwork that the press refuses to do, and of course they are attacked for it. The Obama (and Democrat leadership) made such a big deal out of transparency and openness, yet at every turn they have put up stone walls to thwart even the most basic of questions about Obama’s past.

    What do they have to hide? If Ayers was just a guy in his neighborhood, why is there such a massive pushback by the Obama campaign? Usually where there is smoke, there is fire. We all know that if the tables were turned, and this was the McCain campaign engaged in open warfare with a columnist and a private citizen (I don’t know much about Diamond so correct me if I’m wrong), the left would be freaking out.

    We always hear that conservatives just parrot their talking points that are given out from Rush/Hannity etc, yet these callers were the epitome of regurgitation groupthink. None of them had any information other than what was fed to them by their master, and even that information was wrong.

    For all the talk of the totalitarian/dictatorial tactics that the right supposedly engages in, the biggest examples as of late seem to always come from the left.

  35. Just for some added emphasis:

    Throughout the open line segments, Rosenberg and Kurtz wore incredulous expressions. The hostile callers were so bereft of any legitimate argument, there was little to do but sit back and marvel at what was going on.

    The experience was surreal, amusing, and chilling. In a matter of hours, a major national campaign had called on its legions to bully a radio show out of airing an interview with a legitimate scholar asking legitimate political questions. Coupled with the Obama campaign’s recent attempts to sic the DOJ on the creators of a truthful political advertisement —which also happened to feature Obama’s relationship with an unrepentant terrorist— last night’s call to action represents an emerging pattern. Any criticism of Obama’s unknown past is to be immediately denounced as a “smear,” and the messenger is to be shut down at all costs.

    I’ve never seen this kind of response before, honestly, what has the Obama team so shaken by this?

  36. _”There’s paid republican staff who monitor media and do rapid responses when someone says something they don’t like. Why should this be considered differently?”_

    Because _response_ is different than calling for the silencing of someone who’s opinion you don’t like. Or in this case who’s facts you don’t want acknowledged.

    I would a thousands times prefer to hear 2 hours solid of callers screaming about NeoCons conspiracies and UN world government black helicopter than listen to the drek i heard last night, which did even _less_ to advance enlightened debate. Its not really a debate at all when you are just trying to shut somebody up.

  37. Here’s free speech in action: Some idiot gets up and says something stupid. I raise my voice and call him out on his stupidity.

    So, you spend your days talking to yourself?

    Chuck

  38. _what has the Obama team so shaken by this?_

    My main thought last night was the fear that a Chicagoan with independent knowledge of some of these issues might call in.

    But I’ll also point out that Rezko appears to be talking to the feds, and the rumer in Springfield is that the Governor of Illinois will be indicted by the end of the year.

  39. As to why this is happening, here is what I think:

    Obama and his political advisers are _terrified_ of the story line that ‘swift boating’ killed John Kerry. This is a reaction out of fear that guilt by association or exaggeration is going to sink his campaign.

    But they are in fact creating exactly what they are trying to avoid. Here’s why: John Kerry didnt lose because of Swift Boat allegations. John Kerry didn’t lose for any one reason, but one reason he did lose is because of the _perception_ of him as a person that those allegations reinforced. It wasnt that there were lies about John Kerry, its that suddenly everyone was in the mindframe of Vietnam John Kerry and more importantly post-Vietnam standing next to Jane Fonda and denouncing the US effort. Its this image of a wishy-washy person that isnt necessarily 100% gung-ho all American that killed Kerry. Ultimately it was a mistake to run a candidate based on his credentials in a war he denounced (popular with Dems, no so much with the rest of the nation). Something just never sat right about Kerry trying to be both GI Joe and Ghandi wrapped up into one.

    Now Obama is terrified of being cast as an Ayers ally- forget the terrorism bit, its Ayers open admiration for Chavez and Castro and the idea that a little bit a fascism to get the job done is what the doctor ordered. But THAT is what Obama is reinforcing with these tactics. And that is why he is making matters worse.

    The bottom line is Democrats are enchanted with the idea that dirty tactics keep costing them elections. Its much easier than coming to grips with all the underlying issues that make the dirty tactics _effective._ Obama needs to somehow demonstrate to the country that he isnt the kind of hardcore leftist that apparently all the people he has worked with and served with are. And once again, _thats who he actually is,_ so the job isnt righting perceptions, its bending them. And thats why Dems keep failing. Try running a candidate people are looking for an excuse to roll over on.

  40. Atheist:

    I thought it was well understood in polite debating circles that a purpose of free speech was to see ideas debated freely; further, that when free speech is used to shout down or pressure ideas out of existence by sheer volume and disdain, that this purpose is not best served.

    Perhaps I was wrong.

    In any event, consider then the next possible step: is it legal or moral, if you have enough supports, to consciously mount a distributed denial of service attack by having your supporters call constantly, incessantly, tying up all available phone lines and strangling a talk radio station?

  41. _”Try running a candidate people are looking for an excuse to roll over on.”_

    arent. Boy i’m having trouble with my negatives today.

  42. gabriel:

    what has the Obama team so shaken by this?

    Apparently the e-mail alert said that Kurtz was claiming on the air that Ayers recruited Obama for the Annenberg Challenge. (I heard only the end of the show, but I’ve never seen Kurtz assert that in print.) Hardly an explosive charge, but apparently this is what justified the raving about outrageous LIES, justified shutting down the WGN program, and justified personal attacks on Kurtz.

    As someone said recently, it’s not only a mystery what Obama sees in Ayers, but what Ayers sees in Obama.

    alchemist:

    I assumed that he had put his radical past behind him. Over time, I learned that this assumption was incorrect, and as the committees stopped serving the community, I left.

    If you’re advising Obama to say that he left any committee, or Annenberg, because he found out that Bill Ayers was a radical, you’re advising him to lie. There’s no evidence he did any such thing.

    Even if it were true, I wouldn’t advise him to say so. Given that he suffered Wright for 20 years and did not realize the man was a radical until a huge number of people pointed it out to him repeatedly, the public might think there was some kind of pattern here.

  43. I’ve never seen this kind of response before, honestly, what has the Obama team so shaken by this?

    I think there are two things going on. First, the Obama people think the “lesson” of the Swift Boat ads against Kerry was that he didn’t counter-attack hard and fast enough. (The fact the the ads were mostly true is ignored.)

    Second, it’s clear from his own writings that Obama has been in very left radical circles for a long time. He knows that exposure of that would turn off the swing voters he needs.

  44. #50

    Because response is different than calling for the silencing of someone who’s opinion you don’t like. Or in this case who’s facts you don’t want acknowledged.

    Mark, when I said response, I was talking about exactly stuff like this. Or worse. On a conservative show like Rush Limbaugh, you have him openly advocating starting riots at the DNC. Or, for another famous example, the Brooks Brothers Riot of November 19, 2000, which successfully frightened Democratic poll workers from conducting a recount of Florida ballots.

    So just understand that when you say that you are afraid of Obama supporters getting too scary, your words sound hollow to me.

  45. I thought it was well understood in polite debating circles that a purpose of free speech was to see ideas debated freely; further, that when free speech is used to shout down or pressure ideas out of existence by sheer volume and disdain, that this purpose is not best served.

    Marcus:

    You’re right, of course about the polite debating circles. It just seems to me that radio is not a polite debating circle, and that no-one really expects it to be. In my experience, radio is considered a more rough-and-tumble debating environment.

    Also, if callers get obnoxious, then I’m sure the radio station can freeze them out- block their phone numbers, etc. I doubt that any radio station is incapable of dealing with obnoxious callers.

  46. In any event, consider then the next possible step: is it legal or moral, if you have enough supports, to consciously mount a distributed denial of service attack by having your supporters call constantly, incessantly, tying up all available phone lines and strangling a talk radio station?

    No, I don’t think that’s legal or moral. But nobody was doing that. And as I said, I think a radio station could pretty handily defend itself against such an assault.

  47. ateist: _It just seems to me that radio is not a polite debating circle, and that no-one really expects it to be. In my experience, radio is considered a more rough-and-tumble debating environment._

    No doubt you have no experience listening to the radio show in question. I doubt there is an interviewer that would provide Obama a fairer opporunity to respond.

    But there is no response. Nothing untrue has been said. Its the relevancy of the topic that Obama supporters reject. They don’t want to respond, they just don’t want people to talk about it.

  48. “Now Obama is terrified of being cast as an Ayers ally- forget the terrorism bit, its Ayers open admiration for Chavez and Castro and the idea that a little bit a fascism to get the job done is what the doctor ordered. But THAT is what Obama is reinforcing with these tactics. And that is why he is making matters worse.” — Mark Buehner

    Exactly. While none of Obama’s supporters are bearing arms in support of their man, the campaign’s encouragement of this sort of uncivil disobedience is definitely in the style of Chavez’ support and coordination of his “militias”.

  49. _”you have him openly advocating starting riots at the DNC.”_

    Atheist, once again you are misrepresenting someone.Limbaugh never advocating STARTING riots, he advocated a chaotic primary which he believed would RESULT in rioting.. and that was done tongue in cheek.

    But even so- _Rush Limbaugh isnt a presidential candidate._

    The biggest problem i have with the defenders in this is that if McCain or god forbid Bush were the one doing it, the world would be ending. The brownshirts would be on the streets. kristallnacht would be nigh.

  50. Obama is in a hole here.

    He said to the effect: “Ayers is just a guy in the ‘hood”.

    Now it turns out that he had at least a 7 year relationship with Ayers.

    It is almost like he is running out of room under the bus. Or the bodies are piled so high the wheels no longer get traction.

    He sought out Marxist professors in college, he had a Marxist mentor, he went to a Marxist oriented church, and now we find he had a working relationship with a Marxist bomb thrower.

    I think I’m beginning to see a pattern.

  51. Here’s free speech in action: Some idiot gets up and says something stupid. I raise my voice and call him out on his stupidity.

    Except that’s not what they did. They raised their voices to say he had no right to speak at all. And when asked to explain why, they had no answer except, “Because I’ve been instructed that I don’t want him to.”

    Obama sounds like Jim Jones. Uh, OK, now you officially sound completely paranoid.

    Good point: Jim Jones wasn’t nearly as ambitious.

  52. I have a bad feeling about this one. It is starting to read like Georgia started it, then you read Trotten’s post and are left going WTF.

    Is there anyone out there whom can match the e-mail that caused this to a DNC computer? To be specific Ben LaBolt’s.

  53. Also, if callers get obnoxious, then I’m sure the radio station can freeze them out- block their phone numbers, etc. I doubt that any radio station is incapable of dealing with obnoxious callers.

    So it’s fine for a presidential campaign to make the attempt.

  54. I’d add that it is disturbing to see official campaign communications like:

    It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves.

    Never mind the questionable notions of free speech – it used to be considered beneath a presidential candidate, or his official spokesmen, to engage in such a personal attack against an individual. Especially when Kurtz is innocuous compared to other critics.

    Petty. Bullying. Unworthy to be entrusted with power of any sort.

  55. “_WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears,” Obama’s campaign wrote in an e-mail sent to supporters. “He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. (Wednesday night) pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers_”

    “LaTimes”:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/08/obama-wgn.html

  56. atheist says – “But nobody was doing that.” uh, bullshit. That’s exactly what they were doing….

    No, they were calling up and saying, “we don’t want this horseshit on the air”. Which is exactly what I might do if I heard someone spouting off lies on the radio, and what I imagine you might do as well.

    This was not a denial-of-service attack, it was some people expressing their disgust with the program and their wish that Milt Rosenberg would not have Stanley Kurtz on the air. Whether they did this on their own or at the behest of a political campaign is immaterial, since it is within their rights in any case. Whether this was tactically smart is debatable. Whether this was rude is, debatable as well, but you didn’t say they were rude assholes, you said they were trying a denial-of-service attack. If that was a denial-of-service attack it was a hopelessly lame one, and Rosenberg’s show went on.

    I am unsympathetic to your argument here. And one of the main reasons is that I imagine you would do the exact same as these guys did if you heard a known liar uttering offensive horseshit on the airwaves. Am I wrong?

  57. atheist:

    And one of the main reasons is that I imagine you would do the exact same as these guys did if you heard a known liar uttering offensive horseshit on the airwaves. Am I wrong?

    What did Kurtz lie about?

    And yes, you are entirely wrong if you think I would ever call a radio program, or call anybody, to protest because somebody sent me an e-mail claiming that they were broadcasting lies.

  58. No, they were calling up and saying, “we don’t want this horseshit on the air”. Which is exactly what I might do if I heard someone spouting off lies on the radio, and what I imagine you might do as well.

    …after being instructed to do so by the official website of a presidential candidate. If that’s what you imagine, speak for yourself.

    By the way, you’ve yet to specify how it’s “horseshit.” But then, neither did the callers.

  59. I tend to lean to the right side of the aisle but read a great many blogs; both right and left. Some are extreme and some not so much. With that said, I’d like to give kudos to the posters here (save one) for being quite reasoned people. You seem able to make good points without having to shout differing opinions down. It’s people like you who prove that people can disagree politically yet not feel the need to “hate” the other side. Thanks for giving me faith that there still may be a chance for us after all.

  60. Athiest said: “No, they were calling up and saying, “we don’t want this horseshit on the air”. Which is exactly what I might do if I heard someone spouting off lies on the radio, and what I imagine you might do as well.

    This was not a denial-of-service attack, it was some people expressing their disgust with the program and their wish that Milt Rosenberg would not have Stanley Kurtz on the air. Whether they did this on their own or at the behest of a political campaign is immaterial, since it is within their rights in any case. Whether this was tactically smart is debatable. Whether this was rude is, debatable as well, but you didn’t say they were rude assholes, you said they were trying a denial-of-service attack. If that was a denial-of-service attack it was a hopelessly lame one, and Rosenberg’s show went on.

    I am unsympathetic to your argument here. And one of the main reasons is that I imagine you would do the exact same as these guys did if you heard a known liar uttering offensive horseshit on the airwaves. Am I wrong?”

    Didn’t you already state that you didn’t hear the program? Listen to the podcast and then make your argument about what was said and what was not said.

  61. #73

    And yes, you are entirely wrong if you think I would ever call a radio program, or call anybody, to protest because somebody sent me an e-mail claiming that they were broadcasting lies.

    OK, but, leaving aside for a moment the questions of:
    1. Was Kurtz actually lying
    2. Is it OK to protest because a trusted source sends you an email claiming someone is lying

    I’d like to know, would you call the radio station to protest if you actually seriously thought that what someone was saying on the air was a dirty lie?

  62. atheist –

    “The Obama campaign’s email”:http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-obama-wgn,0,3744149.story says:

    Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack’s connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has been disproved in numerous press accounts.

    “Here Kurtz’s appearance on FOX.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjvc6vfxRwI At about 2:10, Kurtz says “Really Bill Ayers was the founder of this foundation, and he may well have chosen Barack Obama to be on the board of directors.

    Now there is no doubt that Ayers was a founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, “as we established here.”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/the_problem_with_journalists.php#c63

    When Kurtz says Ayers may have chosen Obama he is speculating, not stating a fact. The Obama campaign could say the speculation is unfair, but they cannot say it is a lie. They could prove it wrong by lifting their veil of silence and revealing how Obama did become the chairman of the CAC, but that would not make Kurtz a liar.

    So you see, Kurtz is not lying, and the Obama campaign is lying when they say he is. What should be their punishment for lying? Should they be barred from appearing on media programs? Should journalists refuse to interview them?

  63. atheist, I may see if you can replace my yoga teacher; you’re certainly limber enough…

    Look you’re being repetitively and willfully obtuse here. Let’s try this point by point.

    Asking people to call a radio station and demand that a speaker be shut down – in the kinds of quantities that were likely to be (and were) generated by the Obama email isn’t an effort to engage, or lobby, or do anything except take their phones off the air.

    Asking people to call the station and when they speak and demand that a speaker be shut down and when they are asked why – to have them recite vacuous talking points (as opposed, say to prepping a speaker to give crushing counterarguments) isn’t an effort to engage, or lobby, or do anything except fill the air with enough screaming people to end any kind of discussion.

    That’s not free speech. It’s not saying “write the station and complain” which is working the ref, but part of the game. It’s explicitly aimed at knocking the discussion off the air and silencing an argument without actually, you know, arguing against it.

    That’s bullshit, pure and simple. That’s the politics of people with truncheons and brown shirts, and if that’s a politics you like…well, if the boot fits…

    A.L.

  64. #76

    Didn’t you already state that you didn’t hear the program? Listen to the podcast and then make your argument about what was said and what was not said.

    John

    I’m at a location where I don’t want to listen to audio. But even so, I can read what people are writing about it. Armed Liberal, in the original post, said that Stanley Kurtz was on Rosenberg’s show, and then after he finished talking, two Obama supporters called in an said that they wanted him off of the air. I also know that later, Steven Diamond was on the show. I feel that this is enough info to make my case.

  65. #80

    Asking people to call a radio station and demand that a speaker be shut down – in the kinds of quantities that were likely to be (and were) generated by the Obama email isn’t an effort to engage, or lobby, or do anything except take their phones off the air.

    That’s bullshit, pure and simple. That’s the politics of people with truncheons and brown shirts, and if that’s a politics you like…well, if the boot fits…

    Two people calling a radio station and being rude is now a Nazi attack? That’s an exaggeration, don’t you think?

    As for vacuous politics, have you been awake for the past eight years?

    Look, I’ll go and listen to the show. Then I can have this conversation with ya.

  66. Two people calling a radio station and being rude is now a Nazi attack?

    So, A.L. said that the first two callers wanted Kurtz to be silenced — in a post that was obviously written in the middle of the show — and from this you’ve taken that the show had only two such callers?

    During the show, Rosenberg mentioned that the station was being inundated with angry phone calls and e-mails as he spoke. You can read the “Obama Action Wire” that triggered this deluge here. And the Chicago Tribune has reprinted the Obama campaign’s e-mail here.

    I’ll agree, though, that the “brownshirt” references are a bit much. The Obama camp’s new tactic strikes me as merely LaRouchian.

  67. It was a heck of a lot more than two.

    Look folks, this is a losing battle. If the show was on the other foot Atheist would be flooding these comments with Neocon conspiracy theories. If nothing else he is taking Obama’s strategy that extra mile for him, intentionally or not.

  68. Y’all like whack-a-sophist, eh? “Willfully obtuse”, “Putting aside the only questions that are relevant here”, “losing battle”, etc. Herding cat’s.

  69. LaRouchian?

    Hmmm, harrasing phone calls, stunts to disrupt talks . . .

    That sounds to me like the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

    And I always thought A.L. was full of it when he said Obama was a post-’68er. The Weathermen, the Manson Family, CREEP. It certainly seems post-68 to me, but not very.

  70. Hmmm, harrasing phone calls, stunts to disrupt talks . . .

    That sounds to me like the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

    Examples?

    And even if so: What happened to hope and change?

  71. Here is a local review of the show that might illustrate why last night was so jarring:

    bq. _And it’s Rosenberg’s callers who really make his show the best in the city. Where else can you hear people using so many polysyllabic words, so many compound, complex sentences? And where else can you hear people speaking seriously, and at length, about books? (Midday NPR shows don’t count.) To tune into Rosenberg’s Extension 720 is to realize there’s an otherwise unspoken world of suffering readers and thinkers sitting out there in their living rooms and bedrooms, listening. And brooding. And looking for a sign, for hope. 0n his good nights, Rosenberg offers them at least a glimmer._

    “Link”:http://www.newcitycgi.com/cgi-bin/boc/boc2000.cgi?id=34

    Pretentous? Perhaps. But “it’s not fair” is not Polysyllabic.

  72. _”This was not a denial-of-service attack, it was some people expressing their disgust with the program and their wish that Milt Rosenberg would not have Stanley Kurtz on the air.”_

    Nah, it’s both. The individual callers may have been expressing their disgust, albiet on entirely inadequate grounds, but _recruiting that many callers_ was, in fact, a denial of service attack. Obama’s campaign could have contacted a hundred supporters and gotten it’s view on the air; They wanted ONLY their view to make it on the air, so they recruited enough callers to keep the lines tied up.

    The difference between Larouchian and brownshirt is how much you think you can get away with. Based on Obama’s campaign tactics, I expect things to get really, really ugly once he’s got the Justice department on tap.

  73. I am going to have to say the Obama supporters were in fact exercising their Right to Free Speech.

    The strength of our system is that it allows Facists to step forth and been seen and heard by the Public at large.

    It does the Nation good to witness these Neo-Brown Shirts in Action.

    We just need to spread the word.
    ;-)

    AL this incident is not an indictment on true Liberals such as yourself, but rather an expose of the Totalitarian roots of the Obama ground swell

    I recall you support the man and I would consider it ludicrous for you to be painted with the same brush

    I think you are wrong but not in the same league as these folks

    Besides there is nothing new about this, they treated Hillary supporters the same way on Leftest Blogs for quite a while

  74. Dan:

    The strength of our system is that it allows Facists to step forth and been seen and heard by the Public at large.

    That’s true, of course. But I would prefer that people refrain from recruiting and organizing fascists.

  75. That’s true, of course. But I would prefer that people refrain from recruiting and organizing fascists.”

    Well like the Song says

    You can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes well you just might find
    You get what you need

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