Media Research Center President Brent Bozell has condemned President Barack Obama’s comment about talk show host Rush Limbaugh, saying the “attack on conservative talk radio” has begun.
At a meeting with Republican leaders on Friday, Obama told the lawmakers they shouldn’t be listening to Limbaugh if they plan on getting along with him.
"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told the GOP leaders during a discussion about his planned stimulus package.
One White House official sought to downplay the remark, claiming Obama was simply pointing to the fact that “there are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats.”
Bozell countered in a statement: “Now we know what Barack Obama means by ‘unity’ and a nation working ‘as one.’
“It means it’s his far left way and no other way. If he had his way, the president would have us all reading the New York Times and listening to left-wing Air America. He knows his only opposition to enacting a radical left-wing agenda is conservative talk radio.
“Further, there’s something eerie, Big Brother-like in Obama’s actions. He will deny it, of course, but this is an attack on Limbaugh’s and all conservatives’ right to free speech. He wants to set the stage for the Fairness Doctrine. And he’s doing it through character assassination.”
Originally instituted in 1949 by the FCC, the Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters over the public airwaves to give equal time to opposing political views.
Since talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by conservative hosts, and liberal talk radio draws few listeners, the “equal time” provision would likely force many radio stations to pull popular conservative hosts from the air rather than air low-rated liberal hosts.
The doctrine was repealed during the Reagan administration.
Bozell declared: “I said the day after the election that Rush Limbaugh would become public enemy number one if the Obama administration had its way. The attack on him personally and on all of conservative talk radio generally has officially begun.”
Limbaugh himself also attacked Obama’s remark, saying in an e-mail to the Palm Beach Post’s “Page 2 Live” columnist Jose Lambiet that Obama is trying to shift the focus of the public debate from his stimulus plan to the radio talker.
Rush wrote: “If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of the trillion-dollar debacle."
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