Operation Rushbo, Fox News and Obama's Politics of Hate

Whether Rush Limbaugh was set up in his failed attempt to become an NFL team owner, there is no doubt that he is the target of a new Politics of Hate, perfected and implemented by Barack Obama and his handlers.

Obama's oratory of Hope and Change has proved to be nothing more than camouflage for a realpolitik of Fear and Loathing, his broad smile at the teleprompter just a distraction while Obama's heavies deliver a kidney punch to perceived enemies. Welcome to politics -- the Chicago way.

Obama's attack on Limbaugh was conceived last spring. Politico reported then that a cabal of top Obama advisors initiated what Politico called 'Operation Rushbo' to "roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era." With conspirators including consigliere David Axelrod, Obama's press puppet Robert Gibbs, and Chief of Staff -- and chief enforcer -- Rahm Emanuel, there can be little doubt that Obama, himself, greenlighted the strategy.

Like so much with this White House, the conspiracy evolved as the result of polling. Karl Rove, no stranger to the subject wrote at the time:

"Presidents throughout history have kept lists of political foes. But the Obama White House is the first I am aware of to pick targets based on polls. Even Richard Nixon didn't focus-group his enemies list."

It is a remarkable development. Remarkable, unprecedented, shameful.

In his Wall Street Journal column, Rove called Obama's Operation Rushbo "a diversionary tactic," and there is no doubt that it diverts attention from the sausage Obama is grinding though Congress. It is not coincidental that the operation kicked off just as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi rammed through Obama's pork-filled 'stimulus' package.

Like the societal pickpockets they are, the Obamatons diverted their victims' attention while emptying taxpayers' wallets.

Operation Rushbo gave Obama's media sycophants the green light to pillory Limbaugh, and they raced ahead at full throttle, with no slowing to fact check or to give Limbaugh a chance to respond to even the most outrageous allegations. The coverage of the NFL-ownership story is merely a continuation of Operation Rushbo, with the media encouraged and empowered by the White House to cut journalistic corners. Seen a nasty comment on the internet supposedly made by Rush? No need to check it, despite how many times Limbaugh protests he never said it.

It is an ominous precedent, for Limbaugh is still a private citizen, albeit a very public one. He is not an elected official, he holds no position with a political party, he is entitled to the same protections that any private citizen has. For the White House to put its full weight and power behind an operation to discredit any private citizen, no matter how powerful, is Orwellian at best, Stalinist at worst.

But, while Obama dithers over whether to send the additional troops to Afghanistan for which his commander in the field has been pleading, he has decided to amp up Operation Rushbo, opening a new front aimed at the Fox News Network.

With their media minions hounding away at Limbaugh, and Obama cheering on according to Time Magazine, the White House, itself, began directly and publicly bullying FNC for not toeing the Obama line. White House Communications Director Anita Dunn started the new campaign earlier this month, accusing Fox of "opinion journalism masquerading as news." The assault escalated this past weekend, with Emanuel warning CNN that Obama doesn't want "the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox." And when it comes to the media, what Obama wants, Obama gets.

Consigliere Axelrod was even more blatant in the administration's effort to control media coverage, telling ABC that Fox is "not a news organization," before warning, "Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way."

These are not empty threats.

Even before Operation Rushbo, the Obama machine had shown utter disregard for the media's First Amendment rights, banishing from its campaign plane reporters shortly after their newspapers refused to endorse Obama. "We noticed that they allowed some friendlier media on the plane," said Dallas Morning News Managing Editor Bob Mong. The Obama campaign also cut off contact with a Florida TV station after one of the station's anchors asked Joe Biden questions that weren't the usual softballs the Democrat ticket was used to getting. The Obama campaign even tried to use the Justice Department to intimidate television stations from airing an independent group's ad linking Obama and William Ayres.

The news media has historically seen itself as the foremost defender of First Amendment rights. Where have they been during Obama's concerted assault to intimidate its critics into silence?

They remain, lips puckered, near Obama's back-side.

Incredibly, Dunn later repeated her comments about Fox on a CNN program devoted to covering the  media, one which should have been more fiercely protective of First Amendment rights than even usual news coverage. Transcripts show that Dunn was actually egged on by the host.

It has been said that one should choose one's enemies wisely, and Rush makes a high value target for the Obamatons: rich, successful, an outspoken opponent of their politics. Now Obama has unleashed the hounds on Fox News, another bete noir of the far left. But what happens when this cabal, which seemingly believes that the First Amendment should be reserved only for the person reading from their teleprompter, turns its sights on other media? Hatred is difficult to stop once unleashed, like a pack of ravenous wolves.

What will set them off? A single editorial that the White House doesn't like? An interview with sharp questions? How long before commentators, then editors, then reporters around the country start looking over their shoulders, fearful of the snarling beasts?

Where does Obama's Politics of Hate start? Even more ominously, where does it end?

One is reminded of the poem  'First they came for....'

First they came after Rush.

Then they came after Fox.

Who will they come after next? Me, for writing this article? You, for reading it? If you email this to your friends, will we all end up on their Enemies List?

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author
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