October 28, 2009
Censhorship by Attorney General Holder


President Obama doesn't like criticism. Who does? But Obama's Attorney General took the extreme step and actively censored criticism of an Obama policy recently. It's very chilling for the top legal officer in the government to tell you to shut up.

Obama talks about increasing opportunities and more flexibility in K-12 education. But his actions speak louder than his words. He is killing a D.C. voucher program that gets kids into better schools. And censoring those to disagree.

Silencing Voices for School Choice - Weekly Standard:

Former D.C. Councilmember Kevin Chavous of D.C. Children First said October 16 that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had recently approached him and told him to kill the ad.

The 30-second ad, which has been airing on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and News Channel 8 to viewers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, urges the president to reauthorize the federally-funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides vouchers of up to $7,500 for D.C. students to attend private schools.

The ad features Chavous and a young boy--one of 216 students whose scholarships were rescinded by the Department of Education earlier this year when the agency announced no new students would be allowed into the program. The ad also includes an excerpt taken from one of Obama's campaign statements.

"We're losing several generations of kids," Obama says, "and something has to be done."

"President Obama is ending a program that helps low-income kids go to better schools, refusing to let any new children in," Chavous says in the ad. "I'm a lifelong Democrat, and I support our president. But it's wrong that he won't support an education program that helps our kids learn."

Censorship is often misunderstood. Editing by the media is not censorship; it might be biased, but it's not censorship. Censorship is prior restraint of speech by the government. This is the real thing.

Via Cato.

Posted by Ron Hebron at October 28, 2009 05:18 AM | Email This
Comments
1. Bull. Was there a threat of arrest or any other official penalty?

If not, then I hope that we can finally agree that the Bush Adminstration was engaged in censorship about global warming.

Posted by: demo kid on October 28, 2009 06:31 AM
2. The government can massage it's outputs by controlling what is "official" and that happens exactly 100% of every day. Censorship is when the government attempts to restrain the public.

Posted by: Cecil on October 28, 2009 06:42 AM
3. Demo Kid I would like a factual cite for anywhere that the Bush administration asked a company to kill an ad, that they did not pay for.

Disagreeing is not censorship telling the person that is printing an ad to stop printing something leads toward censorship. if the company had then quit running this add it steps over into censorship.

So I wouldn't say this is censorship, I would say this was an attempt at censorship.

Posted by: Daniel Grass on October 28, 2009 06:46 AM
4. Censorship, turning in your neighbors, shutting down media that isn't 100% friendly to you.... Where have I read about this before? It seems like deja vu all over again.
DK... get off the bong. Bush isn't prez anymore.

Posted by: PC on October 28, 2009 07:03 AM
5. demo kid always defends lefties no matter what they say or do. The can do the most egregious thing that most of his fellow lefties would even find offensive an demo kid would still defend them.

Posted by: REBEL on October 28, 2009 07:11 AM
6. " Bull. Was there a threat of arrest or any other official penalty?"

Bull. When Holder 'told him to kill the ad' there was an implied threat. Otherwise why would he tell the guy to kill the ad?

By your logic, if you're walking down the street with a sign that says 'Down with Bush,' and a cop tells you to get rid of the sign, it's perfectly fine as long as the cop doesn't actually threaten to arrest or arrest you.

Posted by: travis t on October 28, 2009 07:48 AM
7. @5: Yes, I sometimes think DK must be related somehow to Alan Colmes - the deny, deny, deny liberal apologist. There is not a single thing so disgusting, over the line, or actually illegal that either of them won't defend.

Posted by: katomar on October 28, 2009 08:29 AM
8. What is "censhorship"? Sheesh, can you at least proof the headlines?

But Obama's Attorney General took the extreme step and actively censored criticism of an Obama policy recently.

Oh....censorship! So what was this extreme step of active censorship? Read the article. Here is what Chavous said:

"I saw [Holder] at an event.... He did ask me in front of others to pull the ad. My response was, 'No, and I tell you what, if the president does the right thing, not only will we pull it but we will celebrate him.'"

Hmmm, so not a command, it was a request. One which Chavous apparently felt free to ignore. How is that "active" censorship?

It's very chilling for the top legal officer in the government to tell you to shut up.

Apparently, not very chilling at all, since Chavous told him to pound sand and continued running his ad.

More hyperventilating from the right...

Posted by: scottd on October 28, 2009 08:36 AM
9. Ron Hebron claims, "Censorship is prior restraint of speech by the government. This is the real thing."

But this is contradicted by even the far-right Weekly Standard article from which he supposedly draws this claim:

Chavous said he did not believe Holder's comment was an official request. "It wasn't like the administration was leaning on me to pull the ad--this wasn't an intimidation play," said Chavous, adding that he knows Holder and his wife. "This is someone who is a friend, who saw me, and let me know his thinking." (emphasis mine)

I actually am inclined to agree with you on the voucher issue here, but the "censorship" complaint is much ado about nothing.

Posted by: Bruce on October 28, 2009 08:56 AM
10. Bruce: Exactly...

There is a real story here. It's about a disagreement between parties who would normally be allies on the subject of the DC voucher program. I don't know much about this subject, but there are probably good arguments to be made from both sides. Ron could have written about this, performed his own analysis, and told us what he thinks. But he's too lazy for that, so we just get some sloppy Obama-bashing -- censorship! -- that is actually contradicted in the article he cites.

Posted by: scottd on October 28, 2009 09:20 AM
11. that is actually contradicted in the article he cites.

but this is ron's modus operandi 90% of the time.

facts don't matter.

Posted by: mike on October 28, 2009 09:24 AM
12. demo kid babbles in a profoundly moronic way: "I hope that we can finally agree that the Bush Adminstration was engaged in censorship about global warming"...

ROFLMAO!

Yep, it takes seriously flawed moron to believe in the myth of global warming...

Posted by: juandos on October 28, 2009 11:06 AM
13. Thug presidency. They don't want the truth getting out about what Obama's doing against poor black kids who were getting a decent education through this good program. Shame on the Obama administration. demo kid, when O's thugs come for you, you can only hope there is someone left to speak for YOU. Wake up.

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2009 12:12 PM
14. dk is sidetracking the discussion. Don't fall for it. dk, are you against this DC voucher program?

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2009 12:13 PM
15. Ron, you seem to care very little about what the truth is.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 28, 2009 12:39 PM
16. JJ, no---it is Holder and Obama who don't want the truth of what Obama is doing to poor schoolkids getting out.

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2009 12:43 PM
17. michele

so you care if 'poor little black kids' have access to taxpayer funded vouchers...

just not taxpayer funded health care?

classy.

also, this 'good program' took 50 million dollars away from already underfunded public schools in d.c. - with the net effect of making them worse off.

so 2 thousand kids succeeded, at the expense of 70 thousand.

avoid the problem by making it worse.

conservative principles at their finest, i guess...

Posted by: mike on October 28, 2009 01:21 PM
18. Nice try Mike...

From my 40 years on this planet, I can tell you from personal experience that a great number of black kids don't want to succeed, because it's considered "trying to be white". The kids whose parents genuinely gave a s*** took the opportunity to remove their kids from a cultural environment that celebrates ignorance.

As for anyone suffering for the benefit of others, you're ignoring the fact that the parents of the kids who left were simply taking the money out of the system that they had already put into it. The suffering was already happening. This program was the only way that the really great teachers would have a shot at teaching the kids who genuinely wanted to learn without having to play babysitter for the ones who didn't

Keep the black folks down, create a permanent underclass and guarantee a voting base by robbing "whitey" to pay for their hand-outs. Can't have them uppity negroes trying to get an education, now can we?

Sorry, this brotha left that plantation long ago.

Posted by: Mulattoboy on October 28, 2009 01:56 PM
19. You so called small government local conntrol Honkey's from the Pac NW crack me up! Like that DC voucher program was not a line item from a federal appropriations bill by some small state honkey from the south or west. What a wonderful exercise in local and small government - getting marching orders from someone outside of your jusrisdiction to spend big government federal dollars and control your local school system.

No to mention, 7,500 - wont begin to touch a private school in the DC area!

Posted by: Buckeye Bobo on October 28, 2009 02:15 PM
20. Mike@ 19: Your last comment is a crock. You people think you can just make a blanket statement and nobody will check it. Compare the national map of graduation rates at
http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?measure=23 with the map of red and blue states at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states and you'll see that red states have consistently higher graduation rates.

In fact, the two biggest blue states, California and New York, have graduation rates lower than DC.

Learn the difference between facts and wishful thinking, then use facts to bolster your case.

Posted by: sro on October 28, 2009 02:33 PM
21. I am amazed, though I guess I should not be, how liberals are against the DC voucher program, apparently ONLY because conservatives like it.

I mean, really, have they given even one valid argument as to why it should be discontinued? Not a single argument that holds water has been laid out here. They attack it because it is favored by conservatives and then they attack conservatives themselves and never once address why vouchers are bad, the DC program is bad or why the kids who used it should NOT use it.

And no, Bobo, you have to cite your sources for the cost of private schools in the DC area, not just toss out rhetorical questions.

Try reading a bit:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-025.html

The cost of private educations is less than the cost of public schools.

And there is the specious argument that money is taken from the needy to fund the special kids who got vouchers. Most school districts get money based on student head count, so if you take the student out and the accompanying money with them, the rest of the students are NOT shortchanged. The public schools still have the same dollar per student ratio as before.

Admit it. you don't care about the students you care about attacking anything conservative.

Posted by: Eyago on October 28, 2009 02:37 PM
22. Clearly there is no effort to attack our civil rights and freedoms from the left that our resident scum won't parse, excuse and/or spin.

Holder wasn't aiming a gun at the head of the individual he was intimidating, therefore, it's not censorship.

Despicable.

If any GOP president had done this or tried it, there'd be leftist rioting in the streets.

The hypocrisy of the left simply knows no bounds.

Posted by: hinton on October 28, 2009 02:52 PM
23. Clearly there is no effort to attack our civil rights and freedoms from the left that our resident scum won't parse, excuse and/or spin.

Holder wasn't aiming a gun at the head of the individual he was intimidating, therefore, it's not censorship.

Despicable.

If any GOP president had done this or tried it, there'd be leftist rioting in the streets.

The hypocrisy of the left simply knows no bounds.

Posted by: hinton on October 28, 2009 02:52 PM
24. To all the compassionate, loving, free-speech defending liberals here, two words:

Chilling Effect.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on October 28, 2009 02:56 PM
25. RE: Chilling Effect -

From Elanor Holms Norton's website...

"Members so feared voting any money for private schools that the Republican majority inched out the D.C. vouchers bill by one vote, and then only by keeping the vote open 45 minutes, much longer than usual, while they could twist the arms of enough Republicans to change their votes. Who needs more of that?! Particularly today with school reform in D.C. in full swing, vouchers are a distraction and a misuse of funds that would be better used by DCPS and charter schools."

Posted by: Buckeye Bobo on October 28, 2009 03:18 PM
26. Scary people aren't they? Ever notice that liberal politicians almost always put their own kids in private schools?

It isn't a big surprise that liberals want every kid in the country in NEA indoctrination factories. They always fight school choice.

As always, you simply need to understand who these people are. The country is figuring out who Obama really is. These people are far leftists.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on October 28, 2009 03:56 PM
27. #18: way to tell off these leftwingers who were sure you weren't wise enough to figure out what they were trying to do to you. They got "owned".

A wise politically-involved person once warned "Beware the ones who are more concerned with who's teaching the kids than whether they are learning anything."

BINGO

I read about a couple of nice kids who've been attending Obama's kids' school (Sidwell Friends, where Obama is paying $52,000 a year to send his daughters) on voucher. They were grateful for the quality education. Sidwell was accepting their voucher as payment in full, even though it didn't come close to being the full tuition amount. What's not to like? The kids loved the school, they didn't want to leave. How sad that Obama and the trolls here want them back in crappy schools that won't provide them the education and learning environment Obama's daughters enjoy.

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2009 05:14 PM
28. Mike@29, while I have mixed feelings about vouchers, giving them out by lottery is quite fair. It's as fair as allocating slots to popular public schools by lottery, as Seattle does. It's not perfect -- ideally you'd have enough great schools that everyone could get their first choice -- but it's quite fair.

Posted by: Bruce on October 28, 2009 06:49 PM
29. The Democrats campaign against the evil corporations has gained one more vitory. Beoing is now leaving Washington State.

Posted by: pbj on October 28, 2009 07:50 PM
30. Apparently from the liberal responses here, the mafia for the last 60 years have just been altruistic when they offered up store front 'protection' to small businesses in NY, Chicago, Miami, etc. No implied threat there either is there? Of course not...

Quit being ignorant of reality in some desperate attempt to cover for coercive censorship by a government official. It's not only embarrassing for you personally, but clearly runs contrary to common sense.

Posted by: Rick D. on October 28, 2009 08:24 PM
31. Bruce's point had occurred to me earlier this evening, as well. It's never struck me as unfair that Seattle Pub. schools has lotteries for the most popular school choices. Lotteries for private school vouchers are no less fair. I think Mike is just mad that somewhere, somebody is getting a good education and it's not at public school in WA DC. Well, get over it.

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2009 09:03 PM
32. ....and keeping 100% of students in a failing public school system simply to keep the unionized public employee work force employed is "fair"?
I guess thats why parents in Seattle (and rich white dems in D.C.) keep voting with their feet.

Posted by: attila on October 30, 2009 04:12 AM
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