Kirsten Powers doesn’t mince words when discussing what she calls the “illiberal silencing tactics” of the left, including those employed by the Obama administration.
“It goes without saying that if George Bush had done this, he would have been Hitler,” she said of the Obama administration’s attempt to “delegitimize” Fox News.
The concept of “delegitimizing” individuals or organizations like Fox News is a main theme in her new book, “The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech.”
>>> Read More: How the Illiberal Left Uses Silencing Tactics
While speaking to a small group of reporters Monday at The Heritage Foundation, Powers explained how the tactic works, using the Obama administration’s attack on Fox News as an example:
“They go around to ABC and CNN and say, ‘We’re not going to listen to them, and neither should you.’ To me, it’s so unprecedented,” she said.
They can’t handle any dissent. It’s got to be completely 100 percent behind what they want—they don’t want to debate, they won’t send anybody on Fox News. … It goes without saying that if George Bush had done this, he would have been Hitler. If George Bush had come out and named a news organization … I can’t even imagine what would have happened.
In 2009, Anita Dunn, a White House communications director, called Fox News a “wing of the Republican Party” during an appearance on CNN.
“They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that’s fine,” she said. “But let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.”
In 2014 during a campaign speech at Northwestern University, President Obama himself called out the cable news network.
“There’s a reason fewer are running against Obamacare,” Obama said, “because while good, affordable health care might still be a fanged threat to freedom on Fox News, it’s working pretty well in the real world.”
Fox News isn’t alone. For years, the White House has resorted to bullying tactics and withholding information. It has prompted complaints from prominent journalists and the White House Correspondents Association.
Powers is a Fox News contributor, USA Today columnist and a “proud liberal.” What she’s not proud of, however, is the tactics the left uses to quell public debate.
“It’s been really sad, actually, to watch,” she said.
After meeting with reporters, Powers spoke to The Daily Signal’s senior contributor Genevieve Wood (video above), where she called the saga, “the war on Fox News.”
The Daily Signal will release the full interview later this week.
In writing her book, Powers said she came to see conservatives as the most ardent defenders of free speech—welcoming debate rather than attempting to stifle it like many liberals in media and academia.
While she agrees with the left’s stance on many of the hot-button cultural issues that divide society today—like gay marriage—she doesn’t agree with the measures used to further those ideas.
“I don’t understand this idea that people need to be pushed out of jobs and the public square for disagreeing with you on one issue,” she said.
In writing her book, Powers says she hopes to “get through these gatekeepers” to reinstate the idea of free speech.
“You have to have free speech for the people who offend you,” she said. “We don’t need it for the things that we agree on.”
She hopes to take that message to college campuses, where she believes restrictions on free speech are most problematic. Powers said she also welcomed the opportunity to debate fellow liberals on the subject.