As Twitchy has reported, Clear Channel recently came under fire from leftist bullies for giving space to anti-voter-fraud billboards in Wisconsin and Ohio. Liberals claimed these billboards were racist, intimidating, and in violation of voters’ civil rights. Clear Channel had initially refused to dismantle the billboards and said they would remain through Election Day. That was then.

The media giant now says that the signs will be taken down and replaced with ones that read: “Voting is a right. Not a crime.” Never mind that the original billboards never contradicted this new message. They stated correctly that voter fraud — not the act of voting itself — is a crime. Nevertheless, lefties would not be satisfied until their opponents’ voices were silenced, and now, it seems they’ve gotten their wish.

Liberals rejoiced at the muffling of free speech:

Lefty group Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a press release this morning:

Washington, D.C. — Civil and voting rights groups today commended Clear Channel Corporation for agreeing to take down a number of billboards placed in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Cleveland, Columbus, and Milwaukee.  The groups had mounted a campaign over the past week to persuade Clear Channel to take down the billboards, which warned of criminal penalties for voter fraud and were designed to stigmatize and intimidate minority voters.  The billboards were anonymously financed.

“This is an inspiring victory for the communities that fought back against these billboards,” said Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Free speech is a right of all Americans, and citizens used their voice to organize and oppose this targeted suppression tactic.  Clear Channel did the right thing by responding to the outcry.”

“Clear Channel’s decision to take down the intimidating billboards is a victory for free, fair and accessible elections,” added Brenda Wright, Vice President for Legal Strategies at Demos.  “Norton Outdoor should follow suit and stop promoting fear tactics that discourage eligible Americans from exercising their right to vote.”

Conservatives were disgusted by Clear Channel’s shameful moral buckling:

Sykes said that he spoke with the man whose family was behind the original billboards. According to Sykes, Clear Channel told this man that he needed to either reveal his family’s identity or remove the billboards.

He and his wife briefly discussed the choice and quickly decided that they were not going to back down, even though he knew that he and his family would be subject to a firestorm of controversy and personal vilification. A quick Google search of voter fraud billboards yielded hundreds of thousands of hits. I suppose you could say that he and wife were naive: they had thought they were simply being good citizens providing important information about ballot integrity. They had trusted the integrity and their contract with Clear Channel. And now they had a decision to make.

The head of the foundation read me a statement about his decision to go public and agreed to post it on this website. It was a powerful declaration of free speech, the importance of election integrity, and the responsibility of voters in civil society. He understood that this would become a national story and that it would affect both his family and his business, but said that he felt it was worth it. He said he would send it to me early Saturday.
But that night, his children expressed strong objections, fearing not only for their parents’s safety, but also for the safety of their grandchildren, who they felt might be put at risk by the forced disclosure of the family’s name and involvement in the billboards. Reluctantly, he and his wife concluded that they could no go forward with exposing their family.

The family is right to be concerned for their safety. The Left has proven over and over again that it’s not afraid to use vicious tactics to silence the opposition.

Shame on those who claim to value free speech above all else painting a target on those who exercise it. And shame on Clear Channel for enabling these thugs.