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Election Commission Takes a Light Touch With Net Regs

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the shuffling-paperwork dept.

102

CNet is reporting that the Federal Election Commission released a 96-page volume of internet regulations last Friday. From the article: "The rules [PDF] say that paid Web advertising, including banner ads and sponsored links on search engines, will be regulated like political advertising in other types of media. They also say bloggers can enjoy the freedoms of traditional news organizations when endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.

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102 comments

How nice of them. (5, Insightful)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993251)

They also say bloggers can enjoy the freedoms of traditional news organizations when endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.

Aren't we lucky, they're so gracious as to allow us our constitutionally protected free speech. Like they had a choice.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993324)

bloggers aren't journalists. more like internet pariah.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993339)

Internet pariah or not, bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as everyone else in the USA. Political blogging is exactly the kind of speech the First Amendment was designed to protect.

Re:How nice of them. (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993384)

Actually when it comes to elections they do have a choice. This seems on the surface to me to be a good decision by the election commission and I hope we get more intelligent but applicable decisions from our government in the future.

Re:How nice of them. (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993615)

Exactly. In an age when Constitutional rights amount to splitting hairs (e.g. who exactly has what rights under the first amendment? May I yell "fire" in a crowded location as a prank?), this is a good thing. It means the government is paying attention. While I am all for minimal to no regulation, the regulations we do have need to count: even if it is just to say "there is no regulation, go ahead, use your first amendment rights."

Re:How nice of them. (1)

daeviltwin (692894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993396)

"rebeka thomas", you sound hot!

Re:How nice of them. (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993420)

Aren't we lucky, they're so gracious as to allow us our constitutionally protected free speech. Like they had a choice.

But by "giving" us the right, they reserve their right to take it away in the future, if the right is "abused". So they have set a precident that may come in handy in the future, as long as those nasty courts don't interfere.

Fortunately for them, by the time a court interferes, the election would likely be over, rendering the point moot for that election season, and giving them the opportunity to create a differently worded "right of speach". Rinse, repeat.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14995074)

"But by "giving" us the right, they reserve their right to take it away in the future, if the right is "abused". So they have set a precident that may come in handy in the future, as long as those nasty courts don't interfere."

Sorry, but who gave them the right to give you the right?

There's something wrong here, because a right is not something that somebody gives you, but something that nobody can take away.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14995209)

You think maybe that is why "giving" was in quotes? duh.

Way to go, Master of the Obvious...

I agree - "giving us the right" (1)

JetScootr (319545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996677)

Is like when I hear a politician say "We can't pay for that tax cut". It shows the porker has forgotten - it ain't his money. It's our money.
It really flames me to hear stuff like that.
Rights are what you're born with, cuz God, FSM, or evolution made it a part of being human. If you're not alive, you're not human - you're worm food. If you have no liberty, you're not living as humans need to live.
And every human will, unless opressed, pursue happiness.
This is what's meant in the Declaration by "These truths we hold to be self evident..."
We speak cuz we're human - and we speak our opinions, not gov't approved drivel, cuz we're human.
Govt can neither grant nor take away a true right. All it can do is protect or oppress those who act according to their rights.

Read it again. (1)

thedletterman (926787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996699)

Didn't you mother ever teach you the different between CAN and MAY?

Bloggers CAN enjoy the FREEDOM.

If you aks anyone educated in english, they have AFFIRMED speech on the internet is PROTECTED by the first amendment, while COMMERCE is subject to regulation.

If they wanted to take it away, they would not have so unambigiously announced the freedom.
There is nothing "new" about this law, it's not totalitarian, and it only affects capaign spending. This idea that the government is EEEVUL for passing this law is straight up stupid.

Why do people feel the need to make their own arguments, regardless of reality?

Not quite free speech (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993447)

Notice it specified only endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.

So if its neither, such as a discussion about how bad your car is, or some technical discussion about evolution, then its not protected online.

Oh, and they always have a choice. They can restrict our rights as much as they want in law. Then its up to us to take them to court to prove they have overstepped their bounds and have the law tossed. On our dime.

Re:Not quite free speech (3, Funny)

aztec rain god (827341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993526)

We always have the choice to not storm their headquarters and throw them out of the top floor, too. Forget courts. Tall buildings, much more convincing.

Re:Not quite free speech (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993573)

Oh, and they always have a choice. They can restrict our rights as much as they want in law. Then its up to us to take them to court to prove they have overstepped their bounds and have the law tossed. On our dime.


In the USA at least, the Constitution is the highest law of the land.

Because of this, I never understood why it is that a politician can pass (or help to pass) an unconstitutional law and it can negatively affect the welfare and livelihood and personal freedoms of many people, and yet when this law is finally overturned by a court and found to be unconstitutional, nothing happens to the politician.

If an elected official knowingly (and politicians overwhelmingly tend to be lawyers, so I doubt they can claim ignorance) contradicts the highest law of the land, especially for the purpose of political gain, they should simply be charged with treason and tried in a criminal court, and if found guilty by a court of law, they should be executed or receive life in prison. Let this happen once or twice to establish a precedent and most of the problem will be solved. No one forces a person to run for office; they wanted the power over the lives of millions of Americans, so let them also have the responsibility and personal accountability that goes along with it.

If this became reality, then perhaps if they don't like the Constitution they would go through the process of changing/amending it, rather than simply breaking its laws. You know, like what they tell us to do about laws that we don't like? We must eliminate this idea that government officials are somehow superior to or more soverign than any other citizen - the entire notion of rule of law is threatened by it. They are supposed to be public servants and what's good for the goose truly is good for the gander.

checks and balances (4, Insightful)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993932)

How the hell did this get modded insightful?

The SCOTUS isn't there to punish unconstitutional policy, just block it. Accountability should come only through elections. If we equated getting overruled by the courts with treason, that would destroy the system of checks and balances by elevating the courts to a position similar to the Iranian "Council of Guardians." There's simply no way such a system wouldn't be abused: imagine what a court stuffed with Republican appointees would do to a Democrat president, or vice versa.

Ironic how your post about respecting the Constitution reveals a very basic incomprehension about how the system created by that Constitution actually works.

Re:checks and balances (2, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994115)

Yeah I agree it's not SCOTUS' job to punish politicians for treason, but I can't agree that accountability should only come from elections. That would mean then the worst punishment a politician might get for violating the supreme law of the land is not being reelected, and as (not only) recent history showed, even this isn't doesn't happen most of the time.

Re:Not quite free speech (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994837)

If an elected official knowingly (and politicians overwhelmingly tend to be lawyers, so I doubt they can claim ignorance) contradicts the highest law of the land, especially for the purpose of political gain, they should simply be charged with treason and tried in a criminal court, and if found guilty by a court of law, they should be executed or receive life in prison.

From the Constitution of the United States, Article III, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Re:Not quite free speech (1)

the argonaut (676260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993576)

So if its neither, such as a discussion about how bad your car is, or some technical discussion about evolution, then its not protected online.

No, no, NO. The Federal Elections Commission only regulates, you guessed it, ELECTIONS. They only have regulatory authority when it comes to campaign speech. Get a clue, go back to school. Fool.

Re:Not quite free speech (1)

TyZone (555958) | more than 7 years ago | (#14998115)

Close, but no cigar.

The Federal Elections Commission is granted the authority to regulate elections -- not speech.

Not even speech about elections. Just the processes of the elections themselves.

By trying to regulate speech, they're attempting to extend their authority beyond that granted to them.

Re:Not quite free speech (1)

absoluteflatness (913952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994726)

Maybe, just maybe it only specified political speech because it's about a report from the Federal Election Commission. Or maybe it's a far reaching conspiracy to stop you from complaining about your Ford's fuel efficiency.

Re:How nice of them. (3, Insightful)

stealth.c (724419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993476)

And yet your description of our freedom of speech betrays your unconscious acceptance of a subtler level of totalitarianism.

Constitutionally protected? If that is the case your freedom comes from the gracious allowance of that document. My liberty (of speech and action) comes standard with my humanity. I don't need a 200-year-old paper to grant it to me. The only trouble is that I live under a government and in a society that will do things I do not desire if I say or do certain things; I modify my behavior accordingly.

We would have been better off without a Bill of Rights. Since the first ten amendments are enumerations of things government CAN NOT do, government has plausible (but still wrong) ground to assume there are other powers it can take on because nothing says it can't. The Constitution was better as a document enumerating the things government CAN do, with the assumption being that all other powers are strictly excluded.

In essence, our precious bill of rights has doomed us to totalitarianism. The Constitution may have slowed the process, but that's where we're headed anyway.

Nevertheless, I do agree with you. It's ridiculous for anyone to say they "allowed" anyone to say anything on the Internet. I could just as easily say that I allow the sun to rise.

Re:How nice of them. (2, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993503)

"It astonishes me to find... [that so many] of our countrymen... should be contented to live under a system which leaves to their governors the power of taking from them the trial by jury in civil cases, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce, the habeas corpus laws, and of yoking them with a standing army. This is a degeneracy in the principles of liberty... which I [would not have expected for at least] four centuries." --Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1788.

Jefferson would be ashamed. Even -with- the bill of rights, these freedoms are being chipped away at by government in only half the time he predicted...

Re:How nice of them. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993519)

Since the first ten amendments are enumerations of things government CAN NOT do, government has plausible (but still wrong) ground to assume there are other powers it can take on because nothing says it can't.

That is entirely not how the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are written.

Re:How nice of them. (4, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993538)

We would have been better off without a Bill of Rights. Since the first ten amendments are enumerations of things government CAN NOT do, government has plausible (but still wrong) ground to assume there are other powers it can take on because nothing says it can't. The Constitution was better as a document enumerating the things government CAN do, with the assumption being that all other powers are strictly excluded.

This was actually an argument that some of the Founding Fathers made against the Bill of Rights at the time it was drafted. That argument was the reason that the 9th Amendment was tacked on. It says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

But in spite of the 9th Amendment, the fact that a declared right is not enumerated in the Constitution or its Amendments is frequently used to argue that we do not have that right. For example, the argument against abortion rights almost always begins with "Nowhere in the Constitution does it say..."

Re:How nice of them. (3, Insightful)

sorak (246725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993625)

We would have been better off without a Bill of Rights. Since the first ten amendments are enumerations of things government CAN NOT do, government has plausible (but still wrong) ground to assume there are other powers it can take on because nothing says it can't. The Constitution was better as a document enumerating the things government CAN do, with the assumption being that all other powers are strictly excluded.

This was actually an argument that some of the Founding Fathers made against the Bill of Rights at the time it was drafted. That argument was the reason that the 9th Amendment was tacked on. It says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

But in spite of the 9th Amendment, the fact that a declared right is not enumerated in the Constitution or its Amendments is frequently used to argue that we do not have that right. For example, the argument against abortion rights almost always begins with "Nowhere in the Constitution does it say..."


Yep. And that's why anytime a judge rules on the basis of "privacy" or "fair use" or anything that the founding fathers may have intended, but have not directly spelled out, he is denounced as an activist judge.

Re:How nice of them. (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995460)

The court ruled on abortion as a "right of privacy" issue.

If unenumerated rights are being pulled into play then why didn't they just rule on a "right to kill your baby"?

Seriously, why did they place this issue under the umbrella of privacy? Could it be that this was the only way that an activist court* could find a way to justify its agenda within the framework of the constitution and its precursors? Or was it just a convenient way to ram the issue down the throats of the American people?


*True and you know it

Alright slashbots, do your thing. Mod me down. Come on, 40% Flamebait, 40% Overrated, 20% Troll

Re:How nice of them. (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996242)

Seriously, why did they place this issue under the umbrella of privacy?

Because there was already precedent for treating birth control as a privacy issue. Griswold v. Connecticut dealt with a state's attempt to stop its citizens from using birth control.

Any divisive issue has two sides to it, and abortion is no exception. The privacy perspective is that it is the woman's body, and as long as the pregnancy has not reached a point of "viability" it is her private decision. The other perspective is that at some point it becomes a viable human being and no longer a private matter.

I completely disagree with the term "activist judges". It's a dangerous bit of political agit-prop, designed to erode respect for the judicial system. If we didn't have judges, we wouldn't have a free country.

Citizen Ruth [imdb.com] , great movie.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14995979)

> For example, the argument against abortion rights almost always begins with "Nowhere in the Constitution does it say..."

... the right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness? Of course not. That's in the Declaration of Independence. Duh.

But they're not humans, they're just cells, with not right to live, right? The zygote/foetus may be a homo sapien organism (unlike, say, my fingernails), but clearly not human, just like we're not just large clumps of cells, but intelligent large clumps of cells who have the rights we do because we're concious.

Well, unless we're asleep, but that doesn't count. At least, it had better not--I'd sure hate to find out that I had posthumously signed a Living Will stating that I actually wanted to die, or something.

Re: Correction (1)

robw810 (819414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996438)

Um, that's amendment 10...

Re: Correction (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996443)

Um, no it isn't.

Re: Correction - JUST DAMN (1)

robw810 (819414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996499)

Well, just damn... I was *so* thinking of Amendment X as I was reading, and I suffered a *tremendous* brainfart obviously... my apologies... RW

Re:How nice of them. (1)

the argonaut (676260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993683)

My liberty (of speech and action) comes standard with my humanity. I don't need a 200-year-old paper to grant it to me.

No, but in a civil society you need some sort of legal instrument to guarantee and protect it. The militia-types out there will be thinking right about now, "that's what guns are for!", but they're wrong. Without debating whether the use of guns (i.e., force) is ever appropriate, it's not appropriate for everyday violations of one's rights. If people responded to violations of their rights with violence in every instance, then we'd all be dead by now. Or at least the vast majority of us.

The only trouble is that I live under a government and in a society that will do things I do not desire if I say or do certain things; I modify my behavior accordingly.

I'm sorry, but that's exactly what you're supposed to do in ANY society. Being a member of society is about making compromises. We all give up a little bit of our freedom each and every day for the common welfare of all and simply so that we can live together without beating each other's heads in. This isn't a bad thing: many of our actions are dangerous to others but not to ourselves (or even dangerous to both but given total freedom, we have the right to accept those risks personally), i.e. an expression of our rights has the ability to encroach upon somebody else's rights. To prevent this from occurring arbitrarily, as well as to prevent the strong from routinely violating the rights of the weak, we instead compromise, and each give up a little. Is the system perfect? No, but it more or less works. The problem is when governments seek to restrict our freedoms to a greater extent than we have agreed to.

Since the first ten amendments are enumerations of things government CAN NOT do, government has plausible (but still wrong) ground to assume there are other powers it can take on because nothing says it can't.

And this is exactly what the government has done.

The Constitution was better as a document enumerating the things government CAN do, with the assumption being that all other powers are strictly excluded.

Nice in theory, difficult in practice. Most of the Constitution is about enumerating what the government can do, but you still have things like the necessary and proper clause and the commerce clause that create avast grey area between what government can and cannot do.

P.S. - liberty dollars are a fraud.

Read the tenth amendment - the one gov't ignores (1)

JetScootr (319545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996617)

"The Constitution was better as a document enumerating the things government CAN do, with the assumption being that all other powers are strictly excluded"

The bill of rights does very specifically, strictly exclude the Federal government from exercising other powers. Read the 10th amendment.
Bill Of Rights Transcript [archives.gov]
It says that any power not granted by this constitution to the Federal Gov't is reserved to the states or to the people. This was to prevent the Fed Gov from expanding and squeezing the states and the people into oblivion. Unfortunately, it's the least supported amendment of all.
Only the courts uphold this, and only when a law is constitutionally challenged - that is, someone has to be hurt by a law before this amendment is used to stop gov't abuse.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993583)

I think you misunderstood - this refers to political speech, not free speech. There is a very big difference. Your free speech is never "granted" back to you by anyone.

Re:How nice of them. (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993744)

They also say bloggers can enjoy the freedoms of traditional news organizations when endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.

Also, watch out for huge numbers of splogs put on every blog server by the candidates' campaign organizations.

so what? (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995172)

Also, watch out for huge numbers of splogs put on every blog server by the candidates' campaign organizations. which will all be listed under "online communications expenses" on their campaign filing forms.

This was the result of a court challenge (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995136)

The FEC was directed by the courts to issue regulations, this actually is not so bad. Had Congress passed HR 1606 Internet political activity would have been exempt. If HR 4900 passes it will be much worse.

Re:How nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14995268)

Constitutional rights? Let's not beat around the bush on the most important issue ever to concern the human race. True human rights are derived from human nature, and are referred to as natural rights [wikipedia.org] (god-given rights if you prefer, but there is no such thing as rights which are "granted" by anyone, let alone government). Natural rights preceded government, not the other way around. In particular, natural rights are a product of voluntary association. Human beings have evolved to recognize voluntary association as correct and moral, and coercion as incorrect and immoral. (Obviously this evolution is still in progress.)

Rights cannot be created by government, only taken away, because everything government does is derived from coercion. Rights are the natural state: each human being is born with natural human rights and from that point on can only lose them to organized coercion (government).

Their First Banner Ad (2, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993252)

This election sponsored by Diebold

Re: Their First Banner Ad (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993275)

> This election sponsored by Diebold

s/sponsored/decided/

Re: Their First Banner Ad (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993430)

You forgot to add "g;" at the end.

Re: Their First Banner Ad (2, Informative)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993698)


Isn't the 'g' necessary only to replace multiple occurences?


$ echo "This election sponsored by Diebold" | sed -e "s/sponsored/decided/"
This election decided by Diebold

Re: Their First Banner Ad (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995221)

Isn't the 'g' necessary only to replace multiple occurences?

Yes. Every election and race where Diebold is involved, not just any once instance. IE: "each time you see it". That was the idea, anyway.

Re: Their First Banner Ad (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993853)

> > This election sponsored by Diebold

> s/sponsored/decided/

This election sponsored by the winning party. Or the other way around.

Re:Their First Banner Ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993382)

I would have said less flamebait and more funny :-)

Re:Their First Banner Ad (3, Insightful)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993399)

I would have said less flamebait and more funny :-)

I thought it was funny and the little bit of an edge added to the sarcasm. Some of the folks who get their mod points take themselves waaayyy too seriously. What's the point in modding someone down? They'll just get lost in the noise if nobody mods them up. And in the meantime, there's one less mod point for folks who say something really interesting or insightful who do get lost in the noise because some mod had to use their points to mod someone down that they disagreed with. I very rarely see someone modderated as "Flamebait" or "Troll" who really deserve it. And most of the time, folks who start their posts with "You're stupid..", "You're an idiot.." or something that I considered to be rude and "Flamebait" get modded insightful.

Maintaining the status quo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993256)

A scheme to shutdown the only avenue for 3rd party candidtates to get the word out. Well F*ck them! ... I'll move my free speech to a server hosted in China if I have to.

A good thing (1)

scwizard (941758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993278)

It looks like these rules will be a good thing, they should stop politicians from paying "independent" bloggers to mouthpiece for them.
I didn't quite read into them enough to know though.

6th (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993281)

post

Light touch? (2, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993284)

In what way does regulating the internet in the same way as print media qualify as a light touch? Just seems like fairness to me.

Re:Light touch? (1)

therblig (543426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993376)

My impression is that it is a "light touch" as opposed to what many had feared, which was that blogging content would be regulated more strictly than print media.

Re:Light touch? (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993446)

In what way does regulating the internet in the same way as print media qualify as a light touch? Just seems like fairness to me.

To me, the biggest fear is that they HAD to clarify this. Publishing on the internet should be regarded exactly the same as publishing flyers, TV ads, books, etc. WITHOUT clarification. The job of determining this has traditionally been left to the courts anyway.

Anytime the government decides to regulate speach, you are entering very dangerous waters. This included McCain-Feingold or any other law that puts any limitation on political speech.

Some of us believe that campaign contributions should be 100% without limits, but 100% reported and accounted for so the public can see exactly who is buying and selling our politicians.

Re:Light touch? (0, Troll)

the argonaut (676260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993605)

Some of us believe that campaign contributions should be 100% without limits

Those people are either idiots or megalomaniacs trying to buy what they could in no honest way control otherwise. Which are you?

Re:Light touch? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993727)

I have no problem restricting the donation of money to a campaign, the problem comes when the government tried to define free speech as a donation because you spent money getting your message out


giving 5 million to $candidate so he can spend it on campaigning = bad and should be regulated

spending 5 million selling people you think they should vote for $candidate = first amendment

Re:Light touch? (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993909)

giving 5 million to $candidate so he can spend it on campaigning = bad and should be regulated

spending 5 million selling people you think they should vote for $candidate = first amendment


So, what you're saying is: first amendment=bad and should be regulated. Don't sweat it. Lots of people believe that [winonadailynews.com] .

Re:Light touch? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993935)

the transfer of money is not speech it it commerce.

Re:Light touch? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994109)

Both your scenarios involve the transfer of money. Whether I give the money to a candidate or if I spend it myself campaigning for him doesn't matter. They are the same thing. Both would be for the his benefit. Besides, you shouldn't regulate the transfer of money either. How and when I move my money is my business. However, you are welcone to tax it at a set percentage equal to all other transactions. Now, if I'm running for office, you would be very correct in demanding to know where the money comes from. Not with some arbitrary law, but with your vote...or lack thereof. Simply stated, I will give up the required information if I want your support. But don't blame me if your neighbors are a little more loose with theirs. It's up to you to convince your neighbors to do otherwise.

Re:Light touch? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995288)

the transfer of money is not speech it it commerce.

I don't mean to argue, but I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court sees donating to a campaign as Speech. It is a way of enabling someone else to speak for you in the government. They may allow regulating it but it is still speech.

Yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre is illegal because it is a regulation to limit "free speech" in one of the few situations where the greater good of the community outweights the individuals right to speak. Yelling FIRE is generally not considered a form of political speech, so it is protected to a lesser degree.

The key is POLITICAL SPEECH. Be it about a politician in general, religion, human rights, world affairs, war or anything affecting policies or way of life. Again, the higher standard of protection is established in precident.

Re:Light touch? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995835)

Well, I'm no believer in precident. Slavery was once established in precident. Tradition doesn't make it right. Now, if political speech was spelled out specifically in the constitution or an amendment, I could understand idea of different kinds of speech. Not that I would agree. However, the first amendment specifically states "...no law...". If that goes against the grain, then the constitution needs another amendment, instead of loosly interpreting the ones we have just to avoid offending people. I will always maintain that it's the response that counts. There has to be a physical reaction for speech to mean anything. Otherwise it's just that...speech. If we start to limit speech, then it only follows that we are attempting to limit thought. Which is what I believe is happening.

Re:Light touch? (1)

the argonaut (676260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996837)

I don't mean to argue, but I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court sees donating to a campaign as Speech. It is a way of enabling someone else to speak for you in the government. They may allow regulating it but it is still speech.

And the Supreme Court doesn't always get it right. See Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott v. Sanford, Korematsu v. United States, and too many other cases to list.

Yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre is illegal because it is a regulation to limit "free speech" in one of the few situations where the greater good of the community outweights the individuals right to speak.

Not to be too pedantic, but this is false. The principle you are referring to is correctly stated as "Yelling fire improperly in a theater is illegal". It's perfectly legal to yell fire in a theater, crowded or otherwise, if there is indeed a fire.

The key is POLITICAL SPEECH. Be it about a politician in general, religion, human rights, world affairs, war or anything affecting policies or way of life. Again, the higher standard of protection is established in precident. [sic]

Yes, the SC has held that political speech to be closer to the "core" of the first amendment, and therefore regulation of political speech is held to a higher standard. But this higher standard does not preclude any regulation whatsoever.

Re:Light touch? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995272)

The key, in my opinion, is that you and I know that "ABC123, Inc." gave Sen. Joe Blow $5 million dollars and the transaction is totally in the open. Anything less is a limitation on free speech.

I know not everyone thinks this way, but if ABC123, Inc. wants to get $5 million to Joe, they will, one way or another. If it is legal, at least everyone will KNOW it, and can decide to vote for Joe, who is already bought and paid for. Right now, Joe is already getting the $5 million, but its by ABC123, Inc. hiring his wife for one million for consulting, hiring his son for an internship, etc.

And yes, there is a part of me that says, if you want to spend $5 million of YOUR legally earned money to support a candidate, you should have the right. It's your money. And to those who say "what if it isn't legally earned", that is a different law and doesn't apply here. (Same people who correct my speling.)

I have no right to tell you how to spend your money. If you do in a way that influences our form of government, I have the right to KNOW this, but I don't have the right to abridge your freedom of speech (ie: paying for commercials, etc.). Donating money to a candidatial campaign IS speech.

At least the last time I read the Constitution, that is what it seemed to say, lawyers be damned.

Re:Light touch? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993873)

Some of us believe that campaign contributions should be 100% without limits, but 100% reported and accounted for so the public can see exactly who is buying and selling our politicians.

Exactly. Anything less is an admission that we don't have a free will...that we're not capable of deciding for ourselves. It's the voter that is most influenced by money. They always vote for the guy who flashes the most of it. That's nobody's fault but our own. This thought also applies to speech. We must understand that in all cases, it's the perpetrator that is responsible for their actions, and nobody else's, not the one who "incites" him, nobody. We must not tolerate any limitations on speech. Words are harmless. Just like a gun is harmless, until someone pulls the trigger. But you should never blame the gun. It's the action that matters. There is no valid claim that speech provokes action. Only the "actor" should be held responsible. All this talk about "incitement", "libel", "slander", is a lot of bull. Somebody has to act on that speech to make it mean anything. And it's that person you should look to when handing out punishment.

Re:Light touch? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995305)

Some people feel compelled to "protect us, from us" by limiting speech. It "isn't fair if Sen. Bob has more money than Sen. John" so they try to limit the capability to raise money. Maybe Sen. John is an asshole, so no one donates to him. Maybe Sen. Bob is a crook, so businesses funnel millions to him. With FULL reporting of donations, at least I have the information to decide for myself.

And no, I don't need a government official "protecting" me by limiting the money raised. I'm smart enough to decide for myself if given accurate information.

When did AMD start writing slashdot stories? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993287)

wtf is this? [slashdot.org] . When did slashdot sell out so that commercial companie's can write storys?

Re:When did AMD start writing slashdot stories? (0, Offtopic)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993294)

This is not selling out, this is a quality opportunity to allow slashdot readers to interface with the business shakers and movers, the people who define what we'll be using in our desktops this year, next year. Why not share your experiences [slashdot.org] with AMD products now, and join the IT professionals who're defining an industry.

Re:When did AMD start writing slashdot stories? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993473)

Is it me, or should the parent have a disclaimer "This advertisement paid by..." for a signature? And what does "sharing your experiences" about AMD have to do with the US Government regulating free speech on the internet, which is the topic of this story?

Makes me want to go buy an Intel product.

Re:When did AMD start writing slashdot stories? (1)

dentar (6540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993322)

um, A LONG TIME AGO??

Fresh from diggall huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993374)

Moron.

Just because it's on digg and slams /. doesn't make it true or new. Calm down.

The only sane alternative (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993361)

What the major parties wanted was for blogs to be exempt from the normal regulations on financing. With the same regulations in place as for the traditional media, we can avoid the situation where paid bloggers swamp the net with propaganda with no oversight or control.

"Freedom of speech on the Internet" indeed. The point was freedom of money to buy political speech while keeping the money trail secret.

Re:The only sane alternative (2, Insightful)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993416)

The point was freedom of money to buy political speech while keeping the money trail secret.

Wow .. what a DAMN SHAME to have unregulated speech!

Hey, if you don't want to listen to someone who may have been payed by "Big Politics", then perchance why don't you do something about it, like ask the journalists to affirm or deny they are being paid by politicians for their stories? You can challenge them to go on record. You could even get them to do this contractually, if you wanted to. (Via subscription, since you're paying them money, you could then file a class action against them for violating their agreed upon terms of contract ..)

It's called "taking responsibility". But you'd rather try to take the easy way out (by creating or supporting the creation of) laws which will "do the job" - which they never do. Why? Because it never CAN do it. One may as well write a law suspending gravity. Or try to keep water from flowing back to the oceans. Money will enter politics because money and politics share so much in common - power. Do you think that *maybe* instead of making the government BIGGER (giving it more power), the solution is to make it smaller - so it has less power? And less draw for the power mad troglodytes who infest Congress (and the other two branches)? But as long as it is beneficial to spend millions for a Congressional seat, those millions WILL be spent.

Oligopoly (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993502)

why don't you ... ask the journalists to affirm or deny they are being paid by politicians for their stories? You can challenge them to go on record. You could even get them to do this contractually, if you wanted to. (Via subscription, since you're paying them money ... )

A contract needs both an offer and acceptance. No major print publication would accept such a contract at prices that the median residential customer can afford.

Re:The only sane alternative (2, Insightful)

NelsChristian (66295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993475)

With the same regulations in place as for the traditional media, we can avoid the situation where paid bloggers swamp the net with propaganda with no oversight or control.


In contrast to the current situation where newspapers can spend whatever they want on slanted news and opinions, the bloggers are limited to $5000. Sorry, this is not an even playing field.


Since reading bloggers is a totally user driven experience, compared to adds on TV or even print, there is no reason for any limits.

The USA has a tradition of anonymous political speech, starting with the founders. Both print and broadcast media have bandwidth limits; with enough money you can saturate the channel. That's not true of blogging.

Re:The only sane alternative (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995590)

Since reading bloggers is a totally user driven experience, compared to adds on TV or even print, there is no reason for any limits.

This is what the FEC decided. The new regs treat a blog like the blogger's own personal soapbox. He can say whatever he wants, and it is not regulated. He counts as media. But paid advertisements, or a paid-for blog entry, is regulated.

"anonymous political speech" (1)

JetScootr (319545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996573)

The founder's tradition of anonymous speech had *nothing* to do with "bandwidth", it had to do with knowing the truth about the government. Most importantly, it is important that citizens know when they're hearing honest opinion, and when they're hearing political campaigning.
Political parties would *love* that the citizens NOT KNOW when they're being fed propaganda, so that the citizens are more likely to swallow it.
The FEC's decision does NOT apply to people honestly expressing their opinions, but to people producing political mulch for citizens to read - that is, just like in other media, if it's a paid expression by a political party or candidate, then the citizen has the right to know the whole truth about it, including that it's not an "honest" opinion of one human, but that it is product of a political campaign.
A newspaper that is NOT a paid printing from a political party or campaign is viewed as being the opinion of the person or persons running the paper. As such, you should take it with a grain of salt, like always.
Blogs were invented for individuals to use, as opposed to big commercial forums produced and/or censored by companies. As a result, people often expect that when someone who appears to be a human is talking to them in blog postings (like this one), that the human is expressing personal views, not paid-for campaign compost.
That's what this is about - being careful that expectations (however naive) are not used to fool the voters.

Re:"anonymous political speech" (1)

NelsChristian (66295) | more than 7 years ago | (#14999431)

The comment on anonymous has nothing to do with bandwidth, nor did I imply such. It stands alone. The founders were used to anonymous political speech (maybe psuedonymous is a better term) and said nothing to prohibit it, so it should be covered under the 1st Amendment.


The comment on bandwidth was a counter to the current idea that money not only buys speech, but can out shout the competition. With user driven access, that doesn't happen with blogging.


As far as bloggers being bought, who cares. Reputations matter, and they aren't easy to come by in the blogosphere. My bet would that it is now (and will be more so in the future), much better than the print world or the TV networks, where the writers are paid and the columnists chosen to present a certain point of view.

Way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993389)

So nice of them to allow them these freedoms this one time, yet in all other aspects they don't, way to go guys. We'll be huddling in our homes fearing the new SS here soon.

Re:Way to go (2, Interesting)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994665)

We'll be huddling in our homes fearing the new SS here soon.

Maybe you will. I shoot back.

How generous of them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993390)

They also say bloggers can enjoy the freedoms of traditional news organizations when endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.


Awwww shucks, thanks!

Now get back to deriving your "just powers from the consent of the governed," asshats.

"Light" touch?? (2, Insightful)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993392)

96 pages of regulations is "light"? Only by government standards, geesh!

How about a lighter touch: the US Constitution is about 6 pages.

Or, gosh golly & gee wiz, how about an even lighter touch than that? The first amendment is 45 words ..

Or how about: HANDS OFF THE INTERNET YOU ASSHATS!

Yeah, I think that sounds better :)

Stepping stones (1)

nhandler (938354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993406)

Their rhetoric implies that at some point in the future, these things will be regulated in the name of 'political speech.' Do you all realize how broad that phrase really is? It has no basis in reality, rather it is a variable waiting to be 'interpreted.' Bans on advertisements against political candidates (in x case at y time) is the logical precursor to bans on talking about political candidates (in x case at y time). How long do you suppose this will last? Until the next crisis? The next war? The next controversy? These regulations are not brick walls meant to prevent future incursions into our liberties, they are stepping stones.

*Moves server to europe* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14993415)

At this point, I'm going to sit here in a country that is *not* in north america and laugh my head off.
Freedom, it appears, is the freedom to do as you are told in the manner you are told to do it.

Re:*Moves server to europe* (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993895)

With the terror laws here, you should move your server to China instead.

Re:*Moves server to europe* (1)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994137)

Just because things are worse somewhere else, doesn't mean they aren't bad here.

Public Forum (1)

Black_Macrame (23938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993439)

The Internet is a public forum where people gather freely.

The Internet (American Netizens, in this case) should, therefore, be regulating the Federal Election Commission, not the other way around.

If we permit them to frame this as "allowing" us inherent rights, we are giving freedoms up, both locally (America), and globally, as in the whole Net, unnecessarily.

Re:Public Forum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994010)

The Internet could also be a vast set of forums of politically paid shills to drown out the "people gathered freely". If you want to blog your politics, that's fine. If you're being paid by the DNC to blog views that they approve, then as part of compliance with campaign finance reform, that fact should be included on your blog and reported by them as a financed campaign expense. The point of the FEC on this is to make sure this is accounted for, in order for us netizens to have full disclosure (again, a long standing tradition on the net) about alternate reasons for those posted views.

I'd want to know if a blog is really the voice of the person, or if they were simply a sock-puppet.

Full disclosure (2, Insightful)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993565)

Require full disclosure of who's-financing-what (for $ amounts above a certain cutoff), but otherwise political speech should be largely unregulated as the First Amendment states. Even that restriction probably shouldn't get past the First Amendment but it'd be an improvement over the current jobs program for lawyers.

The cure for free speech is more speech.

Re:Full disclosure (1)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993633)

Require full disclosure

The very ANTITHESIS of freedom of speech, as this would doom anonymity.

We can have free speech, or we can have unfree speech. I prefer the former, as the later means my ideas may be arbitrarily silenced.

Which do you prefer?

Re:Full disclosure (a thought experiment) (2, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993904)

>The very ANTITHESIS of freedom of speech, as this would doom anonymity.

An important point.

If the speech involves spending money and a single "speaker" can affect the outcome of the entire election, don't we need transparency? If government contractor Remora, Inc. pays $100 to each of 100,000 bloggers in the district of Senator Porkbringer who sits on the Appropriations Committee, isn't it best to have that fact on opensecrets.org? So we'll know what's going on when Senator Porkbringer tells us that national security requires giving a no-bid contract to Remora?

Re:Full disclosure (a thought experiment) (2, Interesting)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993939)

That is a very important point. We want to know when companies are influencing the election of politicians who are going to give them a sweet deal. Its imperitive to ensure that our nation doesn't turn into a corporate controlled state. Oops. Too late.

However, if I, as an independent citizen, wish to publish a political blog under the name Publius, I should have that right as well. I shouldn't have to file forms or disclose my funding if I wish to exercise my right to free speech. Nor should the government be able to tell me that I can't talk about the subject of politics simply because it is an election season.

Bender, being God isn't easy... (1)

Andy Gardner (850877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993737)

For shame Federal Election Commission.

You have to use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket...

Eheheeh (1)

nnn0 (794348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993810)

land of the free :DDD

"can enjoy the freedoms" (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993822)

The FEC is the number one reason we continue our slide towards tyranny. They regulate speech where the 1st Amendment prevents them from trampling on that basic right. They regulate money -- and money is a store of your labor to be used as you please (a form of expression). They regulate who can run as a candidate as they completely destroyed the ability for an independent to raise the needed funds due to the incumbent protection clauses. They also have taken huge steps to destroying the voice of people who are not just against one party or another but against the entire system.

These laws and these regulations are so counter-freedom that it amazes me that people don't READ THE LAWS and see how attrocious they are. McCain-Feingold should be renamed "The Incumbent Protection Act" -- read it carefully and you'll see that it was written to kill the Greens and the Libertarians and any other 3rd party by reducing their ability to gain financing from a few campaign donors.

The problem with elections is not money, not corporations, not anything that the politicians say it is. The problem with elections is that the seat one is trying to win has too much power. If you want to fix elections, fix the political seat -- reduce the power of government to where it should be under the Constitution. When the power is reduced, no amount of money will create protectionism, favoritism and cronyism.

I don't want to be able to enjoy the freedoms because government says I "can." I want to use my freedoms to never worry that government might tell me how narrow those freedoms are becoming.

Not the best analysis I've ever encountered. (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994120)

They regulate money -- and money is a store of your labor to be used as you please (a form of expression).

Not necessarily your labor; EG, an inherited fortune. It's also philisophically debateable as to what extent a return on investment represents a store of your labor per se. It's also more accurate to say that money is an accumulation of the benefit, not the labor itself... a subtle point the early communist theorists failed to understand, to their peril and the world's detriment. (Even "benefit" is an oversimplification....)

That the use of your "money" constitutes a form of expression isn't in question, but your right to do so is NOT unlimited in an election... or would you care to argue that direct buying of votes should be a protected form of expression??? I don't disagree that the FEC is at least symptomatic of a larger problem, but I don't think they are the root cause.

The problem with elections is that the seat one is trying to win has too much power. If you want to fix elections, fix the political seat -- reduce the power of government to where it should be under the Constitution. When the power is reduced, no amount of money will create protectionism, favoritism and cronyism.

I believe your thinking may be a little fuzzy. "Reduced" is not the right word; far too often reducing the power of something means that power is only moved to another entity, which is then the new focus for the struggle. What you need is for the power to be dissipated, so that it requires the united action of more individuals for it to be brought into play again.

I believe your solution also is an oversimplification that ignores the history which created the problem in the first place. Much of the government's increase in power during the 20th century was to challege the power accumulated by corporations towards the end of the 19th. The alternative was civil war and a likely ascendancy of communism... which we fortunately avoided, thanks in part to FDR. Simply dissippating governmental powers without addressing the problems which caused that initial accumulation means that you will either face the original problem again, or the power will immediately reaccumulate... possibly both.

If you want to do this right, you need to find an alternate solution to the problems of the inequities of corporate power before you weaken the government. I don't think your concerns are misdirected, but I think your analysis is flawed.

Re:Not the best analysis I've ever encountered. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#14999735)

That the use of your "money" constitutes a form of expression isn't in question
The use of my money involves a crap diebold machine that blanks the screen when I ask for an account balance, so I take my card and hope the next crap diebold machine in the row works. I need to trust my money and your elections to a company with some very dodgy employees that have done serious jail time.
you need to find an alternate solution to the problems of the inequities of corporate power before you weaken the government
Make bribery of elected officials illegal like it is in most other republics and democracies. The little games to make the bribes look legitimate still resemble the "honest graft" of the 1850's. You've had a President that has taken a bribe from the President of Indonesia to overlook an invasion (Nixon via Kissenger) - how is that for an extreme case of cash setting policy? While the invasion may be extremely convoluted logic and excuses be in the national interest, taking the bribe certainly wasn't.

Re:"can enjoy the freedoms" (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994935)

They regulate speech. . . They regulate money . . . and money is . . . a form of expression.

This is another piece of right wing bullshit. A lie often repeated, but a lie nonetheless. It shows up nearly as often as another lie: "A corporation's only responsibility is to make money for its shareholders."

Despite the propoganda you may have heard, money is not speech and the freedom to do whatever you want with your money is not unrestricted, nor should it be. If you think it is, see what attempting to by crack cocaine from an undercover officer gets you.

It's your right to call up your congressman and ask him to do you a favor. It is not your right to pay him to do you a favor. It is also not your right to pay for his campaign advertising in exchage for a favor.

It is your right to say whatever you want. It is not necessarily a right to get paid for saying it, nor is it necessarily a right to have an anonymous party pay for distributions of your message.

Re:"can enjoy the freedoms" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14995336)

"This is another piece of right wing bullshit. A lie often repeated, but a lie nonetheless."
So, peeing on the flag = speech.

BUT

Buying poster board, tv spots and taking an ads out in the newspapers = not speech.

Yeah, I can understand that.... sure....

Besides, if you read the parent, he's not rightwing or leftwing; he's saying that there is a problem that "right" and "left" are your only choices and that one reason for that is that independant parties with few contributors have these caps.

"It shows up nearly as often as another lie: 'A corporation's only responsibility is to make money for its shareholders.'"

A corporation exsits only to make money for it's shareholders; however, I agree that it isn't it's sole responsibility.

"Despite the propoganda you may have heard, money is not speech"
See above, and consider:

Explain how it isn't "saying something" when a company is boycotted.
Seems it says alot, if the boycott is fruitful.

Explain how it isn't "saying something" when you give large sums of money to an orginization that carries out terrorism. I read that as meaning, "I agree with the motives and methods of said group." Don't you?

"and the freedom to do whatever you want with your money is not unrestricted, nor should it be. If you think it is, see what attempting to by crack cocaine from an undercover officer gets you."

Your example doesn't prove your whole point; unless you want us to take for granted that crack cocaine should be illegal; and, I think there is a strong case it should be legal (dispite the fact that I've never drank, smoked or used any currently illegal drugs).

However, I agree. There are things that you shouldn't be able to do with your money... Slavory is a good example.

"It's your right to call up your congressman and ask him to do you a favor. It is not your right to pay him to do you a favor. It is also not your right to pay for his campaign advertising in exchage for a favor."

Buying favors, and donating money are seperate issues. If I were running, and I got a giant contribution; it would not incline me to vote against what I believe the best for my area is, juect because the giver asked me to.

"It is your right to say whatever you want."

Yes. Certian restirctions exsist with good reason, but essentially correct. (libel, slander, "fire" in a theater)

"It is not necessarily a right to get paid for saying it,"
Correct.

"nor is it necessarily a right to have an anonymous party pay for distributions of your message."

Bull. Anonymous speech is protected. If I paid for and printed a message myself anonymously (and didn't violate the restrictions on speech -- of which campiagn finance should be among them), the law protects me.

If someone else, agrees with my message, and republishes (and had permission from me (copyright holder of the original work)), and prints it anonymously as well, it is protected by the law. How is this any different if the second person payed me in order to save the settup fees and saving the labor of having to re-run the printing?

Re:"can enjoy the freedoms" (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14995909)

"If someone else, agrees with my message, and republishes (and had permission from me (copyright holder of the original work)), and prints it anonymously as well, it is protected by the law. How is this any different if the second person payed me in order to save the settup fees and saving the labor of having to re-run the printing?"

But what if they don't give a flying fuck about the message and are simply interested in making a buck. I think the difference you can't see is twofold, money and disclosure. Rupert Murdoch will tell you himself that his publications and broadcasts are biased toward the right wing and makes no appologies for it because they are his own views. However if a cartel of mass media big-wigs were secretly selling glowing editorials and slanted news to the highest bidder it becomes nothing more than a protection racket where everone looses except the Rupert's.

I am not picking on Rupert, all journalists, editors and owners are human and they all have their own bias. Some of them recognise this, others don't, the public is usually in the dark as to what bias is being pushed for what reasons. I for one would like to know if the authour is being paid to make a political/commercial statement, it would certainly make the motives that drive the "news" easier to work out if joe citizen could follow the money.

Mass media can be used to manipulate the stockmarket, "the market" has decided that manipulation thru non-disclosure is undesirable because it produces a skewed market that benifits the publisher. I think a skewed political outcome is far more undesirable. In other words, say whatever you like but I still want to know if someone has their hand up your arse and is making your mouth move.

Re:"can enjoy the freedoms" (1)

thedletterman (926787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996716)

You can start by repealing the 17th amendment. If Senators are appointed be the congress instead of elected, then maybe they wouldn't spend 4 years campaigning for president instead of going to work, and would be more unbiased to actually reform financing laws. After all, they serve six year terms, and the house serves four.. it was designed that way for a reason. Piss off a congressman by doing the right thing, against his demands, and the public is on your side.. no reprecussions. he's not going to be around when your ready to be appointed to your next term.

Yeay (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14993842)

Freedom of speech only "lightly" abridged (for now). Yeay.

Competitive Advertising Rates (1)

alpha713 (701963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14996543)

Offering competitive advertising rates to any political group smart enough to work out that I'm outside the regulatory powers of the FEC. Don't let your hard earned campaign war chest be controlled by a delusional government department. Call or Email for a free quote.
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