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FEC Will Not Regulate Political Blogging

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the still-free-to-speak-your-mind-for-now dept.

United States 171

eldavojohn writes "Despite complaints that political bloggers should be subject to campaign finance laws since they are donating huge amounts of money in the form of advertising and media services to candidates, the FEC will not regulate political blogging. From the FEC statement: 'While the complaint asserts that DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate.'"

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171 comments

What qualifies for a media exemption? (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486095)

Number of readers? Advertising income?

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486157)

The number of balloons that can be lifted by all the hot air.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (3, Informative)

Chuckstar (799005) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486335)

IANAL, but the answer to this question is based in 208 years of First Amendment law. Probably too voluminous to go into on this forum. However, "press" as defined under federal law is extremely broadly defined.

The key issues that the FEC looks at are as follows:

Is the organization in question owned or controlled by any "political party, political committee, or candidate" (these are defined under the regs). If it is owned by any of these, then it is considered an arm of that group and not "press".

If it is not owned by any of these, then the next question is whether the "major purpose [of the organization] is involvement in campaign activity". If the answer is yes, then it is considered a political committee (see above).

Note that campaign activity is specifically meant to be narrowly defined as involved in a federal election campaign. It does not encompass political activity broadly.

So as long as an organization publishing to the web cannot be considered owned or controlled by any political part, political committee, or candidate and its major purpose is not to be involved in campaign activity, then its protected from these regulations.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486689)

...Probably too voluminous to go into on this forum...

You must be new here.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487407)

"press" as defined under federal law is extremely broadly defined.

Given how influential Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlets were in spreading the movement towards the Revolution, I would think that one sided, heavy handed, idealogical rantings would be Constitutionally protected. DailyKos is the modern day equivalent of the political pamphlet, and should be protected as such. If there is going to be any kind of strong Democratic leadership/ideology to emerge places like the DailyKos are going to be important in sorting out a unified Democratic vision. Right now the only thing they have going for them is that they aren't the Republicans. That lack of cohesiveness and vision is how Kerry lost in 2004.
http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestone s/commonsense/ [earlyamerica.com]

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486339)

Maybe you should have done a fucking search of the contents of the page before shooting your mouth off? Let's see, ctrl-F, type kdawson, yup - highlighted right there at the top. But no, you couldn't be bothered to do that. You had to jump in and start questioning people because your tiny little brain didn't pick up the fucking reference. Have some sympathy for others and don't fucking post here ever again you stupid cumdumpster. I hope your mother gets diarrhea tonight.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (0, Troll)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486371)

I hope your mother gets diarrhea tonight.
Seriously? Is that the best you could come up with? That has to be the weakest "your mother" joke I've ever heard. If you're going to post flamebait at least try and put a little pride in your work.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486441)

Maybe you should have done a fucking search of the contents of your brain before shooting your mouth off? Let's see... wait... oh, that's the problem, there's nothing there except a lot of angst related to having a small penis. Have some sympathy for others and don't fucking post here ever again you stupid cumdumpster. I know your mother will get diarrhea tonight because I porked her in the ass with my giant tool and now she can't hold it in anymore.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486685)

YHBT, YHL, HAND.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486779)

ASDOJds[asodifnhsfbdof oASHNDAOJFhnafbsdonvj fUHfhufsdfuosdjfbf fbdvs bIUBDSAIDAIdbiasn fvsdvcdubv fzfh;vb dszawefszdub gvfdndfvsd; fv habdisbiunhfasdfb

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487485)

Maybe you should have done a fucking search of the contents of the page before shooting your mouth off? Let's see, ctrl-F, type kdawson, yup - highlighted right there at the top. But no, you couldn't be bothered to do that. You had to jump in and start questioning people because your tiny little brain didn't pick up the fucking reference. Have some sympathy for others and don't fucking post here ever again you stupid cumdumpster. I hope your mother gets diarrhea tonight.

Jesus Christ dude go back on the cigerettes. You go off on someone like that in person and your lifespan will be shorter then if you smoke. Unless you only behave like got up on the wrong side of the universe on the net that is.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (4, Interesting)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486477)

Hopefully just citizenship. While it's run by an individual it's constitutionally protected speech.

At some point in the muddied waters or tea leaves the government decides you're a business (say because you let an ad banner firm place ads on your site in order to defray the hosting cost, or say when you pass some number of daily readers, or say whatever, but definitely by the time you incorporate or get a business license.) This is an area the Internet has made difficult for the government and is another, broader issue entirely.

When that happens your company is categorized for a number of purposes, including taxes and business insurance. If you are a text/media content provider, then you are most likely some sort of publisher, which I think means for the FEC's purposes you are a media outlet, and thus in the same category as any other media outlet.

Besides which, the big boys selectively report and even endorse candidates. And given the economic pressure the newspapers are under, it won't be long before some of them have shrunk to the point that some former-individual-blog-turned-opinion-site (Drudge, anyone?) is bigger than them. Will there then be calls to strip that newspaper of their media credentials or FEC exemption?

Besides, many newspapers are divesting their printing press and contracting with a larger regional paper for printing. At what point is a paper no longer a paper?

Likewise, there are some individuals who have their own papers published (call them crackpots if you want, but remember that's how many of our more venerable papers started.)

How will you distinguish between "legitimate" media and the rest? Is it a worthy expenditure of government resources? Does it violate the rights of those determined not to be "press"?

The best solution is for the government to leave it alone and let the economy sort it out, which surprisingly enough is what the FEC chose to do. That's what we have a "free" market for, right? Oh, yeah it isn't free: it's mercantilism.

And until it isn't mercantilism we'll have people and companies calling for discrimination in order to protect larger businesses.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487651)

Go look up what the word "mercantilism" means before you embarrass yourself again.

Cuntbrain.

Re:What qualifies for a media exemption? (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487699)

it means that it is about as different from a free market as an oligarchy is from a democratic republic, or is supposed to be, coward.

I'll refrain from the ad hominem, obscene insult. You've insulted yourself quite enough with the one you directed at me, thank you.

Doesn't matter anyway (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486097)

Just look what they accomplished in '04. Nothing. Only people with already closed minds read kos.

Re:Doesn't matter anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486655)

This got modded something other than funny? Really? It's sort of glaring in the fact that it mentions 2004 and not 2006...cause, uh, you might want to take a look at the amount of money they raised through various channels, and what happened to the candidates they supported. The answers, respectively, are "several hundred thousand dollars", and "they won".

Re:Correction that Websense should have given (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486839)

Just look what they accomplished in '06. Nothing. People with already closed [littlegreenfootballs.com] minds [michellemalkin.com]
attack Kos.
Fixed for you.

Who says government doesn't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486111)

Who knew DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats?

We should get these FEC guys to settle the global warming debate.

How long until they change their minds? (5, Interesting)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486165)

Seriously. I think this is great as it gives at least some hope to the prospect of getting third parties on a ballot and giving them some sort of visibility to compete with the standard two parties. What I wonder is, what if a large, successful site (similar to Slashdot, but with an obvious political angle) starts to give enough attention to a third party candidate that seriously threatens the chances of the other 2 parties winning? I'm betting suddenly there would be changes in regulations. I hope not, but I bet there would be.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486235)

Not Ross Perot again

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486413)

Not Ross Perot again
Ssshhh! Hear it? Its that huge sucking sound again!

Re:How long until they change their minds? (5, Informative)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486265)

The failure of third-party candidates isn't as much about lack of exposure as it is about simple mathematics. The way we count votes actively discourages more than two contenders being in any election.

In order to have any chance, third-parties need to get "first past the post" removed as the voting algorthm, and replaced with something like a Condorcet or even (bleh) IRV system.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486401)

The failure of third-party candidates isn't as much about lack of exposure as it is about simple mathematics. The way we count votes actively discourages more than two contenders being in any election. In order to have any chance, third-parties need to get "first past the post" removed as the voting algorthm, and replaced with something like a Condorcet or even (bleh) IRV system.

Amen, condorcet or something like it, ftw. And completely do away with primaries while we're at it.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486559)

or at least make the primaries like in NH where anyone can vote for anyone regardless of party.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486429)

Go with Proportional Representation, that will give you third-party representation. Then again, you could end up with some lunatic fringe parties.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487009)

Then again, you could end up with some lunatic fringe parties.
Not much different than what we have now, but at least "the base" is just "the base".

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487031)

Nah.
You vote for who you least want in office. Like golf, the lowest score wins.
Make the bar to get on the ballet high enough to discourage lunatics (say 100K for a non-incumbent, 20K for past office holders of same level (state/federal/etc.), 10K for incumbents).
-nB

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487367)

I'm personally in favor of an Approval or Range voting approach - but you are absolutely right it is the voting system that is locking us into two parties. But how do you get representatives to change the system that got them their job? Ug.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487675)

But how do you get representatives to change the system that got them their job? Ug.

It could be done, relatively peacefully, but only if a lot higher percentage of America knew and cared about the severe flaws in our voting system. If you could get the 36% of America that didn't vote in 2004 to actively express their dissatisfaction with our voting system, then it would become an issue would be addressed, eventually. But when that dissatisfaction manifests as voter apathy, well then the problems with our system are met with political apathy. As long as no politician can expect to win a Senate seat off of a campaign based in "Range Voting for a better USA" there will be no change.

Also in the case of a presidential election (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487547)

A serious third party contender actually brings up the risk of congress deciding the election. If you check the Constitution, you find that to win a presidential election, a candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes. Now some people think "majority" means "most". It doesn't in this context, actually, it means more than 50%. Currently, that's 270 electoral votes. If nobody gets 270 or more it doesn't go back for a second try or anything like that, rather the electoral vote isn't what decides the president. Instead, the House of Representatives elects the president, and the Senate elects the vice president.

Yes, really, it's happened twice before.

Well when there's only two candidates, it is extremely likely one will get a majority of votes. Since there is an even number of electors it is possible for a split EC, but that's quite unlikely. However with a serious third contender, it becomes much more possible. The third contender doesn't have to be more popular than the two others, just popular enough to grab some electoral votes.

For example suppose you have a race with the typical Democrat and Republican, but also a non-crazy Libertarian (I know, seems to be an impossibility). The Republican is the more popular than the Democrat, but only by a small margin. Let's say it would work like the 2004 election and result in a 286-252 win for the Republican. However the Libertarian manages to woo some of the fiscal conservatives to his side instead. Not very many, but enough to win Arizona, Kentucky and South Dakota. Now instead it's a 267-252-19 setup. The Republican has the most votes, but it isn't enough. Nobody wins, and it goes to Congress to decide.

As such at a presidential level, it's extremely stacked for a two party system. On other levels where it's a pure popular, who ever gets the most gets the job system, it is easier and indeed third party candidates to win from time to time. But it's a real problem in the presidential election. I mean look at how wound up people got about a president winning the electoral vote without winning the popular vote (also has happened before). Think the fury a congressional election would generate.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486349)

Sites with obvious political biases tend to be frequented only by people with similar political biases. In todays "party uber alles" political culture, these sites are basically echo chambers for members of the particular political party they align with. If one of these sites decided to switch to a third party, it would probably lose a vast majority of its readers as they all went in search of a site for their party. This would happen even if the political philosophy of the site didn't change at all.

The biggest problem with third parties today other than finances is perception. People don't support third parties in any great numbers because all of the major third parties are out on the fringes of the political spectrum. Most people hang out in the political middle, so a 3rd party that caters to the far left (like the Greens) or the far right (like the Libertarians) aren't going to have a whole lot of luck winning elections on the national level. They can only win in localities where the population is heavily skewed toward one end of the political spectrum or the other.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (3, Insightful)

hidannik (1085061) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486991)

Most Libertarians would dispute any characterization of their party as far-right, after first disputing that political views can be seen as along only a single dimension.

Instead they would characterize themselves as in favor of both extreme economic freedom (a view usually associated with the far right) and extreme social/personal freedom (a view usually associated with the far left).

Hans

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487231)

Sites with obvious political biases tend to be frequented only by people with similar political biases.
Well duh. That sorta stands to reason. I mean, you don't have people who hate Elmo going to Elmo fan sites very often do you? The only reason why a Republican would go to DailyKos or DemocraticUnderground would be for oposition research. It's not like they allow dissenting points of view posted there..and given that, you aren't going to attract and keep folks that haven't already swallowed the ideological koolaid. Lest anyone thinks I'm picking on Democrats, I believe that the FreeRepublic is also run the same way. I think both sides spend a lot more time on demonizing than they do prosletizing these days. You aren't going to attract many converts by shitting on the would-be converts.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

Sigismundo (192183) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487807)

Sites with obvious political biases tend to be frequented only by people with similar political biases.

I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh on AM radio every day on my drive home from school. This was during Clinton's second term, and each day he would grimly declare: "America Held Hostage: Day two thousand one hundred thirty seven" or something like that and it would crack me up every time. I definitely don't agree with his political biases, but I listened to his shows for just that reason.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486361)

YoU wAnT To KnOw WhAt'S WrOnG wItH tHe SyStEm?!! I'lL tElL yOu WhAt'S wRoNg WiTh ThE sYsTem!!! THE MAN and his CORPORATE PIGS are trying to keep THE KIDS from BEING HEARD!!@

That and all this illegal immigration. You can't swing a cat in this town anymores without braining a couple Mexicans.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (3, Funny)

cybermage (112274) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486649)

You can't swing a cat in this town anymores without braining a couple Mexicans.

That's some cat! You'd think the first Mexican would probably stop its momentum.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487067)

> You can't swing a cat in this town anymores without braining a couple Mexicans.

That's some cat! You'd think the first Mexican would probably stop its momentum.


Maybe he was referring to this cat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_o'_nine_tails [wikipedia.org]

Re:How long until they change their minds? (2, Funny)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20488365)

What tells you that? Science? Let me tell you something boy about when I grew up. We didn't have no science, we had to make do on superstitions and I'll tell you there was a lot less emo people back then too! They were simpler times, they were better times, and we knew that if we wanted to brain a couple of Mexicans with a cat, we could if we swung real hard on the third day of every second month if there was a full moon!

Re:How long until they change their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486735)

I personally think is horrible that we have to wish for a third party candidate. The elections should run on a different voting system that doesn't lead us eventually into the polarized voting situation we are in now.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487121)

Seriously. I think this is great as it gives at least some hope to the prospect of getting third parties ...

-----------------

I am still waiting for a democratic (small d ) blog. The U.S. voters have very little ability to influence the government no matter how they vote.

One Point

Our legislative political system (plurality elections) resembles a soda vending machine with only two brands of soda, - and it takes your money (wastes your vote) about 40 percent of the time! It is possible to find that type of voting machine with more products (3rd parties), but then there is an even greater probability that it will waste your vote!

Apparently U.S. politicians use the runoff system for leadership elections. They know what is good for the voter when they are the voter.

Another Point

Next U.S. voters might want to examine what is meant by a political party as opposed to a political label.

Political parties in the U.S. used to be organizations that could field politicians that reflected the organizations interests, and would carry the organizations name on the ballot. By requiring political parties to nominate by publicly funded primaries, the state can specify the requirements for ballot access for the primary elections. The private member based political parties technically still exist, but now have no control over their own name! That is why in the U.S.- party platforms are, relative to most other nations, mostly meaningless jokes. And remember: One elected politician can't pass a law! Heck: One elected politician can't get a bill out of committee!

A political party in a two-party system is a gigantic coalition of many different interests. Lacking an enforceable party platform, the other forces that decide which of these interests will get rewarded, after the votes are counted, are not very clear in either major party. Not clear to the voter anyway.

I_Voter

From The voters perspective

Much like Alice's cat - political parties have disappeared, leaving behind nothing but the many similar smiles of very individualistic politicians.

Re:How long until they change their minds? (1)

notclevernickname (1152517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487769)

Well of course there would be regulation changes. I mean, you actually think that our congress critters would want us to have a choice that represents what their constituents really want?

Huh. (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486197)

This shouldn't even be a question. Speech != $$$ in any real way that I can think of. Also, economic generalizations != reality.

Re:Huh. (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486277)

Well, speech can equal money. When working on a campaign, you not only purchase advertising (television, radio, etc.), you also try to get as much 'free' media as you can. I have held news conferences in front of the opposition HQ, in order to get my candidate on the front page of the newspaper. The more your name is mentioned, the better your chances are. Even negative publicity is still publicity.

I don't agree with the republican that submitted the complaint, but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years. Kos has shown to be a real force within the Democratic establishment. He is changing the way campaigns are run, from raising money, to coordinating volunteers, to even Get Out the Vote. I don't think you've heard the last of this.

Re:Huh. (1)

Gnostic Ronin (980129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486869)

Money = the microphone. You can still print out or write anything you want and other than buying paper, it's free. You have the right to free speech. No one ever said anything about the microphone.

As far as KOS is concerned -- no we haven't seen the last of it. I expect the blogs to be regulated like PAC before too long. There are too many people with a lot of power who don't want some upstart blogger to have enough power to sway voters. They want to be able to control what's said, and the mainstream press is already pretty tame on the whole deal. They need to get interviews with the candidates, so they don't investigate them, and they don't publish anything negative about them. Blogs are the last truely independent press, and I think that scares the Elitist Superstructure who don't want to answer tough questions.

What everyone already knows about the internet (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486227)

It's not for promoting candidates, it's for smearing their opponents.

but dailykos.com takes bribes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486283)

Well, not bribes, but payola. The reason he plugs particular democratic candidates is that they pay him to do so.

That clear moves away from editorial opinion into paid advertising.

However, Markos isn't very good at it. Every one of the democratic candidates he plugs has gone down to defeat. Quite a record.

Troll? Are you kidding me? (1)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486725)

Labeling such an informative comment as "troll" speak very poorly of the standards of moderation here. Sure, he could do with guts, but I'm willing to shed the "anonymous coward" for him.

Re:Troll? Are you kidding me? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487241)

You're right, but I can understand the confusion. He's claiming that the DailyKos is receiving compensation for their advertising, although TFA suggests the FEC is ruling only against "free media coverage".

I suspect if the DailyKos is receiving actual money from it's candidates, it's no longer exempt.

What would have clearly moved this out of the troll category is some substantiation to the claim that this is a paid advertiser, not a volunteer. Plenty of people on both sides of the political spectrum believe (or have benefit in believing) the nonsense that they're more than willing to do this sort of thing for free.

 

Re:Troll? Are you kidding me? (1)

Pentavirate (867026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487467)

I'm just as conservative as the next slashdotter (I had to say it), but there really shouldn't be any laws against this type of "payola". Who cares if someone gets paid for their opinions or not. Who cares is someone gets paid and changes their opinion because of it. If the arguments are sound, does it really matter if the person making the arguments really believes them or not?

All of this "campaign finance regulation" is a joke. Money doesn't buy campaigns. If it did, Steve Forbes would be president right now. The federal government should stop limiting free speech by removing the limit on campaign donations and giving out "media exemptions" and all the rest.

Good news (2, Insightful)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486325)

This seems to be good news (though I'll admit that I haven't been following the issue as much as I'd like to have -- I'm sure someone will point out a very reasonable downside to it).

I think the bad feelings (and subsequent reactionary attempts at regulation) come from the fact that the conservative voter base tends to be a bit older and less Internet-savvy. There's no reason they couldn't have the conservative equivalent of DailyKos, but it just wouldn't get read as much. So to conservatives it feels like there's an unfair advantage and that bloggers should follow the same rules as those who advertise on the Marconi Wireless to "level the playing field." But really, the right reaction would be to educate their voter base on this great new medium. I don't know if it would work, but I'm glad this sense of unfairness didn't result in opinion and discourse being subjected to the same regulations as advertising and fund raising. They're very different, and the latter two become empty manipulation without the first two.

When this first came up, I figured it was a lock that bloggers would get nailed (the FEC has a very colorful history of not understanding when technology is good and when technology is bad).

Re:Good news (3, Informative)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486439)

There's no reason they couldn't have the conservative equivalent of DailyKos, but it just wouldn't get read as much.

Free Republic? Little Green Footballs? WorldNetDaily?

Re:Good news (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486589)

Don't forget http://powerlineblog.com/ [powerlineblog.com] . My dad uses another one, too, but I can't recall it at the moment...

Re:Good news (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486641)

Note: I am a die-hard liberal. But, I wouldn't confuse LGF, Michelle Malkin or World Net Dailys content with Kos. While Kos frequently rips on the opposition (just like the above sites) Kos also actively tries to organize the liberal base. He lists potential democratic candidates in each congressional district and puts in requests for fundraising and volunteers. In 2006, he was actively pushing for volunteers for the conservative democrats that won seats in North Carolina and other states.

That is very different than LGF, which usually just launches generic grenades and the 'evil liberal establishment' or blasts the New York Times for 'liberal bias'. When LGF and Hugh Hewitt start trying to recruit candidates for individual elections, and are successful at raising millions in small donor contributions to those candidates THEN I'll compare them to Kos.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486767)

Note: I am a die-hard liberal. But, I wouldn't confuse LGF, Michelle Malkin or World Net Dailys content with Kos, because I don't agree with them.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Good news (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487023)

Just today, the latest LGF troll: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=2693 1_Airplane_Accidents&only [littlegreenfootballs.com] :

German Chair of of IPPNW Describes 9/11 Terror Attacks as 'Airplane Accidents'.

Interestingly, not one of nearly 200 comments even ponders whether this was imperfect use of English, from a non-native speaker... instead, no, he must be a Nazi. A "9/11 denier".

What a bunch of moronic pond scum.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20488321)

What a bunch of moronic pond scum.

The interview was in German. The German speaking person knew exactly what she (yes, she, you obviously didn't even bother to look at what you're whining about) was saying. It's also instructive to know that the channel the interview took place on has been flogging nearly every conspiracy theory from planned demolition to intentionally poor construction of the buildings as the reason it fell.

If you want to question it, find your nearest German-speaking person and ask them if they have a different words for crashing into something on accident and for ramming something intentionally.

But go ahead, tell the world about morons.

Re:Good news (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487883)

While Kos frequently rips on the opposition (just like the above sites) Kos also actively tries to organize the liberal base. He lists potential democratic candidates in each congressional district and puts in requests for fundraising and volunteers.
From my observations, the left-wing sites like Kos's seem to focus more on organizing the liberal base in general, while right-wing and libertarian sites focus more on rallying specific issues. For example, there's things like Vets for Freedom [vetsforfreedom.org] (based around pro-war support) and Porkbusters [porkbusters.org] (based around pork barrel funding). There's also the flurries that occur whenever some major journalistic funniness is going on, such as Rathergate or Reutersgate [wikipedia.org] , or the Duke lacross/Nifong scandal.

Re:Good news (2, Informative)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486485)

I'm as blue as the next /.er, but the politician who was most recently screaming to "level the playing field" was "censor-crat" Clinton (in the opposite direction from the one discussed in this story, of course).

Heaven knows I'll probably end up voting for her this go-around, but when it comes to technology and censorship, there's no political party (that has a chance of winning) that aligns with the /.-mindset.

Re:Good news (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20488083)

when it comes to technology and censorship, there's no political party (that has a chance of winning) that aligns with the /.-mindset.
All a party needs is the right candidate http://www.ontheissues.org/Ron_Paul.htm#Technology [ontheissues.org]

Vote No Next Election (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20488233)

I wont bother with stating my political beliefs to avoid the left/right flame war, but sufficient to say I loath both democrats and republicans. I don't have minor issues with the candidates; I have large ideological divides with all of them. I am pretty sure I am not alone.

What do I do election day? I vote. I vote because not voting doesn't separate you from the lazy bastard with no opinion who can't part with an hour of his time once every 2 years. Such people are not worthwhile for politicians to court and you don't want to be associated with them. Instead of voting for someone you loath just slightly less then the alternative, I suggest simply voting no. Walk into the polling station and in the blank field, write in "none of the above" and check it. Is "none of the above" going to win? Probably not. You can even simply hand in a blank ballot. If more people were to do this, than there would start to be noticeable discrepancies between the number of people who voted, and the number of people who voted for one of the two choices. Make this discrepancy large enough, and you might start turning heads. Politicians would see groups of people who are pissed, but not so apathetic that they won't vote.

Unless you live in a state that is so close that it is too close to call, your vote for 'anyone but that other guy' isn't going to do any good. Spend your vote sending a message, not padding or not even denting Hillary's lead in Connecticut or Julian's lead in Texas. If the electoral point in your state is already a foregone conclusion, spend your vote to voice your displeasure. A 4% 'none of the above vote' would mean a hell of a lot more than one candidate already destine to win by a 10% marine gaining or losing that 5%.

Re:Good news (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486909)

I don't know about a reasonable downside, but I could see people using this judgment as ammunition against people [commondreams.org] calling for the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. Especially if they start talking about the "George Soros funded political machine" or whatever else is hot these days.

Re:Good news (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487689)

It's called Free Republic [freerepublic.com] , it's been around since 1997 (5 years before DailyKOS), has nearly 3 times the monthly visitors (around 1 million unique people per month, versus 350K for dKOS), and is kind of the central "clearing house" for all threads/blogs Conservative.

The fact that FreeRupublic gets zero press, as compared to DailyKOS, is pretty telling about the media's awareness of the Conservative movement...

Re:Good news (1)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20488351)

Indeed. To everyone who responded with lists of conservative blogs, I know of the biggies. But I didn't bring up DailyKos as the be-all, end-all (and given the reaction here, it was a poor choice for an example) -- I just think if you could count (which you can't, and I'm just going on a hunch here), you'd find a lot more small liberal blogs than small conservative blogs. I just think the average age of liberals is younger than that of conservatives -- not wrong or right, just how I suspect it is. And the young blog more than the old. So to the average conservative out there, it's going to feel like there are more liberal blogs than conservative ones.

I'm not trying to cast judgment -- I happen to be a liberal, but my original post was a genuine attempt to understand out loud some of the suspicion and irritation I've read among some conservatives. On my little personal blog, I have one conservative guy who comes around (he found me through a friend), and we have great conversations and debates and we respect each other a lot. To be honest, I get very excited when I see a post from him -- they're always artistically and brilliantly designed to make me defend my stance while never getting nasty. Sometimes I can defend my points and sometimes I can't, but he keeps me honest and I try to do the same on his blog (though I take a bit of a drubbing from his readers when I do -- he's got a lot more traffic and conservative views are the only focus of his blog).

I'd love for there to be more little blogs (liberal OR conservative OR Martian or whatever) where that kind of discourse can take place. Unfortunately, it seems like many of the ones I've checked out are mostly preaching to their own choir (this one guy aside, mine too). The froth factor is high -- people of like mind getting each other all boiled up about things they know they all commonly disagree with. But a lot of the little conservative ones I've read seem to have this undertone of feeling like they're alone in the universe. Just my experience -- it could be that I've lucked into reading the right combination of blogs to give me this impression. But that's how it seems to me -- there are just more liberals blogging than conservatives. I just think the vote-to-blog-reader/writer ratio is very different between liberals and conservatives. And I was suggesting that this could cause some feelings of threat/jealousy/indignation among conservatives, who (according to my home-grown logic) may be less represented on the Web.

But to suggest that the greater coverage of the DailyKos is an indication of the media's liberal bent? I disagree. DailyKos loudly disagrees with the current administration, which makes for really good sensationalist news bites (bytes?). If there was a liberal administration and it was being loudly denounced by a conservative blog, I bet it would get a bunch of press, too. Fights are good "news" (quotes very much intended as sarcastic finger quotes). As it stands, agreeing with whoever is in the White House makes for boring copy as far as the CNNs of the world are concerned.

Re:Good news (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487801)

I think the bad feelings (and subsequent reactionary attempts at regulation) come from the fact that the conservative voter base tends to be a bit older and less Internet-savvy.
Do you have any examples to support the belief that conservative bloggers support more internet regulation? Everything I've seen on the topic from them are very much against the FEC regulating political blogging.

There's no reason they couldn't have the conservative equivalent of DailyKos, but it just wouldn't get read as much.
Instapundit.com has the same google ranking as DailyKos. There's also forums like freerepublic.com which have been around longer than Daily Kos and have a similar amount of traffic.

REGULATE THIS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486343)

(_!_)

Re:REGULATE THIS! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487439)

Obviously, we're talking about an assroots movement here.

Why is this not YRO? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486383)

instead of politics? a lot of stuff goes under the category YRO when it isn't at all. This time it makes sense, but they don't put it there.

Freedom of Expression (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486491)

Basically this is about our right to express political views on the internet without regulation. It deserves a 'politics' tag as well, I suppose, but it is a 'YRO' issue.

in-kind service? (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486407)

From TFA:

The FEC said the blogger, Michael L. Grace, acted in the capacity of a volunteer and his blogging efforts did not constitute an ``in-kind service'' subject to financial disclosure rules.


Which seems to imply that if Kos had provided an in-kind service the ruling may have been different.

Also, from the FEC press release:

Since 1974, media activity has been explicitly exempted from federal campaign finance regulation. In March 2006, the Commission made clear that this exemption extends to online media publications and that "costs incurred in covering or carrying a news story, commentary, or editorial by any broadcasting station. . . , Web site, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, including any Internet or electronic publication," are not a contribution or expenditure unless the facility is owned by a political party, committee, or candidate. With respect to MUR 5928, the FEC found that Kos Media meets the definition of a media entity and that the activity described in the complaint falls within the media exemption. Thus, activity on the DailyKos website does not constitute a contribution or expenditure that would trigger political committee status. The Commission therefore found no reason to believe Kos Media, DailyKos.com, or Markos Moulitsas Zuniga violated federal campaign finance law.


So, if a blogger is independant of a political organization ( or at least, doesn't get his bills paid for by a political organization ) said blogger isn't subject to campaign finance law.

Re:in-kind service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487119)

Which seems to imply that if Kos had provided an in-kind service the ruling may have been different.

Did you know Kos is often paid for his services?

The reason he endorses particular democratic candidates is that they pay him to do so [slate.com] .

BOY!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486415)

come up to me like that boy and you just might get slapped BOY!!!!

I'm still waiting on one big political website (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486463)

A website that works like Digg, but for political essays people write. Then with a greater sense of moderation rules, some writers will become popular while others slip into the abyss. I think a political website where anyone can be heard, and that the top dogs of the country are voted upon by readers, then finally a man of the masses could be elected to office instead of the man who gained campaign finances.

Look up the diaries on DailyKos (1)

apsmith (17989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486511)

On the right hand side of the main DailyKos page you'll see "recommended" diaries and "recent" diaries. Anybody can sign up to the site and write diaries (1 per day) - basically political essays (or on anything if you like). Get yourself recommended by other users, and you're there.

Re:I'm still waiting on one big political website (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487569)

Wow, I was just strikingly reminded of Peter Wiggin when you said that. A prominent figure in the online debates who gets elected to power. Cool idea, to be sure.

FOX attacks bloggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486523)

Some of you might not have seen this: FOX attacks bloggers [youtube.com] . They make a very special mention of DailyKos...

By the way, for those of you who still have not read about it: there is a General Strike [strike911.org] called for tuesday, 9/11/07. Join and help change things like this.

Re:FOX attacks bloggers (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486907)

No surprise given they use one of the far right's own closed minds as a bully pulpit on Friday.

Re:FOX attacks bloggers (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#20488209)

there is a General Strike called for tuesday, 9/11/07. Join and help change things like this.


I'll join in by going to work first, then by doing a bit of shopping afterwards. If there's a "Support our Troops" march, I'll sure to join into that.

Media exemption? (2, Insightful)

readin (838620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486619)

"an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption"

Why does the "media" get an exemption? They have biases and vested interests. Freedom speech and the press is supposed to be for everyone, not just selected people who get "exemptions".

Re:Media exemption? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487471)

Yes, but if you arrogate the power to make exemptions to yourself, you have the power to make people beg you for them, and give you stuff.

dailykos.com is paid advertising... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486631)

The reason he endorses particular democratic candidates is that they pay him to do so [slate.com] , and he doesn't always disclose it.

That moves away from opinion & editorial to paid advertising. And there are rules on paid election advertising.

This cuts both ways (1, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486737)

If Daily Kos is considered subject to regulation, then someone explain to me how that is materially different from Fox News? At least Daily Kos isn't deceitful in their partisanship, unlike Fox's pretensions of objectivity.

Re:This cuts both ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20486815)

Fox News' second most popular program is a show that features both a conservative and a liberal commentator debating current issues. Show me where the Daily Kos has a conservative voice anywhere on their website.

If you had RTFA then you'd know that Daily Kos IS NOT subject to regulation anyway.

Re:This cuts both ways (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486949)

"Fox News' second most popular program is a show that features both a conservative and a liberal commentator debating current issues."

Fox's second most popular show is Hannity and Colmes. Calling it a liberal versus conservative show Fox's laughable disinformation.

Shawn Hannity is a loud-mouthed arch-conserative; Colms is a moderate. ("I think I'm quite moderate" - Alan Colmes to USA Today, 2/1/95 [fair.org] ). Or to paragraph Al Frankin, "Image a game of political see-saw with one person sitting on the far right end of the see-saw and someone sitting in the middle. See? That's fair and balanced on the Fox News channel"

Re:This cuts both ways (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487051)

You've obviously never seen the show. Alan Colmes is a "moderate" who takes a liberal position on each and every issue and always sides with the Democrat party. Colmes is employing a classic Democrat tactic in claiming to be a moderate even while always taking the liberal side. If he talks like a liberal, acts like a liberal, looks like a liberal and even smells like a liberal then he is not a moderate, he is a LIBERAL.

Re:This cuts both ways (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487101)

Hint: the vast majority of Democrats are not "liberal" by any stretch of the imagination.

Re:This cuts both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487363)

Hannity is a confident, overbearing, outgoing Conservative who always gets the last word.

Colmes is a timid, quiet, shy, insecure Liberal who Hannity could talk right over if they weren't friends, and if they didn't realize that their partnership is what makes the show successful on a Conservative news station.

Calling that Fair and Balanced is laughable. They want you to believe that the 2 represent the 2 sides of the political debate. Far from it.

Re:This cuts both ways (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487541)

Also, the man in the middle of the see-saw is such a lightweight, you could swear he was made of straw.

Mod Parent Up... (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487755)

If I had one I'd certainly drop it off here.

Partisanship, Fox-hatred and left v. right wing BS arguments aside, at least Fox News does go out of their way to provide two opposing viewpoints, and it seems rather popular. Sure, folks will immediately scream about Colmes' "moderate" tag, but honestly, that's nothing more than spin on Colmes' part (so as to paint his opposite as "extreme").

I have yet to see a credible truly-moderate opinionator (why? because 'beige' simply doesn't attract the attention that red or blue does, ne?) So please, let's dispense with any such notion that Colmes (or Kos, or whomever of any political stripe) is "moderate" - it's a strawman argument, to put it charitably.

Kos is nothing more than a prettified version of the Democratic Underground, IMHO. I wouldn't be surprised to see lots of left-leaning money being fed to his site, just as I wouldn't be surprised to see lots of right-leaning money being fed to his opposite counterparts' sites.

Both sides have their shills; both sites exist to feed the confirmation biases of their respective True Believers(TM, pat. pending).

That said, I wish everyone luck in removing the political money-laundering that accompanies sites like Kos. His income (again, like that from various others of either side) is likely funneled through a series of front organizations and companies who essentially parallel a given party's agendae (e.g. George Soros' funding of various 'grass-roots' events).

If you want to seriously remove political money from such events, then have the gov't set up a series of servers, where any political party can have equal bandwidth and space to proclaim whatever political theories turn them on (in a limited but equally accessible set of formats - text and image/multimedia files under a certain size, ferinstance). Sort of like a "Speakers' Corner" of sorts. It's not like they can't afford it or anything.

/P

Re:Mod Parent Up... (3, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487975)

"Partisanship, Fox-hatred and left v. right wing BS arguments aside, at least Fox News does go out of their way to provide two opposing viewpoints, and it seems rather popular."

This is bull shit of the most dangerous kind. It was Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, who said that the key to a successful propaganda campaign is to give the appearance of diversity, while at the same time making sure that all media venues convey the same basic message. This is the essence of framing the debate [wikipedia.org] . You take a moderate, call him a liberal, and voilà - you've manufactured diversity where, in fact, none exists. Meanwhile, people who truly disagree never get heard. Nor is this just an accident. They intentionally select weak voiced, barely (if at all) left-of-center people.

But don't take my word for it. Just read the transcript from Outfoxed [outfoxed.org] . According to former Fox News producer Clara Frenk: And the first thing that I noticed was that I recognized all of the conservatives who were in the roster. They were very well known people who had come from, you know, talk radio or from some sort of political background, and so I knew all of those people, and they were very, very strong people... But when I looked at the liberal roster, there was only one person's name who I recognize, which I recognized, and that was Bob Shrum, who is a very well known speechwriter and political consultant in Washington. The other ones, though, were people I had never heard of. My entire background was in politics and political journalism, so I knew pretty much all the players in D.C. and I had never heard of these people... A lot of the times the liberals that they get to appear on are either, you know, faux-liberals, like, I would use Susan Estrich as an example of that, a person who was brought on, who essentially agrees with the person on the right in a lot of cases."

OK, screwheads, listen up! (1)

Loopy (41728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20488203)

Did you RTFA? They are NOT subjecting DailyKos to campaign regulations, expressly stating that simply favoring a political viewpoint is not sufficient grounds to revoke their media exemption. So, no, FoxNews wouldn't be regulated either, even IF confirming the existence of a conservative viewpoint made you a de facto right-wing supporter. /sigh Allow me to paste in the relevant portions from the FEC article for the TLDR crowd:

The Commission determined that the website falls squarely within the media exemption and is therefore not subject to federal regulation under the Act.

Since 1974, media activity has been explicitly exempted from federal campaign finance regulation. In March 2006, the Commission made clear that this exemption extends to online media publications and that "costs incurred in covering or carrying a news story, commentary, or editorial by any broadcasting station. . . , Web site , newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, including any Internet or electronic publication," are not a contribution or expenditure unless the facility is owned by a political party, committee, or candidate.

not quite Fair and Balanced (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20486981)

Fox News doesn't know whether to sputter in outrage or heave a sigh of relief.

Right on. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487089)

Now when your slinging mud if you have facts to back you up, you can democratically exercise your right to participate in the process. If your mud makes it to Wikileaks [wikileaks.org] then you can be rest assured that the scumballs will eventually be weeded out by the voices of citizens. I'm trying to hit all those words that seem to have lost their meanings in recent years - suggestions on any I missed?

Looming double-standard? (1)

Loopy (41728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487259)

From the FEC statement: 'While the complaint asserts that DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate.'"

Hmm...let's see if they'll apply this to talk radio as well.

Abuse of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20487279)

This is a good development that everyone should be happy with. If bloggers become regulated the question becomes who decides what is political and what it not? This hold the potential for massive abuse of power. And we all know that it would become a problem. Look at the problems people have with George Bush: Dead soldiers, free speech zones, etc. And there is no reason to believe that the next president (dem. or rep.) wont do the same thing.

You can already see it happening right now. No one cares about restoring checks and balances. They whine and complain about the President having too much power, but once their party gets the power they will not give it up. As a result more and more power will be in less and less hands, the only thing that will change is who's hands (and I will give you a hint it wont be the people).

Here, let me re-slant that for you: (2, Interesting)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487325)

"Despite complaints that Fox News should be subject to campaign finance laws since they are donating huge amounts of money in the form of advertising and media services to candidates, the FEC will not regulate Fox News. From the FEC statement: 'While the complaint asserts that Fox News advocates for the election of Republicans for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate.'"
Yes, that's unfair of me. Daily Kos doesn't deserve to be compared to Fox News.

Re:Here, let me re-slant that for you: (1)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487475)

And naturally, by the time I post this six people have made the same point, and better.

This would be why I post to Slashdot once a month now.

Semantics of mainstream media (1)

moogyboog (648958) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487435)

These people claim to be unbiased or balanced as opposed to unblanced? In other words we say we are sane...we say you are losers. That's the mainstream opinion of the bloggers, mostly since they expect and maintain priority over what is news. Maybe the FCC recognizes the fallacy of "unbiased" information. Whoever decides the story decides the debate, why on earth should a centralized media system command control over a decentralized international system? Bottom line they can't control the world and they were trying to implement some kind of control over ideas that are political.

This Shows the Law is Unconstitutional (2, Interesting)

bxwatso (1059160) | more than 6 years ago | (#20487815)

If the Daily Kos is protected speech, then Rush Limbaugh is protected speech (and I think both should be). What about Bill Moyers? He largely advocates liberal causes on TV.

Now, what if I bought a billboard that said "Vote Libertarian," which is what the back of my iPod says? What is the difference except that the Daily Kos buys electrons to send its message and I buy ink molecules? The intent is the same.

Now, what is the real difference if a friend and I pool our money together to buy the billboard? That is the exercise of my right to free association and assembly. That is prohibited by this horrible law.

The whole McCain Feingold law is a slippery slope to collectivism (same as Stalinism, Nazism, Democrats, Republicans at different temperatures). McCain is especially an enemy of the Constitution, and it is a shame the Supreme Court didn't throw out the whole mess. Indeed, McCain Feingold is a brassy effort to silence the critics of incumbent candidates.

Slashdot Will Regulate Flag Striping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20488503)

"Due to complaints that flag stripes should be subject to campaign finance laws since they are donating huge amounts of money in the form of advertising and media services to candidates, Slashdot will regulate flag striping. From Taco's statement: 'While the complaint asserts that trolls advocate the use of a flag with the correct number of stripes, the editors have repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise use a gif with the correct number of stripes would lose its eligibility to post stories because it features a flag lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the use or disuse of a certain flag.'"
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