Sunday, January 29, 2012

Contributing Editor

I recently heard something on NPR about the effect of Citizens United on the 2012 campaign. (I probably don't need to tell you it was one of those pieces where the media says "hey, we enjoy more freedom of speech than anyone, but it's still important that the government require everyone else to shut the hell up.")

Anyway, the host introduced the piece by declaring the Court had said in the case that contributions were equivalent to free speech.  No it didn't. If you want to create a movie or a book or an article telling the public your views on Hillary Clinton, that sounds like freedom of speech to me.  If, somehow, the government is allowed to prevent you from putting out your opinion, then it's denying you your freedom of speech.  Is it that hard to understand?  Money isn't speech, speech is speech.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Here is the question that I wish I could ask every liberal who opposes Citizens United:

You have made it clear that you think that freedom of speech is guaranteed tor individuals, but not to corporations. Thus, if a corporation wants to put up a billboard criticizing a candidate, the government is permitted to pass laws preventing them from doing so.

Does that apply to freedom of the press as well? For example, do newspapers owned by individuals have the right to print whatever they want, but newspapers owned by corporations can be prohibited from printing articles and editorials that criticize candidates? Or do you think that freedom of the press (unlike freedom of speech) applies to corporations as well as individuals?

10:42 AM, January 29, 2012  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The Supreme Court hasn't declared that "freddom of the press" allows corporations that happen to be media corporations to avoid laws applying to corporations in general. In fact, it was a "media exemption" in the original McCain-Feingold law under question that gave old-style media its freedom.

Which means those who oppose Citizens United have to believe that it's only through the grace of Congress that The New York Times is free to write editorials as it pleases. Of course, that's why the law had to have a media exemption. Otherwise, its destruction of the First Amendment is so clear that no one would put up with it.

In any case, even if Citizens United were overturned, I would hope that any corporation that starts putting out political speech should be considered, for purposes of the law, as being part of the media. Otherwise, you're saying some corporations can express their politics while others can't.

1:06 PM, January 29, 2012  

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