Monday, May 31, 2010

Press Freedoms

Press freedoms belong to all Americans, not merely those who work for established news organizations, whatever the heck that means. Thomas Paine wasn't a newsman, he was a man with an idea who published a pamphlet. Under rules being presented by the Federal Trade Commission, Paine wouldn't have "freedom of the press":

Release of the Federal Trade Commission's working paper on "reinventing journalism" makes it clear that there is no more time for diplomacy about this issue: President Obama is determined to federalize the news industry just as he has banking, autos, and health care.
Where's the ACLU going to come down on this?

11 comments:

Ellen K said...

And he will rename it "Pravda".
Given the failure of the news industry to get attention, mainly because the population that formerly bought newspapers and watched the news find themselves vilified and alienated, it is absolutely unconstitutional for the government to have any association whatsoever with a news outlet.

Ronnie said...

You seriously are just quoting the most random crazy people you find, you know that right? That FTC paper has just a scatter shot of ideas of what could possibly help the news industry make it through this difficult and potentially damaging time. Almost everyone agrees that the shift from print to digital is going to result in a decrease in revenue for most news organizations which directly effects the quantity and quality of news gathered. The paper outlines possible ideas and their benefits and problems including reducing the tax rate on news entities. I mean if you actually read the things you link to instead of just one crazy person's interpretation of it maybe your blog would be better.

MikeAT said...

Darren

Remember a genius pointed out this fact on B Hussein Obama's latest nominee to the federal judiciary:

In the course of the argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, an experienced Supreme Court litigator, argued that a 1990 precedent, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, gave the government the power to limit any political communication funded by a corporation, even a nonprofit such as Citizens United. Justice Samuel Alito asked Stewart if that power would extend to censoring political books published by corporations. Stewart responded -- consistent with the government's position at all stages of the case -- that yes, it would. There was an audible hush -- if such a thing is possible -- in the court. Then Justice Alito, appearing to speak for the room, merely said, "I find that pretty incredible."

Incredible or not, that was, and had been for many years, the position of the U.S. government. But until that moment, it seemed to have never quite sunken in with the justices. Americans are willing to accept far more abridgements of free speech than we sometimes like to believe, but the idea of banning books strikes an emotional chord that something described simply as "prohibitions and limits on campaign spending" does not. Americans may not always live up to the Bill of Rights, but Americans do not ban books. A stunned Court eventually asked the parties to reargue the case, to consider whether Austin should be overruled.

On reargument last September, Solicitor General Elena Kagan tried to control the damage, arguing that the government never actually had tried to censor books, even as she reaffirmed its claimed authority to do just that. She also stated that "pamphlets," unlike books, were clearly fair game for government censorship. (Former Federal Election Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky has noted that in fact the FEC has conducted lengthy investigations into whether certain books violated campaign finance laws, though it has not yet held that a book publisher violated the law through publication. And the FEC has attempted to penalize publishers of magazines and financial newsletters, only to be frustrated by the courts.) With the endgame of "campaign finance reform" finally laid out plainly, the Supreme Court's decision seemed a foregone conclusion. Sure enough, in January, the Court ruled that corporations, as associations of natural persons, have a right to spend funds from their general treasuries to support or oppose political candidates and causes -- including through the publication or distribution of books and movies.



Will Barry send his children to abuse the civil liberties of the American people...oh, yes I think so. He thinks he can regulate political speech with current law, he only needs a few bureaucrats in the FEC to change a reg or two and there is us...hope and change, just like he wanted it.

To answer your question, the ACLU will be strangely silent on this abuse of the First Amendment...

Darren said...

Mark Tapscott is crazy? Really? I know that he's not on board with your brand of socialism, Ronnie, but calling him crazy seems a bit of a stretch.

MikeAT said...

Darren

You may recall late last year a Democrat Senator proposed letting newspapers reorganize as a nonprofit organization, obtaining new tax exemptions but that of course leads to the question, will they perform one on their basic functions keeping a check on the government.

Seeing how the papers are acting now I don’t believe they will be more inclined to question the government once they are relying on indirect government support for their existence. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Ellen K said...

Aren't most newspapers already non-profit....

MikeAT said...

Good point Ellen K.

A few years ago I got into a spirited debate with my sister on the economy, etc and one of the points she made was how badly her husband’s business was doing. He was the assistant editor of The Times Picayune in New Orleans. I had to explain to her the facts (something she refuses to look at, as an aside) that New Orleans’ economy was tough and the fact is the newspaper business is a dead industry. Its days are numbered.

Fortunately they offered him an early retirement plan and he took it. He’s a great guy…that fact he’s married to my sister makes me wonder if he was a multiple murderer in a previous life and this is part of making up for past sins.

MikeAT said...

Ellen K

I think PJ has an idea that may be a life line for a dead industry....

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/not-dead-yet?nopager=0

Darren said...

Hey Ronnie, take a look at what the LA Times says on the subject:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/06/federal-trade-commission-free-press.html

You know, the far-right-wing LA Times.

Ronnie said...

I'm sorry but that LA Times article has way too many uses of talking point terminology for me to take seriously, might as well have called him Barack Hussein Obama. It's a study, I'm ok with broad studies with lots of ideas, none of this has been implemented yet and some of it might be beneficial.

The best thing about our new news ecosystem is you have bloggers who can question anything and everything no matter how logical and get their opinions out there, the problem is most bloggers don't have the resources and professional experience of those at newspapers and a lot of people feel losing that will adversely affect the total quality of the news ecosystem.

Darren said...

Fortunately, Ronnie, we bloggers have smart people like you to tell us where we go wrong.