[EM] Campaign reform

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 7 22:11:43 PDT 2005

Ralph has said:

>I thought this list was about election methods. Half-informed
>pronouncements like the above belong elsewhere. The idea
>that political ads can't be regulated even when broadcast
>on publicly owned airwaves is not a viewpoint that can be
>fairly derived from a reading of the first amendment.

Russ says:

Yes, it was a slightly off-topic tangent, but the best election method
in the world is worthless if free speech is squelched during the
campaign. When the government gets into the business of deciding who is
and is not allowed to run political ads before an election, it's on a
very slippery slope.

I reply:

The government has been in that business for a long time. The FCC licenses 
broadcast stations, and there's an obviouis  political conflict of interest.

For example, the government involves itself in a most obvious and concrete 
way when it moves in to physically shut down public-interest, non-corporate 
micro-wattage stations. Those stations aren't licensed? Oh, someone should 
tell them that, and then they'd have only to apply for a license :-)

Russ's notion of free speech is based on the legal theory that money talks.

That's why Russ opposes campaign spending reforms in general.

As for the notion that the government only has jurisdiction over broadcast 
media, yes the legal situation isn't as obvious when information isn't 
broadcast through space, but is distributed via cables or posters, highway 
signs, flyers, newspapers, etc. But surely it's obvious that govt 
jurisdiction over media isn't limited to non-cable broadcast media. If you 
think it is, then put up pornographic pictures on highway signs, and then 
watch the "anti-free-speech repression"  :-)

By the way, do tv cables go over any property (underground, or via towers 
standing on that land) that doesn't belong to the cable company? Does that 
company be have an inalienable right to transmit anything it wants to using 
land that it doesn't own?

Does it abridge freedom of speech to abridge big-money monopoly over freedom 
of speech. Is it abridgement to abridge an abridgement? That would be rather 
like saying that the govt (police) can't use violence to arrest someone who 
is doing violence.

Giving the public, as opposed to a few companies, better opportunity for 
free speech is not an abridgement of free speech. The abridgement is already 
there. It's a question of how fairly it will be done.

Mike Ossipoff

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