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March 9, 2005
Rocky Mountain News: To The Barricades!

The Rocky Mountain News apparently won't drink the old-line media Kool-Aid regarding McCain-Feingold and the media exemption. The RMN appears to have an editorial board that remains old-fashioned enough to protect the First Amendment, even when the BCRA gives them a political advantage:

Little wonder, since the immediate victims of such a scheme would be the proliferating number of bloggers who devote themselves to online political commentary. Current FEC rules count any Web link to a candidate's Web site as "coordination" with that candidate's campaign. If applied to the Internet, that could make individual bloggers subject to the much more restrictive rules that now govern the activity of special-interest groups.

As "Captain Ed" Morrissey of the political blog Captain's Quarters said in an open letter to Sens. McCain and Feingold, during the presidential campaign he linked to Kerry's Web site four times as often as to Bush's, "which would have meant to the FEC that I was a major contributor to his campaign." In fact, he was a Bush supporter.

This proves yet again that McCain-Feingold was misbegotten. It's bad enough the law unconstitutionally restricts the right of citizens to contribute their time and money to the candidates of their choice. But it also restricts the right of some groups even to talk about candidates - for or against - within 60 days of an election.

The exception to that rule exempts the mainstream media and the political candidates themselves. Others, such as unions and corporations but also independent people purchasing advertising, must remain muzzled in the final days of any election. That puts tremendous power in the hands of a few media conglomerates to disseminate the information they deem important -- and to bury that which might not reflect well on their causes or candidates. McCain-Feingold essentially tells people that two classes of citizenry exists when it comes to politics: those free to speak their minds at any time, and the rest of us unwashed heathen who need to be told when to speak and when to shut up.

The RMN wants none of the advantage that the BCRA gives the media as a bribe to forget the First Amendment. Good for them. Let's remember to support the Rocky Mountain News as we fight to repeal the BCRA.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 9, 2005 11:23 AM

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