Fairness Doctrine for Blogs?

 Posted by on 13 October 2008 at 11:03 pm  Election, Free Speech, Politics
Oct 132008

A few hours ago, Stephen Green of VodkaPundit sent out a mass e-mail to over 100 notable bloggers (and others) with this post on the threat of Obama attempting to apply the Fairness Doctrine to blogs, if elected. What the hell, I thought. So I replied to all with the following:

Stephen (and others) –

Like you, I’m seriously worried about free speech under Obama. But damned if I’d feel any more secure with McCain. The man has absolutely no respect whatsoever for the First Amendment — and he showed that by sponsoring and passing the most severe restrictions on political speech in recent decades.

When asked whether McCain-Feingold violates freedom of speech, McCain said, “I would rather have a clean government than one where quote ‘First Amendment rights’ are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government.”

Campaign finance laws are strangling political debate in America. In recent months, I’ve been forced to spend hours of my time filling out campaign finance forms — just to spend a whopping $200 of my own money fighting Amendment 48. (That’s the Colorado ballot measure that would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs.) The money was used to print and mail copies of an issue paper I co-authored, i.e. simply to advocate my views. After that, I realized that spending money to defeat the measure just wasn’t worth my cost in time. Galt help me if I was actually taking donations — or spending serious money. I would have had to hire an army of accountants!

For more on Colorado’s Amendment 48, see:


For more on the injustice of campaign finance, see Yaron Brook’s article in Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/…0321yaro n.html

The next four years will be very bad for freedom of speech, regardless of the name of the man in the Oval Office. Blogs will likely be on the chopping block, and we’ll have to fight for our most basic right to speak our mind.


A few notes:

(1) I’m familiar with the basics of the Fairness Doctrine, but it’s not clear to me how it might be applied to online media (in general) and blogs (in particular). Does anyone know?

(2) I’m not sure that I agree with my last sentence: “Blogs will likely be on the chopping block.” The fact is that blogs are substantially dependent on mainstream media. If the government effectively controls those sources of information, then it might not need to enact any controls particular to blogs to effectively silence them.

(3) For more on the kind of campaign finance laws that I’ve dealt with in my fight against Amendment 48 in Colorado, see this post by Ari Armstrong.

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