Skip to comments.Lawmakers: Hands off blogs (FR mentioned)
Posted on 03/14/2005 7:45:11 PM PST by mdittmar
Bloggers should enjoy traditional press freedoms and not face regulation as political groups, lawmakers and online journalists said Friday.
In separate letters, Democratic lawmakers and Internet commentators urged the Federal Election Commission to make sure that political Web sites that serve as focal points for political discussion, such as Wonkette.com and Freerepublic.com, don't have to comply with campaign-finance rules.
"Curtailing blogs and other online publications will dampen the impact of new voices in the political process and will do a disservice to the millions of voters who rely on the Web for original, insightful political commentary," said the Online Coalition, a group of bloggers and online activists.
Fourteen members of the House of Representatives said blogs foster a welcome diversity of viewpoints.
"This 'democratization' of the media is a welcome development in this era of media consolidation and a corresponding lack of diversity of views in traditional media outlets," said the group, which consists of thirteen Democrats and one Republican.
The FEC ruled in 2002 that Internet activities do not count as "coordinated political activity" and thus don't have to comply with laws that regulate money in politics.
But a U.S. judge struck down that ruling as too broad last year, and the FEC is scheduled to consider it later this month.
If the FEC determines that blogs are in fact political organizations, they could face fines if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases.
FEC spokesman Bob Biersack said the commission would try to craft its new rule as narrowly as possible.
"The Commission has tried very hard for a long time to be as limited in its regulation of Internet activity as it possibly could, so there's no reason to assume that that basic orientation doesn't continue," he said.
ABCNBCCBSCNN are more political organizations that we are...
Who was the Republican?
Thomas Paine lives.
Why is this even an issue? We have freedom of speech - end of story. The FEC can shove it.
We're supposed to have the right to bear arms - yet governments tell us what guns we can and cannot buy, and when and where we can carry them.
We're supposed to have freedom from searches without due process - yet the government can set up roadblocks to check our blood alcohol level without due process.
We're supposed to have a federal government limited by the Tenth Amendment - which is basically a dead letter unless it serves a particular pet cause by the Federalist wing of the Supreme Court - which would be fine and dandy except that same wing almost never saw a violation of the Fourth Amendment that they couldn't condone.
So don't go looking to the Constitution for your freedoms. The federal government sure as heck doesn't any longer.
Websites that actively fundraise in one way or another for a candidate, as several lefty sites (KOS) did in '04, should be be governed under PAC or campaign rules.
Posting copy, discussing and analyzing politicians and campaigns is no more a political activity than going down to the local watering hole on Friday night and doing the same thing.
The real story is that McCain-Feingold is a joke. Repeal it.
The man behind RATHERGATE
FR and other FORUMS should be treated the same as any public debate or perhaps a vigorous discussion at a coffeehouse.
Regulating forums makes about as much sense as regulating chairs for their role in political discussion.
The early reports on this issue indicated the simple act of linking to a campaign site could be considered a payment in kind. Preposterous if you ask me.
Fr-fr-from th-th-the article.
Good (but depressing) post.
IMHO the only questionable organizations are ones like moveon.org, which are sponsored by big donors like Soros.
Wonkette may be an idiot, but as far as I know she's her own idiot, without backing from the DNC or the usual suspects. FreeRepublic is a free association supported by its members.
Under the McCain-Feingold law they could probably close down moveon.org. But frankly McCain-Feingold is unconstitutional. Since SCOTUS is too ideological to admit that, congress should repeal the damnable thing. And get their act together to appoint some decent judges.
This wouldn't affect FR, since it's not a blog.....
If I was to guess .. it's because of the money George Soro's threw into Moveon.org
Depending on how they word the rules??
It sure as heck could effect FR and many other sites
Quoth the maven, nevermore!
Who ever decided that reprinting a press release constitutes "working closely" with a campaign hasn't viewed enough threads here on Free Republic. My experience is that we are equal opportunity press-release bashers and promoters here.
It's the kind of thing our founding fathers envisioned for political debate int his country, but these gummint folks wouldn't understand that I suppose.
One crucial point is that Moveon.org finances TV campaign ads.
Therefore, Moveon.org clearly falls under the jurisdiction of campaign finance laws.
By contrast, no political organization or political advertisement gets a single dollar of support from Free Republic, LLC.
All Free Republic, LLC does is provide a venue for the political opinions of FR registered posters to be posted on the web. In order to read those opinions, the reader must seek them out as they would seek out a newspaper article.
That is 100% Constitutionally protected speech.
Most of the political campaign material that is posted on Free Republic is Left-wing material since that is the material that we attack and chew to bits. :-)
end of story.
The FEC can shove it.
I agree. McCain and Feingold can poke their CFR into that oriface they can't see, and where the sun doesn't shine.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
You are right. That needs repeating. Free Republic is NOT a blog. A fact that the the MSM and even some FReepers are unaware of.
What is so sad is that it is the Democrats leading the fight for our freedom.
Only one Republican signer?
.... Fourteen members of the House of Representatives said blogs foster a welcome diversity of viewpoints....You Bet!!!...that's the P.C. way of saying....the blogs kick ass!
What a joke. FR a "political organization?" Hah! You can tell they weren't lurking during the Buchanan Wars.
Thirteen dems and 1 pubbie are pushing this.
Why are dems pushing this? I mean, of course, they stand to gain from it, but it's not really like them to take a stand so avidly in this way.
bump to read later
Dems to the rescue? File this under "Blind squirrel finds nut, film at 11."
What a ridiculous guideline! Any political/news discussion group is automatically going to reprint news releases and other things that come out of campaigns....both sides, as a matter of fact.
This would be bald-faced, government censorship of DISCUSSION. It would clearly be an unconstitutional act, and I will support FR if it were to fight this. Count on me for a donation if (when) the call comes.
"If the FEC determines that blogs are in fact political organizations, they could face fines if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases."
What does this example really mean, if simply posting an article as a 'talking point' for a group makes it a PAC, then they'd better be ready to crackdown across a wide range of groups. I visit a wide range of forums and see many 'press releases' posted regarding politics and some of these groups, under the courts rulings, would have NO idea they could be considered a PAC subject to fines.
Now the example they gave was simply posting for discussion, right? How would this affect Freepers etc. wanting to organize rallys or protests through the forum...I suspect we couldn't, without risking putting the entire site at risk for fine$$$$.
What about the recent study that indicated that some 34% of the election coverage was tilted by the main stream media? Clearly the FEC has bigger fish to fry than some lowly blogger site trying to balance the view?
The governement is not defining 'blog' as wikepedia has it defined, they're using something much broader as a definition. Does anybody know how the court actually defined blog? I am suprised more Repubs. are not on board with this, as it is my humble opinion it was the blogs that got the truth out for Bush. If blogs didn't exist this last election cycle, well....
I think alot more D's are more familiar with the "internets" than Bush and the Republicans. RNC needs a formal training class on technology and how to communicate because they have been downright pathetic.
At journalist conventions, they've repeatedly admitted to political favoritism, advocating for causes and wanting to 'change the world'.
Bloggers are folks that keep a public journal -- journalists.
What exactly is the issue? I see none.
As I stated, it was my opinion, not a fact. But if I hadn't found FR in the last few days of the campaign...I wouldn't have even voted (Note I live in a highly Dem. area). FR was the only place I found sufficient facts to back up my own observations.
True, I find I'm much better informed on the activities of the left from reading FreeRepublic than the lefties I know who claim allegiance to NPR... still they've got all the bumperstickers. ;-)
Amazing. Liberals in favor of free speech. I am absolutely flabbergasted. Gobsmacked, even.
Maybe not your definition of a blog....but it can easily be defined as such.
* There's a time-stamp on each post. That's a log.
* It's on the web. It's a web-log.
It's a blog with thousands of posters instead of the two or three of iraqthemodel.com.
Don't try to hide behind a definition for protection from a law-grab. There's a section in each law called "definition" and they can write whatever they want in there.
FR is a blog.
You have to watch this left-handed 'no law' laws.
They recently passed a 'no tax' law for interent... except voice over IP.
This was in fact NOT a 'no tax' law, but actually the FIRST TAX law for internet. Next they exempt sales tax (exempt from the 'no tax' law, i mean)... then they exempt something else..
It is easier to pass a law sying 'no taxes' (when that is what everyone wants) and then start to slowly 'exempt' things from the law you just passed.
Remember- the INCOME TAX law (consitutional ammendment) was passed as a tax on 1/2 of 1% of all income over $1million. Back in 1917 (I think that is when it was) very few people made that much- but the door was then open, and look what we have now.
Correct - it is called free speech.
Just the "progressives" making up rules to keep the obviously dying mainstream media hanging onto the sinking raft.