May 19, 2010

Congress attempts to gag bloggers with a sneaky provision in DISCLOSE Act.

"Last week, a congressional hearing exposed an effort to give another agency—the Federal Election Commission—unprecedented power to regulate political speech online. At a House Administration Committee hearing last Tuesday, Patton Boggs attorney William McGinley explained that the sloppy statutory language in the “DISCLOSE Act” would extend the FEC’s control over broadcast communications to all “covered communications,” including the blogosphere.  ...  The bill, however, would radically redefine how the FEC regulates political commentary. A section of the DISCLOSE Act would exempt traditional media outlets from coordination regulations, but the exemption does not include bloggers, only “a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication…”  More here.  (1)

In other words, they will leave the MSM a.k.a. government propaganda outlets with some lattitude but be able to control or intimidate with legal action the alternative media.

As Ed Morrisey pointed out, "If the Democrats in Congress wanted to ensure that the FEC would not investigate political speech by bloggers, they would have written their exemptions to include bloggers instead of just traditional media outlets. The purposeful lack of exemption for bloggers looks ominous indeed — and could be used to harass smaller, unfunded bloggers out of the realm of political debate." More here.  (2)

The bullying never stops.  But it can be understood.  You can take the man out of Chicago but you cannot take Chicago out of the man.  The question is, "Can we stop them in time?"

References:
1.  How the DISCLOSE Act will restrict free speech by Bradley Smith & Jeff Patch
May 18, 2010 at http://reason.com/archives/2010/05/18/from-banning-books-to-banning
2.  Congress about to limit political speech of bloggers? May 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/19/congress-about-to-limit-political-speech-of-bloggers

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