Friday, March 04, 2005

The War on Blogging, Part I

It appears certain members of the Federal Election Commission are suddenly interested in reigning in the uncontrollable voices of the blogosphere, according to someone who ought to know: FEC member Bradley Smith.

Smith, an avowed friend of the Pajamahadeen, gives a chilling interview to Declan McCullagh, of the C/NET tech news site, under the headline "The Coming Crackdown on Blogging." Concerned about the impact of a federal court ruling that on its face would mandate FEC regulation of "political activity" on the internet, Smith fears the days of the free-wheeling political speech of the blogosphere may be numbered. You should read it all, but here's a taste:

It's going to be a battle, and if nobody in Congress is willing to stand up and say, "Keep your hands off of this, and we'll change the statute to make it clear," then I think grassroots Internet activity is in danger. The impact would affect e-mail lists, especially if there's any sense that they're done in coordination with the campaign. If I forward something from the campaign to my personal list of several hundred people, which is a great grassroots activity, that's what we're talking about having to look at.

Senators McCain and Feingold have argued that we have to regulate the Internet, that we have to regulate e-mail. They sued us in court over this and they won.

Here we have clear evidence of bipartisan Luddism as it pertains to the rights of free speech and press. John McCain is so concerned about his image as a maverick hero among the MSM chattering classes that he seemingly has sold his soul to the devil of campaign finance "reform", which is just another way of saying "government control of people with whom I disagree." Thus McCain more often helps the liberal cause than those espoused by his own party.

Democrats thought they would own Al Gore's internet (heh) but the internet represents freedom, and freedom belongs to no one party. It merely helps those who best understand it. Liberals are more interested in bread and circuses than the free exchange of ideas. They would rather champion universal access to online porn than universal access to unfettered, uncensored political thought.

Perhaps the thinking is that by attacking the blogging community now, while it is still relatively young and not well connected in the halls of power, it can be put on a leash to do the masters' bidding. For the sake of the rights of all Americans, we cannot afford to lose this fight.

In that light, let us refer you to Captain Ed over at Captain's Quarters, who delves into the nuances of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. (The short version, he says, is that "(T)he BCRA is bad law, unconstitutional, and an unconscionable infringement on free political speech.") He also has some suggestions about blog-storming Congress.

Whether you are a blog-author or a blog-reader, you have a dog in this hunt. If the media power brokers and their allies in Congress have their way, we will return to the bad old days of MSM monopoly, with only talk radio standing in the way.


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