Tuesday, August 02, 2005

With Friends Like These . . .

According to Mark Hyman, some of the best critics are bloggers on the web.

We appreciate the shout-out Mark, but we still must take issue with your commentary on the McCain-Feingold legislation (and not just because of the tangent you go on when you kiss up to Matt Drudge).

Hyman addresses an interesting subject in this editorial, but does it in an uninteresting way. The topic of how campaign finance reform might affect online sources of information (including blogs by individuals) is one that deserves thoughtful analysis. Unfortunately, Hyman gives us his all-too-typical fear mongering.

Hyman claims that the “onerous” McCain-Feingold legislation (looks like someone’s been using his thesaurus!) would put a “gag” on internet speech. Moreover, Hyman claims that this wouldn’t simply be an unfortunate by-product of sloppy legislation, but that this censorship is exactly what the legislation is intended to do.

There are certainly reasons to be concerned about possible consequences for political commentary on the web, but the idea that people behind this legislation are out to censor individual bloggers is plain dopey. Senator Feingold himself has laid out his position on the matter, making clear he feels individual free speech on the internet is a positive thing. The problem is when major political players use websites as a ruse to get around campaign finance regulations.

Does that make McCain-Feingold a great thing? Not necessarily, but the idea that the legislation is an overt effort to squelch individual political speech on the web, or that it could not be enforced with adequate safeguards and limitations to protect individual bloggers, is silly.

But it’s not hard to understand why Hyman & Co. would be against McCain-Feingold, and in particular why Hyman would single out the Center for Responsive Politics for name-calling. The CRP (whom Hyman calls an “advocate of censorship” for backing McCain-Feingold) is the organization behind opensecrets.org, the best source on the web to find out who gives money to what political candidates.

When I first started figuring out who and what Sinclair Broadcasting was, opensecrets.org was one of my first stop. Most of you probably know what I found out there: Sinclair executives have given huge amounts of money to their Republican friends, and virtually nothing to Democrats.

Meaningful campaign finance legislation would make it more difficult for Sinclair to line the pockets of favorite politicians, not to mention make it harder to pass off propaganda as “news.”

I hate to be cynical, but do you think it might be possible that Hyman is more concerned about Sinclair’s continued ability to fund right-wing pals than with my ability to offer political commentary on my blog?

I’m just wondering . . .

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.00


Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.