Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Free Speech Under Attack

The wolf comes wearing sheep's clothing. American newspapers are faltering for their refusal to evolve (covered in this previous post), and here comes a US Senator, offering to 'help'. From Reuters report:
With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements. (Emphasis supplied.)

From time to time, I feel the need to remind readers that I am a former Democrat. This becomes necessary because I so frequently write about things economic, and because I defend the free market as generally the best solution to issues surrounding exchange, I get pegged as a Republican of some sort.

No, I was a Democrat. My biggest issue was the 1st Amendment. So, the first big doubts I ever had with the Democratic Party came in the late 1980s, when Al Gore's wife, Tipper Gore, began railing against music with salty lyrics. It hit me like a total betrayal. I was always told by my fellow Dems that it was the Republicans who had fascistic tendencies. So, how to explain Tipper Gore?

So, this just looks like part of a continuum to me. Just as Republicans love to enjoy the reputation of being free marketeers and friends of smaller government, but aren't, Democrats love to enjoy the undeserved reputation of being steadfast defenders of free speech.

In either case, D or R, the commitment is to government control. This bill is an attempt to worm control into the newspapers, as government worms into anything- slowly, and in the guise of 'help'.

I'm glad there are no co-sponsors to date.

Note to my Democratic friends: Your party is becoming just as drunk with power as the Republicans were after the 2002 elections. Be on guard! You need to smack your party down, lest they go the way the Republicans went, crossing their base over and over again, especially on the things the base is correct about, to the extent that you eventually lose the entire middle.

Here's the text of the First Amendment, for those who need the refresher, including Senator Cardin:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Emphasis supplied.)

Pretty simple.


varangianguard said...

You just noticed the "drunk on power" thingy? I noticed right off with calls for whipping the blue dogs until they into yellow dogs.

varangianguard said...

turned into...tsk, tsk.

Mike Kole said...

Well, believe it or not, I've held back on using that term. There is no doubt that the Republicans trashed their brand and the Democrats won large, and felt that they had something of a mandate in many places. I wouldn't disagree terribly, but they are doing things very rapidly to alienate, and as you point out, the trashing of the Blue Dogs, without whom they couldn't have won sweeping power, is telling.

I guess I'm just a deliberate, reserved kinda guy.

varangianguard said...

And modest. Don't forget that. ;)