Monday, July 11, 2005

The Media Loophole

Stupider and stupider:

"Bloggers want it both ways," said Carol Darr, head of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University. "They want to preserve their rights as political activists, donors and even fundraisers -- activities regulated by campaign finance laws -- yet, at the same time, enjoy the broad exemptions from the campaign finance laws afforded to traditional journalists."

She and others said they fear that giving bloggers those protections would create a legal loophole that corporations, unions and wealthy individuals could use to pour big money into politics. A company or union, for example, would be able to create or subsidize elaborate blogs attacking political candidates. Or it could create hard-hitting Web videos that, as the popular "Jib Jab" video ridiculing both President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) indicated last year, can attract large audiences.

political activists: Many media figures are activists by any definition of the word.
donors: Um, being in the media doesn't prevent you from donating to candidates. You're subject to the same limits/disclosure laws as anyone else.
fundraisers: Unless we decide that a link has "value" and assign a cost to that value, which would pretty much shut down all internet political speech, I've always been subject to the same campaign finance laws regarding fundraisers as anyone else.

As for "Jib Jab" or anything else like it, the only reason anyone saw it was because CNN played it 24/7 with Bill Hemmer intoning "Jib Jib is brilliant" every 15 seconds. Again, if there's a problem it's abuses by existing media, not the internet.

I really think Carol Darr snacks on mercury chips. If "non-media" corporations want to explot the media loophole they're free to buy television and cable stations (General electric, ABC, Microsoft), online magazines (Slate, owned by Microsoft until recently), etc... If they have 10 million dollars to throw around, they're not going to waste it on the ultimate website.