Sunday, January 24, 2010

Free Speech = $$$$$

Here's Mitch McConnell on "Meet the Press" regarding this week's Supreme Court decision, giving corporations carte blanche to spend as much as they want to smear candidates they don't like. (Transcript here.) Host David Gregory has just asked McConnell if he thinks this will benefit Democrats or Republicans.

SEN. McCONNELL: Well, I don't know who it benefits, but it's an important victory for the First Amendment. Right now if you're General Electric and you own NBC, you can say anything you want to about any candidate right up to the day of the election. But if you're a corporation or a union that doesn't own a media outlet, you haven't been able to. So you've had this big gap in the First Amendment applying one standard to media-owned corporations, another standard to unions and corporations that don't own media outlets. Now the Supreme Court has said the First Amendment is for everyone. I think that's a step in the right direction.

Say what?

This isn't bullshit but it is serious spin. He makes a fair point about some corporations owning media outlets and others not owning them. (They just give to the candidates directly.) But the issue here isn't corporation vs. corporation. It's corporation vs. common citizen, the former a legal construct created by the state and the latter the subject of all of those supposed protections in the Constitution.

McConnell is basically saying that everything is fair now because Exxon/Mobil can now spend as much as GE to get its message out. But can I spend that much?

Well, I suppose I can. All I need is several billion dollars and I can have the same rights as Exxon/Mobil or GE. "Saying something", which is protected under the First Amendment, has now officially been equated with "spending buttloads of cash to influence an election".

David Gregory, of course, just lets the statement stand and doesn't once mention the effect on regular people.

Thanks, David, for your hard-hitting journalism. No wonder McConnell is like a barnacle on your freaking show.

1 comment:

Mrs. Chili said...

This terrifies me but really, it's been happening for so long - that corporations and other entities (hello? The churches and Prop H8?) have undue influence over our political landscape - that it's really business as usual, isn't it? Now it's just sanctioned business.