You could make the same argument for newspapers. There’s a limited number of trees and the more people who want to print a newspaper drive up the price of wood pulp for everyone.
I don’t think this argument holds up to scrutiny. There isn’t really a saturation of political marketing at this point. That is, no one is buying up literally all of the airtime in any market, as far as I know. Political ads are buying airtime in competition with every other type of advertising. Purchasing that time is not preventing anyone else from doing so.
Again, you are kind of handwaving away the very real issues which come from extension of what you are suggesting, in that in order to actually make a truly “level” playing field in this regard, you are essentially requiring that the government completely regulate essentially all speech, since there is no clear line which divides such things from other expression.
What about someone like Rupert Murdoch? He owns a ton of media outlets. How can you limit HIS expression? Even if you somehow limited his expression of overt political advocacy, you could never regulate more nuanced forms of bias. Thus, extremely powerful media owners end up having their influence magnified, while you artificially limit the speech of everyone else.
And this doesn’t even touch upon the fact that the government itself cannot really be trusted to make decisions about what types of expression are ok, and what isn’t. That’s exactly why we have the 1st amendment, to prevent the government from regulating it.
Yes, you can, trees or no trees. Media outlets have a similarly far-reaching effect on speech, because they are capable of amplifying or dampening all speech in modern society. Are you saying you think the current system of media run by corporations trying to get eyeballs and clicks is a paragon of free speech protection?
Kind of… he was a popular figure, but wasn’t really a whig at all. He didn’t endorse their political platform, and indeed, largely just didn’t give a crap about politics. This ended up feeding the problems that eventually manifested as the civil war, because he didn’t really provide any executive leadership while Congress fell into disarray.
He wasn’t Trump-esque in terms of being a monster… But he was so in terms of not being a Whig, as Trump is not really a Republican… and in terms of his political disinterest hurting the country overall.
I got this.
So the short answer is: basically yes. The longer answer I plot out here
and the source where I cribbed parts of my writeup from:
It’s long, but very good.
I know I can’t afford to buy an ad slot (or to produce an ad to go in it) and other people can, and their desire to do so increases the price for me to do so. That seems like it is impinging on my speech, or at the very least saying that rich people’s speech is more important than mine.
I would be requiring some amount of government regulation, yes, but just because pure equality might be impossible, that doesn’t mean something closer to equality shouldn’t be attempted. Banning dark money, adding requirements about the affiliations of those behind an ad, and adding some standard of truthfulness in political advertising that even attempts to approach the one for marketing a product seem like good starts.
Well, you could make all major media organizations non-profits with an oversight board committed to fact-based reporting, but of course the facts have a liberal bias so no one would want that… At some stage, you can’t prevent every bad actor from using whatever advantages they have against other people, but just like with guns, the solution isn’t to just throw up your hands and arm everyone and let God sort them out. I believe a system of media checks and balances akin to the ones that were important for government itself is the best way to go, but before we can even have that discussion, we need to have the power to make laws that regulate this behavior.
There’s a long way between government regulation of expression and government regulation of individual volume. I can’t stand in my neighbors’ yard screaming obscenities at them, yet no one sees that as an inappropriate limitation on my speech. All I’m talking about is adding some rules that help keep people with megaphones from using them irresponsibly.
That’s easy enough to get around. Just write a law banning advertising by all pro-choice organizations.
No, I don’t think that’s really a legitimate argument.
First, the price of advertising time is not based upon political speech. It is merely the same as any other advertising. The cost of buying a billboard, for instance, is the same regardless of what you want to put up on it. And I don’t think that political advertising causes some major swing in pricing. That is, I don’t believe that a case can be made that one side advertising actually has a manipulative impact on the pricing of airtime. You could perhaps try to make that argument, but I don’t believe there is actual empirical data to back that assertion up.
Again, you are talking about laying down regulations on ALL speech, because there is no real differentiation between the speech you are talking about as problematic, and any other expression. You are imagining a division of type, where none exists.
Political ads are merely an expression of an idea, or preference. You are suggesting that the government regulate all expressions of opinions.
That is antithetical to the very core of the 1st amendment.
Again, the same thing. You’re advocating having the government control all public expression. This is exactly what the 1st Amendment is specifically designed to prohibit.
Well, in this example, you cannot stand in your neighbor’s yard because you would be trespassing. You can’t shout constantly in a public space, because that expression is inherently disruptive to other peoples’ lives. But you are absolutely allowed to express yourself in a way which is not disruptive. You can absolutely print up a million pamphelets and hand them out, or mail them to people.
You are trying to prevent people from expressing themselves, because you don’t like what they say, and think that their ideas shouldn’t receive that much exposure. But the reason we have the 1st amendment, is because the government should not be the one to dictate it. Because if you allow the government to regulate such things, then if bad men get into power, they would be able to abuse that power to damage the republic.
I didn’t say anything was a ‘paragon’ of anything. I don’t even know what you are arguing here. Are you saying that corporation owned media should also be eliminated? That only single individual produced speech should be protected?
If so, I disagree entirely and honestly think that is basically an insane position. If your argument is something different can you clarify since I am missing it. I don’t see how you could possibly create an enforceable or consistent set of rules for what is ‘click-bait’ and how it is not protected speech. Speech you don’t like or don’t value isn’t unprotected speech, it is the speech that needs to be the most protected. I hate basically everything coming out of the alt-right media but I think it is insane to try and take away their protection without thinking it will take away the protection from everyone.
The Supreme Court has been very consistent that Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Press apply to individual and corporate media speech. I think that is perfectly reasonable and is good for society.
[quote=“ravenight, post:3085, topic:78530”]restricting what someone can spend money to say is the same as restricting what that person can say, and thus is a free speech violation. But if me spending money to say something prevents 10 other people from saying what they want to say (and it does - there’s a limited amount of advertising bandwidth, and the price is based on demand, right?)
I think you misunderstand the first amendment. Only the government is restricted from limiting your speech. The media can refuse to publish whatever they want, for whatever reason. Your giving money to them (and thus crowding out someone else) has always been legitimate.
And how could it work otherwise? Do you suggest that the media be required to broadcast whatever anyone sends them, from Time Cube to Breitbart? That’s unworkable.
I think if you read over Justice Steven’s dissent on the Citizens United ruling, you’ll understand my position on Citizens United.
The fact that corporations are different from human beings might
seem to need no elaboration, except that the majority opinion almost
completely elides it.
Austin set forth some of the basic differences. Unlike natural persons,
corporations have “limited liability” for their owners and managers,
“perpetual life,” separation of ownership and control, “and favorable
treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets … that enhance
their ability to attract capital and to deploy their resources in ways
that maximize the return on their shareholders’ investments.
Unlike voters in U. S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled.
It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no
beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help
structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and
their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they
are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our
Constitution was established.
This is probably the biggest beef I have with the whole thing. Corporations, while they may have interest in the outcome of the elections, are very dissimilar to the voters that will live with the candidates they support.
That’s true. But paradoxically, corporations are the best way for the masses to counteract the influence of the elite. Getting rid of those voices would concentrate political power, not equalize it.
Again: if we neutered the political power of Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, etc, why would any politician care what you think (assuming you are not Warren Buffet)? This isn’t Italy, so it’s not like you have a choice of viable leftist parties to fine-tune the message you want to send. So a politician wouldn’t have to win your approval, they would just need you to disapprove of their opponent more.
Well, the elite would be counteracted by other elite. At least they are equally human, though their wealth may make it feel like they are living in a different world that the rest of us. Additionally, those elites would not be able to hide their political contributions as well. Wealthy persons now, under citizens united, can contribute and enjoy the protections that a corporation grants them.
The government should be upholding the freedom of speech - there are plenty of examples of protections being afforded to groups who freedoms are imperiled by non-governmental forces. The freedom of speech of people without a megaphone is imperiled by the volume of the megaphones that people do have. Therefore, some effort to protect that speech seems appropriate, right?
So an unregulated market is the only possible way of determining who gets to say what? I don’t agree. If that’s the best system, then why don’t we simply sell shares of House and Senate seats?
There does not have to be a strong effect for the effect to be there: speech is not zero-sum, but it is not completely independent either. You can’t possibly argue that the desire to buy advertising time for political campaigns doesn’t affect the price of advertising time in an election year, but even if opponents of this line of reasoning cited a lack of evidence (i.e., required a detail study of the effects instead of just econ 101), the argument stands: if you can have ads and I can’t, you have more speech than me. For protected speech, that is important because the whole point of protecting speech is to allow people’s opinions to be heard by others; it automatically disadvantages everyone who can’t afford to speak.
There are ways to differentiate between forms of speech that would still leave regulations with a positive effect. For example, if there was a standard of truth in advertising that applied to political ads not just ads for commercial products. Or if there was simply a better mechanism than cold, hard cash for deciding who gets to speak. The idea isn’t to prevent people from saying what they want to say (within similar limits of obscenity and public good as other limitations on speech), it is to prevent them from shouting down all the other voices. And yes, this would lead to more ability for racism and other negative speech to propagate (like it does on unregulated media like Twitter), but it would still be a net positive for the non-rich classes and more in keeping with the idea of Freedom of Speech.
I’m advocating that they regulate and limit public expression. They already do this, I just want it to apply to using money to amplify speech the same way it applies to using lies and charisma to swindle people, inappropriately yelling “fire” when it might cause injuries, or revealing information that might harm the US.
Right, I agree that you can’t limit based on nebulous concepts about the content. What you can do is, a) set up a system by which political ads can be held accountable for false statements - this requires more than just “well, you can sue for libel,” it needs something more like the CFPB, b) set up a standardized way of declaring the interests of those responsible for ads or even reporting, like we do with financial news & opinion, and c) set up a system by which advertising for political purposes is curated that doesn’t depend on dollars changing hands. The second could be something akin to proxy voting for corporations, where representatives would use the votes they had been given to upvote specific ads or stories (or people who want to spend more time on it could go in and do this themselves) to widen their circulation. Would that work? I have no f’ing clue. But it seems like it would be better than the current system. Not likely that a for-profit media outlet would do it, though, unless they thought it would increase profits.
I prefer not to live in an oligarchy. My only hope for effective political expression lies through non profit advocates.
Anonymity is fine with me. We can express ourselves anonymously here, for example, and I wouldn’t want that to change. And I doubt we would have achieved such rapid progress in gay rights if all gay rights supporters were forced to reveal their identities.
I read earlier today that facial recognition technology is now being used to identify people who show up at BLM rallies. That bothers me, does it bother you?
Damn you all for having what looks like a good discussion about Citizens United in the Trump thread.
I don’t have time to really dig into it at the moment and once the debate hits it’ll all end up buried.
Who is arguing for that, though? We’re talking about the ability to regulate the ability of corporations to spend money on political campaigns, not proposing that we eliminate the ability of corporations to engage in every activity that touches the political sphere.
(Note too that your examples are off-target. The primary purpose of both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood is not spending money to influence campaigns, or even plain old lobbying. They actually spend most of their efforts on other things - providing services in the case of Planned Parenthood, dealing with legal issues in the case of the ACLU)
These arguments are like responding to neighborhood citizens saying they need speed limits on a busy street with the argument that it’s impossible both because the City Council doesn’t have the authority to ban automobiles, and they would be tyrants if they did.
It’s fine on a message board, not so much in an investing advice column… The Center For Children and the Future advocating for charter schools takes on a different tone if it is clear that it is a private group funded by the owners of charter schools vs. a member-supported non-profit education think tank. The biggest problem with the way we tackle issues currently is that for most people there isn’t time to actually explain details, so most advocacy is simply “so-and-so, who you should trust, says this thing is good / bad.” If you don’t know who the authorities cited are, you have no way to judge which of them to trust, so you just go with one cited by people you already like or who slips in the appropriate tribal signals.
First, no, you would have to establish that there is in fact some non trivial relationship to price, as a direct result of political spending, in order for you to establish what you were trying to lay out. Otherwise, one person’s spending does not in fact limit another’s. The mere existence of market forces does not support the notion of market manipulation, which is what you are suggesting. Your argument is akin to saying that if I buy food, I am forcing you to starve, because my purchase causes some trivial increase in demand which impacts pricing.
Second, your statement here that if I choose to express myself, and you do not, then somehow that constitutes an infringement on your speech, is nonsensical on its face. Expression is a choice to convert one’s resources into a manifested form. You could go out and spend all your time calling up people, going on get out the vote efforts, etc. Or you could choose not to. But your choice is not contingent upon mine. If I choose to do more or less, that’s my choice to make. You are essentially suggesting that no one should be allowed to expend more resources than that which the least willing or capable member of society is willing to expend.
That really isn’t how a free society works. You are kind of drifting into totalitarianism, under the common and yet misguided belief that totalitarianism is fine as long as it’s benevolent. Because it never stays benevolent.
There is no way you could create or enforce such a standard. Even ignoring the obvious reality that, whether you may not want to admit it, one side is not simply “true” while the other is “false”, bias can exist in an infinite set of less obvious forms. Simple omission can alter a narrative without actually being “false”.
As soon as you find out what that mythical mechanism is, let us know.
Again, you are leaning on a notion which I do not believe you have supported. You are suggesting that somehow, one person’s exercise of their speech rights is inherently infringing upon yours. You will need to go to greater lengths to actually establish this is true, because it is not something which is as obviously true as you are suggesting.
No, the limitations on speech are EXTREMELY narrow and well defined. Your assertion that the government already does this in some kind of widespread manner, is false.
The chief factor which allows for government limitation on speech, is whether the speech contains an expression of an idea.
This is why you can’t yell fire in a movie theater… because such a statement is not an expression of your political views or ideas. Speaking itself, is not in fact a protected right. What’s protected is the expression of ideas. And your suggestion that the government should regulate how those ideas are expressed, is antithetical to the purpose of the 1st amendment. This is pretty well established in constitutional law at this point. It is not likely to change, nor should it.