26 March 2005

Bloggers Covered Under Media Exemption

It seems that the statements by Commissioner Bradley Smith of the FEC were a bit pre-mature. He stated, "the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over." I guess that he didn't poll the whole Commission before making those statements. Yesterday, 2 of the 6 Commissioners made public their proposals regarding rules changes at the FEC. Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub and Commission Vice Chairman Michael E. Toner both released statements on the proposed changes in the rules regarding the internet. The bottom line of both is, that blogging is covered under the media exemption to the law. Since Commissioner Smith's comments last month, the Commission and Congress have been bombarded with emails concerned with free speech objections. I think that we can consider this a victory regardless of which political ideology you subscribe to. Commissioner Toner stated, "Bloggers on both the left and the right are increasingly serving as important checks on traditional media outlets." And Commissioner Wientraub states, "...the focus of this agency is campaign finance. We are not the speech police. The FEC does not tell private citizens what they can and cannot say on the internet and elsewhere." She does go on to address the issue of political advertising and spam emailing which is something that I would hope all of us are against. So to our political opponents I will say way to go. And to my friends I say, We Will Never Be Silenced! As the President of the NRA, Mr. Charlton Heston once said, "From my cold dead hands..". Read the Reports V. Chairman Toner Commissioner Weintraub
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