News Does the First Amendment Cover Books, Movies or Netflix?

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by the G-man, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. the G-man

    the G-man Lawyers, Guns and Money Gold

    Aug 22, 2015
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    Not according to some Democrats:

    Back in August, Netflix added a couple of political movies to its streaming service. The first was Funny or Die Presents: Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie—an entertaining, extended jab at this year's GOP presidential nominee. The second was Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

    The question America now must ask itself is simple: Should Netflix be allowed to do this?

    The answer to that, you might think, should be obvious. And yet to three members of the Federal Election Commission, it is anything but.

    In the instance at hand, it was not the Republicans but the Democrats who shrank from endorsing what should be the fundamental right to distribute movies. After all, the Supreme Court has made it plain that "moving pictures, like newspapers and radio, are included in the press whose freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment."

    Regarding that point Lee Goodman, one of the three Republican members (and a former counsel to the Virginia GOP), recently tried to have some language—just a few words, actually—inserted into a notice of proposed rulemaking. The language would have made it clear that the "press exemption" in campaign-finance regulations applies not only to newspapers, magazines, and TV but also to movies, books, and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

    That campaign-finance regulations have a "press exemption" in the first place is what poker players would call a tell, and what you and I would call a dead giveaway. The exemption is necessary because without it newspapers, TV networks, and similar media would routinely be in violation of the law whenever they carried anything that might be construed as support for, or opposition to, a political candidate. They are, after all, corporations—and campaign finance laws strictly limit corporate involvement in elections.

    The media exemption helps explain why most coverage of campaign-finance regulation paints it as woefully inadequate: Media organizations can agitate for restrictions on political speech by other types of corporations, secure in the knowledge that they enjoy special protection from the rules that apply to everyone else.

    But that could change if the makeup of the FEC ever changes. When The New York Times lashed out at the FEC for being an "impotent joke" and demanded that it be replaced by a new agency—one that can be stacked in favor of more regulation—FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel tweeted, "Finally: my concerns are being heard." (Translation: Head of Government Agency Agrees Government Agency Should Have More Power.)

    When Goodman proposed language stipulating that books, movies, and streaming services should be treated according to the same First Amendment principles that protect newspapers and magazines, Ravel joined her two Democratic colleagues in opposition.

    In another recent case, a right-wing movie-maker made a movie, "Dreams From My Real Father," contending that Barack Obama is really the son of a communist, and then mailed millions of copies to voters in swing states. (The premise was so ridiculous that it actually turned off Republicans in a focus group.)

    When a complaint against the movie was lodged at the FEC, the three Republican commissioners ruled that it was covered by the media exemption. The three Democratic commissioners ruled otherwise.

    The other reason to be alarmed is that the Democratic members of the FEC seem to think they can, as Goodman puts it, "sit in judgment of ... news directors' editorial criteria"—and that while they can do so only rarely at present, they would like to do it much more.

    They might just get the chance. Hillary Clinton has promised that, if elected, she will propose a constitutional amendment in her first 30 days so that the First Amendment no longer can limit the reach of campaign-finance law. If she does, the media might finally wake up to the implications of such a proposal. But by that point, it might be too late.
  2. Quality Control

    Quality Control dove

    Feb 3, 2015
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    It only covers those things in places where people don't use daylight savings times.
    TheMercenary likes this.
  3. Hamster

    Hamster Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2014
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    I hate to agree with Howard but the FCC was created in a time when people had limited understanding of the airwaves. No one dreamed that at some point you'd be able to pick and choose (and pay) for what you listened to.... oh and that funny radio with a picture on it just might be something short lived.

    There was a genuine fear of one-sidedness or brainwashing communist type of propaganda being shoved down the throats of the masses so they tried to do all of this with the Fairness Doctrine, limiting Station ownership, and things of this nature, you see.

    It all needs to be thrown out and start from scratch.