I am not the enemy of the free press. Rather, I claim it as the right of citizens that corporations inherited from flesh and blood and not the other way around.
Newspapers and broadcasters are owned by corporations and their board members sit on the boards of many commpanies. They depend on advertising dollars for much of their income and fewer and fewer, often international, companies own them all. What reason should we the people believe they are not a special interest looking after the best interest of their own bottom line or the bottom lines of the corporations they are owned by, or advertise for? Media bias is no more valid than any other citizens. But these bastards are so twisted they would call Mt. Everest a level playing field, so long as they have exclusive rights to the summit.
Following reports of serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. The 1974 amendments also established an independent agencythe Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the law, facilitate disclosure and administer the public funding program. Congress made further amendments to the FECA in 1976 following a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo ; major amendments were also made in 1979 to streamline the disclosure process and expand the role of political parties.
Our nations largest and most powerful newspaper chains used Richard Nixons political weaknesses to their advantage:
Some of our nations largest newspapers found themself in federal court losing antitrust suits which accused them of purchasing financially troubled newspapers and pretending to compete with them while actually rigging prices.
1. Richard Nixon and his attorney general were on record as strongly opposed to the passage of the Newspaper Preservation Act. The Newspaper Preservation Act was working its way through congress and was designed to grant antitrust relief to the affected newspapers.
Randolph Hearst wrote a letter to president Nixon as his re-election approached reminding President Nixon that the Cox, Howard Scripts and Hearst Newspaper chains published in those states that had the largest number of electoral votes. The letter reminded President Nixon that it would be difficult to be re-elected without their editorial support.
President Nixon reversed his position and used his political skills to convince congress to pass the newspaper preservation act. Newspapers in the parlance of our existing Federal election laws had co-ordinated their endorsements with the needs of president Nixons Re-election committee in return for his support for the Newspaper Preservation Act. see pgs.95-99 The Media Monopoly 5th edition paperback by Ben Bagdikian
I think offering positive editorials and endorsements for favourable consideration by the President qualify as a serious financial abuse and should result in campaign finance reform legislation banning "corporate media contributions" for political purposes and thereby limiting the disproportionate influence of wealthy individuals and special interest groups on the outcome of federal elections? After all corporate newspaper chains and media cartels are often owned by multinational conglomerates, or even foreign nationals. Board members of these media conglomerates sit on interlocking boards of advertisers and can hardly be considered impartial!
Instead, Congress inserted 2 USC 431(9)(B)(i) (also known as the Press Exemption Act). Instead of censure the media monopolies got an attaboy. They enjoy unrestricted freedom of the press and broadcast. Their endorsements were declared without value, even though the un- endorsed must pay advertising fees for equal space. They are free to interview candidates before they say favourable things about one and criticize another. Yet if an individual or grassroots organization does the same, they have committed co-ordination and are limited to $1000 expenditures. A virtual information monopoly for corporations that buy ink by the barrel and a muzzle for citizens and organizations that buy ink by the bottle! All this in the name of a level playing field?
The 1864 Legal Dictionary definition of newspaper is: a piece of paper on which is caused to be printed a advertisement or information for the purpose of distributing it to the public. Does'nt this mean that a pamphlet written by a citizen and copied at Kinkos should enjoy the same freedom of the press as the Courier Journal or the Lexington Herald Leader?
Now Congress and the corporate media would have us believe that the founding fathers granteed freedom of the press only to corporations..
(9) (A) The term "expenditure" includes -
(i) any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance,
deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, made by any
person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal
(ii) a written contract, promise, or agreement to make an
(B) The term "expenditure" does not include -
(i) any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed
through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper,
magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities
are owned or controlled by any political party, political
committee, or candidate;
In my youth in Louisville, Kentucky we had two newspapers. One paper was a Democrat rag and the other a Republican. It was normal for regional newspapers, representing the views of different parties, to compete with each other for the same readership, until the 1950s. Newspapers, grassroots organizations and individuals were equally free to compete in the marketplace of ideas until FECA was established in 1974. Now we have this revisionist history.