Drudge Report, Infowars in the crosshairs
May 7, 2014
The federal government may soon try to use election laws to stifle the freedom of the press and online dissent from purveyors of so-called “right-wing” news, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission has warned.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, FEC Chairman Lee. E. Goodman said that government officials are feeling pressured to align their interests with those of “conservative publishers,” eroding the “left’s media monopoly.”
“I think there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” Goodman told Examiner editor Paul Bedard.
Media outlets, like political action committees, have long been exempt from FEC rules and to this point have been free to endorse or attack whichever candidate they choose, however, with the advent of the Internet, the government has witnessed the news landscape tilt in favor of conservative media.
“The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” Goodman said.
Pointing to the highly influential Drudge Report, Goodman says there may soon come a time when exemptions are selectively enforced now that independent sites “can compete with the big boys..”
“[It] matters to me because I see the future going to the democratization of media largely through the internet. They can compete with the big boys now, and I have seen storm clouds that the second you start to regulate them, there is at least the possibility or indeed proclivity for selective enforcement, so we need to keep the media free and the internet free,” Goodman stated.
Goodman also highlighted recent examples of the federal government’s selective enforcement of FEC regulations, citing the targeting of Fox host Sean Hannity’s radio program and the conservative non-profit Citizens United, who it was ruled met the exemption’s definitions of “expenditure” and “electioneering communication.”
“The picking and choosing has started to occur,” says Goodman, adding that he is “concerned about disparate treatment of conservative media.”
“There are some in this building that think we can actually regulate” the media, Goodman claimed. “Truth be told, I want conservative media to have the same exemption as all other media.”
Conservative outlets communicating “unregulated.. information” has been a problem for the Democrat establishment since the days of President Clinton. Early on, as evidenced in documents recently published from the Clinton presidential library, the Internet was being viewed by the federal government as a “communication stream of conspiracy commerce.”
“The right wing has seized upon the internet as a means of communicating its ideas to the people. Moreover evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the internet interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information,” the 1995 report entitled The Communication Stream of Conspiracy stated.
The latest threat to the First Amendment is a throwback to the now-defunct Fairness Doctrine, and illustrates clearly the devastating effect real, unfiltered news outlets, such as Infowars.com, are having on the establishment media’s ability to effectively propagate White House talking points.
That the government wishes it had more control over the Internet is made apparent by a White House report entitled “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace,” which among other things, seeks to “replace the current system of using passwords to access sensitive online accounts with something akin to a biometric ID card that would link one individual to all their government services, such as food stamps, welfare as well as a myriad of other things like mortgage applications and applications for licenses,” according to Paul Joseph Watson.
Recently proposed media “shield laws” protecting “covered” journalists are yet another method by which the federal government could possibly attempt to regulate the freedom of the press.