Friday, March 04, 2005


The Empire Strikes Back

Is the FEC, using McCain-Feingold as its sword of "justice," going to try to regulate blogging?

Think it thru. They cannot regulate each and every posting, as has been suggested. They may want to - no surprise there. But they can't.

For example: Captain's Quarters correctly notes that he - a Bush supporter in the last election - linked four times as often to Kerry's site as to Bush's. If the FEC wishes to count links as contributions to a campaign, then it will also have to assess the intent of each link, whether it was to help or hurt a candidate, or whether it is, in their eyes, "balanced." And if it was designed to hurt a candidate, which other candidates(s) benefitted, if any, and by how much. That's all more than any poor little bureaucracy can handle.

So where does it leave them in terms of what they can do? Something that is still consistent with a mindset that people need regulation, lest they say and hear incorrect opinions?

What else - accredited journalists. Yes, their approach, whether they arrive there tomorrow or after a few years of argument, will be that only "accredited" journalists will be allowed to comment during elections. Or at least, only they will be allowed to comment without subsequent FEC harassment and auditing.

And who will do the accreditation, you ask? Hard to say. The FEC may want the power for themselves; what bureaucracy doesn't? Then again, if the opposition to the regulation is strong enough, they may choose to ditch operational control and give it to someone they can hide behind ... now who might that be? ... no peeking! ... oh, you can guess ... the MSM!

Only j-school graduates or those with "sufficient" MSM experience need apply. And once the MSM is able to decide who else can join them, the gates will be closed.

I have no inside knowledge on this subject whatsoever, so the above is pure surmisal. But, if you can, put yourself in a pro- McCain-Feingold state of mind, and think about how you would go about controlling bloggers.

You'll soon realize: All other options are logistically impossible (never make a law you can't enforce). There's really no way, other than to corral pre-selected controllees into a group of manageable size, and shut everyone else up entirely.

So I dunno if they can pull it off or not, but I sure as hell expect them to try, now; this has been brewing for a while.