Today, Friday June 3 is the deadline for bloggers to send their comments to the FEC to provide their opinions and views on a number of proposed regulations dealing with Internet activities. (Proposed rules can be found here.)
Federal Election Commission is considering whether to require political bloggers to disclose whether they are receiving funds from a political campaign, the latest step in a larger debate over whether political activity on the Internet should be regulated by the government.
This has been one of the hot button topics this week in the blogosphere as bloggers from both sides of the political spectrum have found commonality; Free Speech.
One of those new rules, the disclosure requirement, has many bloggers bristling, accusing the government of unfairly targeting them and impinging on free speech. But other political activists say that blogs can act as secret cover for political smear campaigns and create a Potemkin village of grassroots support. They say if that’s the impact, then the Web logs should be required to disclose whether their operators are on a campaign payroll.
Mike Krempasky of Red State has been the leading advocate of bloggers in this free speech battle and has done some amazing work. If you are a bloggers and are wary of leaving your name and address as the FEC requires go to Red State’s OnlineCoalition homepage and sign on to our anti-regulatory comment there.
Bruce McQuain of QandO was quoted in the Fox News article as well:
Bloggers have been particularly vocal about the proposed regulations, and suggest that self-disclosure, and adhering to a code of ethics, much like other news media do, is preferable to government control.
“Most bloggers agree that those who are being paid to support a candidate should disclose such an arrangement,” Bruce McQuain, co-editor of the neo-libertarian QandO blog, wrote in an e-mail to FOXNews.com. “It’s a credibility issue. Bloggers would be (and are) merciless to those who don’t disclose those sorts of arrangements.”
And thus McQuain hits it dead on. The blogosphere is unmerciful upon those that do not disclose arrangements which is more than I can say for the MSM. In the process those opposed to blogs being the “press” do not want to give bloggers “press exemptions”.
Krempasky of RedState has an update of a the reform groups response to the FEC:
Finally, we do not believe anyone described as a “blogger” is by definition entitled to the benefit of the press exemption. An individual writing material for distribution on the Internet may or may not be a press entity. While some bloggers may provide a function very similar to more classic media activities, and thus could reasonably be said to fall within the exemption, others surely do not . The test here should be the same test that the Commission has applied in other contexts – is the entity a “press entity” and is it acting in its “legitimate press function”?
See also Red States reaction to the reform groups explanation of “media exemption”.
Reform Groups (excerpt)
Indeed, as the NPRM notes, some bloggers have been on the payroll of federal candidates; others overtly solicit funds for candidates . These are not characteristics associated with the media in the off – line context. That fact, and other similar indicia of whether a blogger is acting as a press entity in its “legitimate press function,” should be an important consideration in the on – line context in deciding whether to extend the press exemption to a blogger
What? I would have to agree with Krempasky 100% with his Paul Begala/CNN comparison. The idea that the “exempt media” is not partisan is as foolish a response as I have ever seen. Since when have individuals not acted as both political consultant and partisan political operative? The media has been doing this for years and there has never been an issue even after campaign finance was passed. What’s good for the media is good for the blogs. I would further have to congratulate Kos as we did last night for tearing a new one into the IPDI. Thank you as well Mike Krempasky for all your tireless work.
Blogger unite, this is an important one. Take the time, this last time before the deadline hits to voice your opinions to the FEC. Do what we do best, make yourself heard and lets hear what you have to say.
Update: The Political Teen getting into the mix.
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