We’re well shut of Lee Bollinger

Not that that has materially improved the intellectual diversity of the University of Michigan.  Still, Bollinger’s recent plea to bail out print media, at least, won’t be associated with UofM.

Via PajamasMedia and Frank J. Tipler: Columbia U.’s Bollinger Oblivious on MSM Bailout 

His argument is so obviously false that he himself, in his own article, cannot avoid providing the facts needed to refute it. For example, Bollinger writes:

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities

RTWT

Apparently, Bollinger has no clue why Hillsdale College does not accept any money from the Feds. 

Bailing out any media is a violation of the First Amendment.

Shotgun Sellout

‘Shotgun Sellout’: House Democrats cut special deal with NRA

House Democrats held a shotgun wedding between campaign finance “reformers” and the National Rifle Association today in announcing a carve out for the powerful gun lobby in a bill responding to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

The “Shotgun Sellout” exempts large organizations from the most burdensome regulations of the DISCLOSE Act, “Democratic Incumbents Seek to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections,” while pistol whipping genuine grassroots groups. …

Draft amendment affecting the NRA as part of a “Manager’s Amendment” for consideration this week in the House Rules Committee:

Exempt section 501(c)(4) organizations” are also exempt from new reporting requirements. These are organizations which have qualified as having tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code for each of the 10 years prior to making a campaign-related disbursement, that had 1 million or more dues-paying members in the prior calendar year, that had members in each of the 50 states, that received no more than 15 percent of their total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and that do not use any corporate or union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.

NRA members, especially, should call the NRA at 1-800-672-3888 and ask them why they don’t defend the First Amendment as strongly as they do the Second.  They should withdraw their support and urge a vote against the DISCLOSE Act.

State speech registry

In the spirit of those states criminalizing (see yesterday’s post) the videotaping of police, State Senator Bruce Patterson (R-District 7) wants to register journalists: he is not asking, yet, to criminalize those who write without a license, he merely wants to get the list of exceptions in place.

Since Senator Patterson was mentioned for this proposal on Fox News, he’s been defending himself on the floor of the Michigan Senate by pointing out the difference between “voluntary registration” and “licensing.”

He’s right, there is a difference, but there remain some problems with this semantic defense:

1), What responsibility is it of the taxpayers of Michigan to be paying to create and administer such a registry?

2), What business is it of the State of Michigan to put its imprimatur on information or on individuals’ speech, flawed or otherwise?

3), Since among other things, the law would require applicants for the State conferred title of “Michigan registered reporter” to possess: a) “Good moral character”; b) a degree in journalism; and c) submit three writing samples: 3a) How does the State make a determination of moral character? 3b), If no degree is required to be a “Michigan legislator”, why should “journalists” have to have one? 3c) Who is going to grade the writing samples; on what basis?

Senator Patterson does not deserve the title “Michigan legislator;” probably could never have achieved it under his rules for “journalists;” and certainly should not be allowed to keep it. Apparently term limits are working in favor of that outcome.

Cubs v Dodgers – April 25, 1966

33 years ago today Rick Monday suppressed the “free speech” of a couple of trespassers. Of course, this particular attempt at expression of free speech was not free speech at all. The rest of us are not required to provide the venue, something the left has never understood.

Which is why they want to re-instate the “Fairness” doctrine.

H/T MC

No fishwrap left behind

Senator Benjamin Cardin, D-MD, is proposing to fold newspapers into the Department of Education.

Cardin’s Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

What now, without any legislative interference, stops newspapers from becoming non-profits without giving up their right to political speech, the most important example of free speech protected by the First Amendment? I mean, aren’t the AARP and the NRA non-profits who publish magazines containing political opinion? The AARP and the NRA, of course, have members about whom they care intensely, not customers who are supposed to believe content from the Associated Press does not represent a political endorsement.

But, never mind that. It’s obviously a bit too subtle for Senator Cardin. What we must truly puzzle over is his farcical contention that NPR and PBS do not make political endorsements; on the strength of which fallacy he deftly advocates removing the First Amendment rights of newspaper publishers. “We had to destroy the Press in order to save it?”

Senator, what newspaper wants to be castrated? The thrill won’t be running up their legs anymore.

Newspapers are going online, and they will live or die there based on whether people want to read the content. If the value – educational, prurient or humorous – of the writers’ output does not attract a readership, so be it. Isn’t the demise of newspapers about the shift of advertising dollars to platforms people actually want to spend time reading? Besides, I can’t imagine how the semi-annual pledge drive from the Lansing State Journal would even be conducted. Extra sticky notes on the front page?

Minus endorsements for even local candidates and critiques of local political policy, the whole LSJ might as well be MSU sports, weather and TV listings. Suppression of political speech would probably improve the “balance” of the Letters to the Editor, but I doubt publishing the remaining missives would be worth the labor cost. Take out the wingnuts and moonbats and you’ve got a few people from PETA objecting to the local appearance of a circus or rodeo leavened with occasional pleas for everyone to stop eating meat, and seasonal complaints about snow removal and road repair. You could even make a good case that’s all political. Boring won’t help.

Senator Cardin doesn’t understand that the newspapers are failing because the content of their stories – not the editorials, the stories – are mostly endorsements of a specific political philosophy. Compounding this error, he names his bill so as to make NRA the acronym. That’s a half measure, and he should rename it.

Here’s a suggestion: Preserving Reflexive Advocacy for Venerated Democrats Act. Or maybe Sycophant Assistance Program.

The Incumbent Protection Act in operation

If private money is an evil, corrupting influence that must be restricted, how does John McCain justify taking any beyond the public finance matching limit?

McCain had asked to participate in the public system last summer when his campaign was broke and his polling was in single digits. The FEC declared that McCain was eligible to receive $5.8 million in public funds in December.

Things have changed for John. If he becomes an incumbent President, he’ll want them to change again: Not for the better from a First Amendment standpoint.

McCain Nixes Public Funds for Primaries

Apparently, if the message is John McCain’s it is automatically above any appearance of corruption. If the message is John McCain’s, it’s a message that is so important that we must acknowledge that money = speech, at least when the money is used to deliver a John McCain campaign message.

Should any of the rest of us speak politically about a candidate, McCain for example, within 60 days of the election we may be vulnerable to arrest under the provisions of McCain-Feingold. We can’t opt out.

Just think of the sabre-teeth the Federal Election Commission will have if McCain is elected President.