What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When "More Speech is Always Better" Complete Breaks Down (and why the media won't tell you this)

I have been a strong proponent of MORE speech is ALWAYS better for most of my life.  I've always been leery of overly strong campaign finance laws and have frequently discussed the problems with them rather than the benefits. Its always been where the progressive movement and I have a minor disagreement.

The basic idea is that the more people talking, the more points of view we are hearing especially in politics, but in all aspects of our lives, the better the conversation, the more informed the voters and the better decisions made by them. Therefore, more money in politics is better than less no matter what because it will spark the conversations needed and raise the profile of elections to a greater number of voters to make it more likely they will exercise their voice and do so well informed.

A point exists however, where there is a tipping point that actually SUPPRESSES speech rather than enhances it.  Here's that point.  Only a limited amount of airtime is available on television and radio in particular.  At some point no more spaces exist for politicians to buy to get out their message.  It is a finite number and in the past there have been SOME minor problems with this, a candidate may have a lot more money around November than their opponent and the opponent gets a last minute infusion of cash, but all the ad spots are gone, so they end up going into election day with cash on hand.  This happened before Citizen's United, but it was rare and largely ignored as an anomaly rather than the rule.

The problem now is that post-CU, this "minor problem" is about to become a major campaign STRATEGY.  Once all the ad space is gone. Its gone.  Today candidates and their SuperPAC's have a new campaign tool because of unlimited funds.  The goal is to buy up ALL the ad space early so your opponent CANNOT go on the air at all prior to the election.  The candidates don't even have to do it.  The S-PACS are now completely capable of buying all the ad space available and in doing so, ELIMINATING the ability of their opponent to get their message out AT ALL.

This is NOT free speech.  This is the SUPPRESSION of speech by one party over the other. 

I first heard media talking about it during the GOP primary.  Kind of as a side note.  As if it happened but wasn't significant.  But it did happen, early on and then again, and then again...  This is the new world we live in.  The hottest new campaign strategy is to just buy up ALL the spots and make sure your opponent can't get their message out at all.

THIS is the truest and most compelling reason I've ever come across for campaign finance reform,   for Congress to act on the Citizen's United decision even if it means rewriting the Constitution by amendment to protect our Bill of Rights.  When so called free speech is eliminated entirely by unlimited cash used nefariously, its time for Congress to step in and protect our Constitution.

Here's the real problem though, the MEDIA is complicit.  They don't care AT ALL who's buying their ad space.  The equal time doctrine was the first to go.  Once that barrier went down the media has NO responsibility to sell their airtime equitably.  They are corporations and they will take as much cash as they can get from the highest bidder.  Shareholder wealth trumps all.  The media has NO incentive to step in and deal with this on their own.  They make money no matter who they sell their ad space to and rarely care about content.  First and highest bidder always wins in business. Our media is laughing all the way to the bank.

As for the candidates they have SOME responsibility to tell the truth, but as we have seen in the past that truth remedy usually is too little too late for the voters to know it was  lie before they walk into a voting booth.  The S-PACS have almost NO responsibility to tell the truth at all.  Their donors are anonymous and they can close out a disappear before anyone can hold them responsible for the content they produce.  In other words, our political process is now full of wealthy liars who have unlimited ability to sway the voting public and no accountability to the truth.

When you see advertising in the next few weeks and as the summer campaign season starts, take them with a grain of salt and do your own research, ESPECIALLY if you're only seeing one candidate's ads.  We are at a tipping point politically and we're about to watch our entire electoral system go up in smoke.

So its going to take everyday people like me and like you to figure out a way to stop this madness.  I don't have a lot of answers to it right now, its up to each voter to sort through the crap to find the truth.  I now see the problem though and its huge and it's going to change our country for the worse unless we all get together on both sides of the aisle and figure out how to make our politicians FIX it.

That's my take.

1 comment:

Molly Edwards said...

I'm just glad we don't have cable/satellite, so I we are relieved from getting battered by rhetoric. What does one do to make an informed decision?