Ed Fitzpatrick’s Pick-and-Choose Censorship
Most of us on the right have opposed campaign finance reform, as enacted, and it wouldn’t be outlandish to suggest that the issue cost McCain votes and good will for his bid for president. Folks on the left, particularly in the mainstream media, tend to have a sunnier view. Of course, media types tend to like the idea of freedom of speech, so there’s bound to be a conflict somewhere along the way.
A skeptical reader couldn’t help but catch an interesting admission of inner conflict in Ed Fitzpatrick’s most recent column about court proceedings to determine whether the right-wing flick Hillary: The Movie is a campaign ad or a work of free expression:
I’m hoping the high court issues a narrow ruling, but that might prove difficult because the government’s lawyer pushed his arguments pretty far.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked whether it would matter if a 500-page book contained one sentence saying, “Vote for X,” and he asked about “a sign held up in Lafayette Park saying vote for so-and-so.” The lawyer said Congress would have the power to ban the book or the sign before elections if corporate money paid for them. …
Ultimately, I see greater danger in allowing the government to suppress such films, books or signs — no matter how political they are.
Based on his implying that he’d like the movie banned, but without applying a broader, consistent principle, Mr. Fitzpatrick would like to empower the Supreme Court to determine what is and is not political speech, based mainly on content. Too many people see the judiciary as a mechanism for applying rules that nobody would be so gauche as to promote as legislation. (Although, perhaps I write too soon on that last count…)
Stating that he is in no way for government censorship, Ed corrects my impression.