This Space for Rent

Yes, and what are you planning to do about it?

Online political expression should not be exempt from campaign finance law, the House decided Wednesday as lawmakers warned that the Internet has opened up a new loophole for uncontrolled spending on elections

Yes, and? Does this mean that the FEC will be sending out crack teams of auditors to see if people like Matt Drudge and Atrios are getting paychecks from the Evil Party and the Stupid Party, or will they do something really stupid and require that all political weblogs register themselves for accounting purposes?

And it's not as if weblogs actually mean very much; for all of the (completely made up) fluff over document kerning on a poisoned document leaked by Karl Rove, they really don't make much difference aside from letting a bunch of activists pretend that they're overthrowing the state, man! The FEC said that US$14 million was spent on weblog advertising in 2004, which is a year that saw close to a billion dollars run through various Evil Party and Stupid Party campaigns, so from that you can get a pretty good idea of just how vital the weblogs are.

Not that they're completely useless; well-connected people, like Josh Marshall, are able to use their weblogs as samizdat newsletters, which can pick up a trivial to the mainline press scandal (cf: Trent Lott, who foolishly made pro-discrimination statements at a time when Karl Rove wanted to replace him with a more compliant Senate mouthpiece) and beat upon it until gossip starts percolating into the mainline press. But none of this is really regulatable, unless you want to get into the business of licensing newspapers, which is, um, not allowed by the US constitution (yes! The United States still has a constitution. It's not used much anymore, but it's still there.) So I'm not really sure just what FEC regulation will do, aside from being yet another way for the Evil Party to subtly make life more difficult for liberals who have the misfortune to be trapped inside the American Imperium.

True, this is a product of the Evil Party-controlled US Government, which also keeps flirting with the idea of removing the mortgage and state tax loopholes in the federal tax code, so it is actually possible that they're planning to get rid of that pesky freedom of the press idea. But it seems a bit out there even for the Evil Party.

(via Suburban Guerrilla)