AOH :: PT-1215.HTM

Freedom's just another word for something new to regulate

Freedom's just another word for something new to regulate
Freedom's just another word for something new to regulate

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Freedom's Just Another Word for Something New to Regulate
Date: 	Wed, 8 Jun 2005 12:39:09 -0400
From: 	Sager, Ryan 

The fact is that in the debate over extending campaign-finance
regulation to the Internet, the so-called "reform community" -- i.e.,
the front groups for the eight liberal foundations that have been the
money behind the clean-government movement since the 1990s -- has yet to
offer a compelling rationale for why money spent on politics online
needs to be controlled at all.

That is, even if one accepts the idea that money spent on TV attack ads
and the like is somehow corrupting and destructive, there's no reason to
believe that the dynamic is (or will be in the future) the same on the

This isn't because the Internet is some magic place where the rules of
the real world don't apply. It's because the Internet is an active
medium, whereas most traditional media (at least those which most
trouble the reformers) are passive. In other words, while TV and radio
ads bombard average Americans while they go about their daily business,
people actually have to seek out content online.

Given that fundamental difference, one is left to wonder just how monied
interests would exert their dreaded "influence" on the Web.

Would they buy thousands upon thousands of banner ads? Pop-ups? Pop-unders?
Would they set up gigantic Web sites, so attractive, so sprawling, so
enticing that hapless Web surfers would be unable to avoid being drawn
to them?

Would they create extra-spiffy Flash animations?
Just how would this influence be wielded?

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