Saturday, September 18, 2004

Time to Regulate the Blogosphere?

That thought must have crossed the minds of some highly placed Democrat sympathizers in the "mainstream" media when the blogosphere started shredding the threadbare remnants of Dan Rather's reputation for honest reporting. But the blogosphere is protected by the First Amendment, isn't it?

There's stark evidence that the blogosphere can be regulated, if the feds want to do it. Look at the airwaves, which the feds seized long ago, and which the feds censor by intimidation. Look at the ever-tightening federal control of political speech, which has brought us to McCain-Feingold. It's all in the name of protecting us, of course.

Here's how the blogosphere might come under the "protection" of a regulatory body: Major blogging service providers (Blogspot, TypePad, etc.) and major internet service providers (SBC, AT&T, etc.) become the targets of a class-action lawsuit brought by the "victims" of a blogospheric assault -- a group of persons more savory than Bill Burkett (suspected author of the forged National Guard documents used by Rather). The targets cut a deal with the FCC -- protection in return for regulation. The FCC justifies the regulation of content on the same grounds that it justifies the regulation of the content of radio and TV transmissions -- the transmissions are a "commodity" in interstate commerce, not "speech". The FCC then begins monitoring blogospheric emissions (random monitoring would be sufficiently chilling) and entertaining complaints from offended readers of blogs (lefties who don't like what righties write, and vice versa). You can guess the rest.

Of course, it might not happen with Congress and the White House in Republican hands. But look at who was in charge when McCain-Feingold became law.

Favorite Posts: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech