Media Corporations, the Surpeme Court and Logic

by Lee Doren on January 22, 2010

I’m really glad organizations like Newsbusters have addressed the irony of media corporations attacking Citizen United v. Federal Elections, which held that the government cannot prevent corporations from spending money for the purpose of communicating to the public.  Specifically, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, the Washington Post and other news outlets lamented the decision as being bad for democracy.  But, simple logic is all it takes to dispel the hysteria.

Think about it: Most news organizations right now editorialize about candidates all the way up to election night.  However, before this decision, it was illegal for other corporations to do the same thing.  How does that make any sense?

For example, Keith Olbermann could attack Scott Brown right before his election night, but no other corporation could buy an attack advertisement attacking Scott Brown on that same night.  Why?

If Keith Olbermann is employed by MSNBC, MSNBC funds his paycheck.  That’s an expenditure used by a corporation to attack candidates.  In essence, the law as it stood before Citizen United v. Federal Elections was simply monopoly protection for special media corporations, like MSNBC, The New York Times, the Washington Post, etc., to the detriment of non-media corporations.  How is that democratic?

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