First, from the WashingtonExaminer.com:
Dems on FEC move to regulate Internet campaigns, blogs, Drudge
by Paul Bedard
In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.
Democratic FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel announced plans to begin the process to win regulations on Internet-based campaigns and videos, currently free from most of the FEC’s rules. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” she said.
Does anyone with a semblance of common sense realize, for example, what the Drudge Report actually is? For the most part Matt Drudge doesn’t write his stories; his site is merely an aggregator of stories from around the globe and around the internet.
He takes them and collates them, then places them on his site with accompanying headlines. It is the headlines and the types of stories featured on Drudge to which Leftists object. They also object to Drudge’s massive popularity and his incalculable hit ratio.
When Drudge makes a link to a story, that site’s servers can frequently be downed due to the quantity of hits. To object to Drudge, however, is to object to reality.
“I told you this was coming.”
Under a 2006 FEC rule, free political videos and advocacy sites have been free of regulation in a bid to boost voter participation in politics. Only Internet videos that are placed for a fee on websites, such as the Washington Examiner, are regulated just like normal TV ads.
Ravel’s statement suggests that she would regulate right-leaning groups like America Rising that posts anti-Democrat YouTube videos on its website.
FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. He added that funny internet campaigns like “Obama Girl,” and “Jib Jab” would also face regulations.
“I told you this was coming,” he told Secrets. Earlier this year he warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative Internet sites like the Drudge Report.
An incredibly important final paragraph:
“Regrettably, the 3-to-3 vote in this matter suggests a desire to retreat from these important protections for online political speech — a shift in course that could threaten the continued development of the Internet’s virtual free marketplace of political ideas and democratic debate,” they concluded.
Ladies and gentlemen, when did you ever possibly believe that your First Amendment rights could even remotely be threatened by some capricious force that is not guaranteed by your federal government in its Bill of Rights or US Constitution?
Is that not insane? Your federal government threatening its own guarantees?