Patterico's Pontifications

10/30/2010

This Rally is Brought to You by Citizen’s United

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:08 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Update: American Power has this overhead shot helping us to compare the size of the Beck and Stewart rallies.  I still don’t care, but if you do:

Yep, Beck’s was bigger, but Stewart has nothing to be embarrassed about.

First, if you are inclined to watch the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally, The Blaze has live coverage, here.  And as of this writing, all it is, is music which I admit I am digging on.  I personally am on record saying that I don’t care about crowd size in protests.  But if you are morbidly curious, I haven’t seen any photographs of it, but the AP has written “people assembled by the tens of thousands Saturday” although that reportage seems a little premature.  On the other hand, on the Facebook page it is right now listing about 10K definitely attending, about 100K “maybe” attending, exactly 10K awaiting reply (weird), and over 240K saying they will definitely not attend, for what it’s worth.

As a sidebar, Ann Althouse caught Patterico’s favorite newspaper engaged in deception on this point:

L.A. Times on the Jon Stewart rally: “Nearly 225,000 people had RSVP’d on the event’s Facebook page as of Thursday morning.”

Why do journalists keep writing the RSVP number like that? Look at the Facebook page. The number who say they are attending is (currently) 10,019.

239,164 RSVP’d to say they are not attending. 112,812 say — are they just being polite? — they are “Maybe Attending.

Why do they keep writing it like that, Ann?  Well, I have a theory…

Anyway, watching it, and seeing that Comedy Central is running it live—indeed, according to my TIVO, there will be no commercial interruptions, and there haven’t been so far—I realized that none of this would have been possible without the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United.  This is corporate speech.  Comedy Central is a corporation, a subsidiary (most likely through multiple shells) of Viacom, another company, donating it’s on air time to this political rally.

But according to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the government should have the power to ban this kind of thing.  Mind you, of course, that is only my reading of Colbert’s satiric remarks; I believe what he is trying to do is say the Supreme Court is wrong to say a corporation deserves any first amendment protection at all, but since his satire is so thick rational minds can disagree.  Stewart’s mockery, meanwhile, is a little more straightforward and it’s easier to discern his point.

I have noted before the irony of corporate entities and those who speak for them, speaking out against Citizens United, writing:

On January 23, the New York Times denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. F.E.C., stating that “the court[] … has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials.” In a twist worthy of Monty Python and the Life of Brian, this editorial was unsigned, representing the voice of the New York Times Co., itself a corporation. It amounted to “this corporation says that no corporation has a right to free expression.”

Next I suppose the entire staff will gather together and chant, in unison, “we are all individuals.”

As for Stewart’s rally, hey, more power to him.  We all want to restore sanity. Fiscal sanity, regulatory sanity and so on.  That is why I am voting Republican next Tuesday.

Update: Did some pinhead really say that outside media was banned from the rally?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

56 Responses to “This Rally is Brought to You by Citizen’s United”

  1. Greetings:

    In regard to your New York Times anecdote, didn’t there used to be a bit of american folk wisdom about how important freedom of the press is, especially if you own a printing press.

    Where you stand depends on where you sit.

    11B40 (526b07)

  2. ________________________________________

    Why do journalists keep writing the RSVP number like that? Look at the Facebook page. The number who say they are attending is (currently) 10,019.

    Meanwhile, another example of just how much liberal/BS sentiment pervades the MSM:

    newsbusters.org

    Journalists are practically giddy in anticipation of this weekend’s Jon Stewart rally on the National Mall. The Rally’s staff has received more than 1,000 requests for press credentials for the event. Only 400 were given out.

    Those statistics underscore just how much the media loves Stewart’s leftist message (and it is a leftist message). For some perspective, consider that the September 12, 2010 Tea Party on the Mall received roughly 150 requests for press credentials, according to FreedomWorks, which sponsored the event.

    Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally granted 450 such credentials to journalists, but in the brief contact NewsBusters had with Beck’s staff there was no indication that any reporter who had requested credentials had been turned down.

    More than 1,000 individuals applied for press credentials to the “Rally To Restore Sanity” on Saturday in Washington, and various broadcast news networks applied for as many as 40 press passes.

    In short, media interest in the Stewart event absolutely dwarfs its interest in either the 9/12 Tea Party event or the “Restoring Honor” rally.

    Coverage at the respective events will be a dramatic indicator of a double standard in media coverage of political rallies. But even the coverage leading up to the rallies has demonstrated that double standard. According to a Nexis search (“jon stewart” “rally to restore sanity”), this weekend’s rally has received 277 mentions in newspapers, and 37 mentions in radio or TV transcripts over the past month. In the month preceding the Glenn Beck rally, according to a Nexis search (“glenn beck” “restoring honor”), the event got 112 mentions in newspapers and 18 in transcripts (excluding Beck’s own show).

    Mark (411533)

  3. Kind of reminds you of one of those AIG protests in CT two years ago, where there were more Media people than what ACORN bused in for the event.

    AD-RtR/OS! (f2f112)

  4. L.A. Times on the Jon Stewart rally: “Nearly 225,000 people had RSVP’d on the event’s Facebook page as of Thursday morning.”

    Aaron, with your kind permission, I am going to Hate on the LAT. They are the ones politicizing it. Cheers!

    TimesDisliker (298108)

  5. There is no intellectual honesty in the NYT.

    I do wonder how much circulation the NYT gets beyond one hundred miles of Manhattan.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  6. wanna bet the “coverage” will proclaim this a “HUGE SUCCESS”, even though pictures from neutral sources will indicate that there were significantly less people there than for either of the TEA oriented rallies?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  7. “Anyway, watching it, and seeing that Comedy Central is running it live—indeed, according to my TIVO, there will be no commercial interruptions, and there haven’t been so far—I realized that none of this would have been possible without the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United. This is corporate speech. Comedy Central is a corporation, a subsidiary (most likely through multiple shells) of Viacom, another company, donating it’s on air time to this political rally.”

    I thought one of the problems with mccain-feingold was that it allowed media entities like comedy central or newspapers to speak without limitation. If so, that means citizens united doesn’t really have much to say on this. Not to mention it doesn’t appear to be the type of speech that would be regulated under McCain-Feingold.

    imdw (8bb588)

  8. “This is corporate speech. Comedy Central is a corporation, a subsidiary (most likely through multiple shells) of Viacom, another company, donating it’s on air time to this political rally.”

    – Aaron Worthing

    No it’s not. It’s a comedy/music event. Jon Stewart told me so.

    Seriously, though, Citizens United struck down a ban on “electioneering communications” by corporations, not political speech in general. So long as they didn’t mention any candidates, I’m pretty sure Comedy Central could’ve done this without any help from the Supreme Court.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  9. How many attendees come from outside DC Metro?

    After all, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon that free comedy on the Mall? Just a short train ride away in a liberal community.

    Kevin M (298030)

  10. “wanna bet the “coverage” will proclaim this a “HUGE SUCCESS”, even though pictures from neutral sources will indicate that there were significantly less people there than for either of the TEA oriented rallies?”

    Or it will be unsuccesful because they don’t appear ready to satisfy the numbers they got.

    “I do wonder how much circulation the NYT gets beyond one hundred miles of Manhattan.”

    The New York Times?

    imdw (8bb588)

  11. As for the NYT and McCain-Feingold, newspapers were specificaly exempted from M-F and until then the NYT and others were dead-set against.

    Note that the LAT supported the decision in Citizen’s United, for the right reasons.

    Kevin M (298030)

  12. FYI: Newspaper editorials do not speak for the business entity that owns the newspaper. They speak for the editorial board.

    SanAndreasAE (6f682f)

  13. Leviticus – I believe Citizens United applied to unions and other organized groups as well as corporations, but liberals don’t want to talk about that.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  14. btw, i didn’t plan to blog much about the rally…

    And then they introduced a radical islamofascist to sing to them. See the new post.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  15. I question the name of the rally. How can you restore something many of its participants never experienced in the first place?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  16. They don’t have commercial breaks, but they do have commercial banners at the bottom of the screen, naming sponsors. Not unlike when Letterman did a commercial-free show and periodically mentioned sponsors by name.

    LYT (965be6)

  17. “How many attendees come from outside DC Metro?

    After all, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon that free comedy on the Mall? Just a short train ride away in a liberal community.

    Comment by Kevin M ”

    That’s a good point. The area is more liberal, and for those who care about the horserace between this and the Restoring Honor rally should consider that.

    Not that I mind. I hope this is absolutely enormous, filled with the most motivated democrats who should be doing anything other than GOTV on the Saturday before the election. Hopefully many of them stay in the area, have less to donate, phonebank less, etc.

    I imagine more than a few democrats in tough races sorely wish Stewart held this rally last week. I don’t.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  18. The specific statutes struck down by Citizens United wouldn’t have stopped Stewart’s rally, no, because it was thinly disguised, rather than overt, electioneering. But one of the points CU made was that many organizations don’t have the resources to litigate over the nature of their speech, and that it’s not the government’s business in the first place to categorize it. And a different result in CU might have set a precedent for government regulation of all corporate speech, under statues other than those regulating electioneering.

    Northeast Elizabeth (24fc2b)

  19. It’s not a political rally any more than the Glenn Beck festival of ignorance was.

    And we all know Beck’s rally wasn’t political, right?

    jharp (3bd2a1)

  20. Wasn’t jharp banned in the last election cycle?

    AD-RtR/OS! (f2f112)

  21. But one of the points CU made was that many organizations don’t have the resources to litigate over the nature of their speech, and that it’s not the government’s business in the first place to categorize it.

    Nice summary of that point.

    I certainly am happy the left can have this rally. Jon and Steve speak for a lot of Obama voters, and I hope America hears what they have to say, compares it to what Beck has to say, and comes to a better understanding of the political situation.

    I suspect if all voters had to go on was these two rallies, the dems would be in even worse shape. No, i don’t think Beck’s perfect or anything, but the more speech the merrier.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  22. “The specific statutes struck down by Citizens United wouldn’t have stopped Stewart’s rally, no, because it was thinly disguised, rather than overt, electioneering. ”

    I watched briefly on c-span. Did not hear anything about voting.

    imdw (7de3b7)

  23. The trolls get more agitated by the day, it seems.

    JD (d9926c)

  24. Like the pic. It must have been taken early on. The permitted space was filled early, and then the rest (you can see the fencing) filled in. And that with people trying to get in.

    But you don’t care about crowd size estimates.

    imdw (198c86)

  25. I think RSVP’s on Facebook is a better metric.

    WIlliam Yelverton (c8c1d2)

  26. imdw

    regarding citizen’s united, elena kagan urged the Sup. Ct. to rule that corporations had no right to free expression, at all. then it would have been merely a matter of governmental pleasure whether such rallies could be banned. the speech they engaged in today was protected by the larger impact of Citizens United, and that exact impact had been repeatedly criticized by Stewart and Colbert. They too wanted to say that corporations had no first amendment protections.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  27. I RSVP’d on Facebook and had no intention of showing up. It’s a fantastic measuring tool to gin up artificial numbers.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  28. It’s been awhile daleyrocks. How are you?

    I see you are still as dumb as a sack of hammers.

    FYI. “The term RSVP comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”. If RSVP is written on an invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party. It does not mean to respond only if you’re coming, and it does not mean respond only if you’re not coming.”

    jharp (3bd2a1)

  29. I’ve learned more about RSVP than I ever cared to know.

    VOR2 (6c87a3)

  30. I love it when banned asshats come back and are e same old asshats they have always been. Harpy is prolly one of those that think those that RSVP ‘d is a good metric.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  31. “It does not mean to respond only if you’re coming, and it does not mean respond only if you’re not coming.”

    jharp – Thx, I’m so ignernt I did not kno that.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  32. “means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party”

    jharp – It does not mean the invited guest MUST tell the host whether they will attend the EVENT (it does not have to be a party, moron) it merely asks them to respond out of courtesy. Responding that you are planning on attending with no intention of going as a way of ginning up fake interest is obviously to complicated for your pea brain. Get back on your meds.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  33. FYI: Newspaper editorials do not speak for the business entity that owns the newspaper. They speak for the editorial board.

    Although I may have said it before in other comments, I really mean it this time, this is the most ignorant statement that I have ever seen on this, or any other blog.

    No disrespect, SanAndreasAE, I’m sure you’re a smart guy. But I guarantee you that any editorial board member who went off the reservation at any publication for more than a few times would be toast, right or left.

    That’s why they have op-eds.

    Ag80 (743fd1)

  34. Also, can we say Stewart wins, he had the most people and wait for Tuesday.

    Ag80 (743fd1)

  35. Comment by Ag80 — 10/30/2010 @ 9:21 pm

    I pondered addressing this, but was distracted:
    I was always told that unsigned eds were the position of the Publisher; who, if not the owner, is the owner’s rep at the paper.
    YMMV!

    AD-RtR/OS! (f2f112)

  36. Of course it is, AD, that’s why they own the damn paper. Duh. And no disrespect to you.

    Ag80 (743fd1)

  37. I can’t remember where I saw this but some newspaper (or political site) used the Beck rally photo (which had far more attendees) for their Stewart rally photo. What made it obvious (as was noted) was plethora of Gadsden flags in the audience and the cherry trees were hadn’t lost their leaves yet. Anyone seen the story?

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  38. “Harpy is prolly one of those that think those that RSVP ‘d is a good metric.”

    JD – Catastrophic Meme Fail!

    daleyrocks (940075)

  39. Crowd size … what a joke.

    An estimated 215,000 people attended a rally organized by Comedy Central talk show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Saturday in Washington, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News.

    The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance at the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which took place on the Mall in Washington. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent.

    CBS News also commissioned AirPhotosLive.com to do a crowd estimate of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in August. That rally was estimated to have attracted 87,000 people.

    W (0e8cd6)

  40. Willie – Keep on believing. We know better.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  41. About the lying CBS liars who lie and that crowd-size lie the lying CBS liars who lie are lying about… Yeah, right. What a coincidence PIATOR dropped that same lying CBS liars who lie quote over on ugly Dana’s website.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  42. “About the lying CBS liars who lie and that crowd-size lie the lying CBS liars who lie are lying about… Yeah, right.”

    Notice that the picture on the CBS site shows more areas filled in than the pic the righties are using. The righties are using a pic from before everyone showed up. And of course, no-one will have pics of everyone who couldn’t get on the mall. But a new right wing truth has been born. With picture. So it will exist.

    imdw (842182)

  43. “the speech they engaged in today was protected by the larger impact of Citizens United”

    Oh I see. Your complaint had nothing to do with the actual law at issue in citizens united, but some other world where large poorly planned rallies on the national mall are regulated.

    imdw (4943e3)

  44. imdw

    > but some other world where large poorly planned rallies on the national mall are regulated.

    Rallies in the mall ARE regulated, but under the First Amendment it has to be for content neutral reasons, like having enough port-a-potties.

    Imagine if the authorities said, “no you can’t, because we don’t like your message.” First amendment violation? Not according to Kagan’s argument. According to Kagan’s argument they could have been labeled agents of a corporation and thus their speech was being made was corporate speech and thus not protected AT ALL under the first amendment. And that argument was embraced by both Stewart and Colbert.

    If their view prevailed in citizens united, this rally could have been stopped dead, which would have been wrong.

    And don’t tell me that this is NOT corporate expression. How do you think corporations express themselves? It is absolutely true that they have no physical bodies, so it has to be done through their agents. Jon Stewart is the paid employee of Comedy Central. He announced this rally on the TV show they create and air, and promoted repeatedly on the same show. Their corporate website promoted the event. And when it happened they aired it live, something Comedy Central almost never does with any private citizen’s speech. And the corporation would exercise control over that speech. Imagine if it was an “Everyone Draw Mohammed” rally—do you think Comedy Central would air and promote that? Or if it was a KKK rally?

    If you don’t believe me, ask yourself a simple question. If Jon Stewart got up there and defamed someone, do you think the courts would allow Comedy Central to be held responsible for that defamation? The answer is an easy yes.

    I know you don’t get that. You believed that when an editorial board wrote an editorial in its newspaper that was run by a corporation, that somehow this was not corporate speech. But that is the truth of the matter. It was corporate speech.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  45. “You believed that when an editorial board wrote an editorial in its newspaper that was run by a corporation, that somehow this was not corporate speech.”

    No I didn’t. I just see a difference between electioneering and this rally.

    imdw (c982ed)

  46. . I just see a difference between electioneering and this rally.

    Comment by imdw

    LOL. Many of these restoring sanity rallies they held all over the country were sponsored directly be the democrat party. imdw just can’t help but take an extreme position making no sense, if that’s what it takes to argue.

    Or maybe the difference he sees here is the same as the difference Stewart sees in his speech and other corporate electioneering. This speech helps the democrats, and therefore is above the law (the law the democrats would impose, rather than the law that is).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  47. Dustin, I was surprised to read that you thought obama wouldn’t be the nominee in 2012. I didn’t think you were this much of a loon.

    But I don’t see how what happens in other places makes this rally electioneering. I do think that people glommed on to it, and tried to take advantage of it. But that doesn’t change what it was.

    imdw (017d51)

  48. This affectation by imdimwit that it is superior to those that disagree with its sophistry is cute.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  49. imdw

    > Me? I believe in science. And scientific estimates.

    And whatever flaws there are in the electioneering distinction, the fact is THAT is not Stewart’s, Colbert’s or Kagan’s argument. Their argument is that the mere fact that it is speech by a corporation strips it of ALL constitutional protection.

    And how is an anti-electioneering rule even content neutral? First, it is picking out one kind of advocacy. second it results in idiocy. For instance, in CT they were talking about banning people from wearing WWF t-shirts because of one candidate’s relation to that league. And before Ahnold’s election in california, they banned california TV stations from showing his movies. And for what? What does it accomplish, besides suppressing speech you don’t like?

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  50. Let me put it this way: This rally could take place before Citizen’s united was handed down. Therefore, it is not “brought to you by citizens united.”

    “And before Ahnold’s election in california, they banned california TV stations from showing his movies. And for what? What does it accomplish, besides suppressing speech you don’t like?”

    And people got worked up over Michelle Obama talking to people in a polling station. THIS AGGRESSION WILL NOT STAND, MAN.

    imdw (7de3b7)

  51. Yeah, MAN!
    Groovy, Dude.

    AD-RtR/OS! (273260)

  52. No Justice, No Peace!

    daleyrocks (940075)

  53. I guess we’re not lebowski fans around here.

    imdw (fb8a08)

  54. I think you need to take another look at what you think those aerial pictures imply about attendance; the area covered by the Stewart rally picture is much larger than the area covered by the Beck rally picture. Trace out the shape you think is covered with attendees in Google Earth for each of the rallies — I estimate a little more than 30 acres for Beck and a little more than 31 acres for Stewart. I’d say the rallies were of the same size to a good first approximation.

    Ben (94569c)

  55. imdw

    > Let me put it this way: This rally could take place before Citizen’s united was handed down.

    But if the court ruled as Kagan and Stewart wanted it too, it could have been stopped for any reason the park service wanted, including just “we don’t like your message.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  56. It’s missing the point that this administration does not administer the law fairly. If you don’t believe me, get some Caucasian to wave a nightstick at some polling station.

    The speech that condemns changing from the current party in power as insane doesn’t need to rely on a first amendment. It would have been permitted had Obama been a king or a dictator, and it’s permitted now.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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