[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Update: Hot Air has very similar thoughts, here.
From the very first reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen United a certain irony permeated the debate. As I wrote back then:
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.”
And that irony was repeated months ago when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held dueling rallies in Washington D.C. as I noted in a post entitled This Rally is Brought to You By Citizens United:
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.
Well, he managed to prove my point again on his own show, when talking about whether he could promote his PAC on his show:
Seriously, does he not understand that he has managed to prove that, if anything, Citizens United didn’t go far enough? Here he is talking about asking for an advisory opinion about whether he should be free to speak without giving up all of Viacom’s corporate secrets. Here he is talking about having to wait sixty days to find out if he is allowed. Here he is telling us that he wouldn’t be able to speak if the ruling came out against him.
He is asking the government for permission to speak and if he has any understanding of how appalling that is in a free society, he gives no indication of it. The man is clever and, in small doses, funny, but he’s not particularly smart.
Hat tip: This WSJ editorial which has much more on the subject. Really, read the whole thing.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]