Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman warned that the federal government — including some officials in his office — may soon move to clamp down on conservative media.
“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” Goodman told Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner on Wednesday.
At threat, in Goodman’s estimation, is the media’s exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations like PACs. Many in government want to curtail the ability of all news outlets to endorse and promote candidates and issues without any limits or disclosure requirements.
Some have already tried. The FEC Chairman explained that in two different instances, high-ranking officials attempted to regulate both Sean Hannity’s radio program and the Citizens United movie production studio. Those initiatives were defeated, but Democrats on the board often voted to abolish the media exemption.
Goodman, a Republican appointee whose chairmanship ends in December, believes he knows why the rules are just now shifting after decades.
Specifically citing the Drudge Report, the FEC chairman noted that “the right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the Internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and Internet communications.”
“They can compete with the big boys now,” he said of online right-wing media, “and I have seen storm clouds that the second you start to regulate them, there is at least the possibility or indeed proclivity for selective enforcement, so we need to keep the media free and the internet free.”
“The picking and choosing has started to occur,” Goodman said, adding that “some in this building” believe the FEC has to power to regulate media — and if those regulations come, he warns conservative media will face “disparate treatment.”
[h/t Washington Examiner]
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