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Desperately Seeking Equivalency

By The Reverend Published: August 12, 2014

Sometimes I write about the "both sides do it" Village media syndrome. The reason "both sides do it" journalism offends me is because it is dishonest. Today, the Beacon reprinted a dishonest "both sides do it" piece by Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune which can stand as the poster child of "both sides do it" writing.

Congressional Democrats are lining up behind a constitutional amendment to allow restrictions on campaign contributions and spending, and Republicans, to their everlasting credit, are opposed.

Weeks ago, Democratic Senator Tom Udall introduced an amendment to the Constitution to counter the egregious Citizens United ruling.....

The constitutional amendment would reverse dangerous Supreme Court decisions like Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United and rein in the unprecedented flood of secret money in the campaign finance system. It would allow Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money, including so-called "Super PAC" independent expenditures, while giving states the same authority to regulate campaign finance at their level.

Udall's amendment has 48 Democratic sign-ons but no Republicans. But make no mistake here, a constitutional amendment....any constitutional amendment....has a snow ball's chance in hell of ever being ratified in today's polarized country.

But Steve Chapman goes out of his way to praise Republicans who are against Udall's amendment....

It’s heartening to hear these sentiments from Grassley and his GOP colleagues, and not just because they are on the right side of the issue.

You see, corporate media writers are objective, not taking sides and so forth.

But then Chapman, in a picture perfect "both sides do it" effort, criticizes Republicans for having been hypocritical over "flag burning." In this twisted attempt to find equivalency, Steve Chapman compares 2006 legislation over flag burning where Republicans were against the free speech of burning the U.S. flag, and Democrats were in favor of including flag burning in the category of free speech.

Thus, Villager Chapman can claim that both sides are hypocritical when it comes to "free speech." Democrats are trying to stop free speech by limiting the amount of money that can be spent in campaigns through a constitutional amendment....and Republicans were against calling flag burning a free speech right. See? Both sides do it.

These (GOP) senators and their allies insisted that flag-burning was not really speech and undermined democracy. Today, supporters of the campaign finance amendment argue that election spending is not really speech and undermines democracy.

What it boils down to is that both sides find some types of political communication offensive to them and therefore undeserving of protection. Censorship is a bipartisan affair.

Billions.....literally.....billions are now being spent in federal elections. It has been estimated that this coming midterm will see $2 billion spent on campaigning. $2 billion in a midterm! That, after these 2012 figures from the 2012 general election, as reported at Politico...

About $7 billion was spent by candidates, parties and outside groups on the 2012 election – beating even the unprecedented expected total of $6 billion, according to a review of campaign finance reports by the Federal Election Commission.

Correct me if I'm mistaken....but I haven't noticed a serious outbreak across the nation of flag burnings. Furthermore, I'm thinking that it might be difficult to influence a political candidate by burning the flag. You know, could be wrong....but I don't think so.

But it is no secret that huge amounts of money offered to candidates by "free speechers" is affecting federal political campaigning. The stage that the Supremes set in Citizens is making it possible for any single billionaire to dominate ANY political contest federal, state or local. In essence, those with all the money are the ones who are doing all the "speaking" in our current campaign system. That fact, by itself, makes Citizens United suspect.

In Steve Chapman's quest to declare a pox on both their houses.....the writer compares a flea with Godzilla...in order to arrive at his pre-conceived conclusion that "censorship is a bipartisan affair."

But the propaganda in Chapman's "both sides do it" article is more subtle than that. The writer makes it seem like he opposes the "hypocrisy" of both R's and D's equally when it comes to free speech. But what Chapman is really doing is attempting to vindicate the corporate-fascist ruling by the Supremes which has unleashed all those billions....from just a few Americans.....upon our already-rigged election system.

Elected officials take an oath to defend the nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. The biggest threat to our democratic republic is money in political campaigns. Citizens United made it possible for a tiny handful of very wealthy Americans to dominate political campaigns.....which threatens the right of We the People to even be heard.

That is not some pissant concern over burning the flag, for Christ's sake. That's a bigger threat to our democracy than anything Islamic jihadists could ever do.

Yet, that is how far a field Steve Chapman stretched credulity to try to impress readers that "both sides do it".

When the history books are written about our current time, there will be an entire chapter devoted exclusively to the peculiar practice of corporate media finding equivalency in political parties, policies, obstructionism, etc. etc........where no equivalency ever existed.


 

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