Media Monopoly and Incumbency Protection

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Published Date: 
Monday, April 2, 2001

In 1997, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., spoke candidly to Time magazine regarding McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. The Democrat admitted, "What we have is two important values in direct conflict: freedom of speech and our desire for healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy. … You can't have both."

Unfortunately, Rep. Gephardt sided against freedom of speech. Moreover, he proposed a constitutional amendment to permit campaign finance reform to abridge freedom of speech. He also voted for the House version of McCain-Feingold legislation in 1999.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media have categorized this "reform" bill as the solution to a "broken system" riddled with "too much money in politics." They also say that big, powerful, moneyed interests have a pervasive, vested interest in government that is detrimental to the public good.

Unfortunately, they neglect to tell you that in a free society good people must associate or they perish, swallowed up because of the voracious appetite of a runaway government, which is no longer restrained by a watchdog press, but egged on by a lapdog media. As Edmund Burke, the 19th century British statesman, wrote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Good men must associate or their voice will perish in the contemptible travesty of campaign finance reform.

In a perfect, non-existent world, perhaps, campaign finance reform would be beneficial, but in the real world of power politics, always moving in the direction of greater and greater government, virtually without effective opposition, it's a maleficent proposition.

The reality is that campaign finance reform will silence an incalculable number of citizens who speak through their association and organizations. The McCain-Feingold Bill, which the Senate will be voting on today, will silence a multitude of voices, citizens muzzled by an unconstitutional act infringing on the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Many groups and organizations will be adversely affected by this bill -- among them Second Amendment groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, whose law-abiding members depend on the dissemination of information from these groups to remain abreast of developments in Washington, developments that impact directly on their lives. These organizations represent and speak for them on very important issues in which otherwise individual citizens would not be heard.

The NRA announced that it is opposed to S. 27, the McCain-Feingold legislation because, "The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001 … would severely restrict our ability to provide timely information -- including information on lawmakers' positions on firearm-related issues -- to our membership and tens of millions of other law-abiding gun owners. In its current form, S. 27 seeks to severely restrict communication that 'refers to' a federal candidate if that communication takes place during a specified period [60 days] before a primary or general election. … Make no mistake, S. 27 is an all-out assault on the First Amendment."

The McCain-Feingold legislation would not only create a media monopoly over political speech, the very same speech that the founding fathers wanted to protect in the First Amendment, but would also create incumbency protection for malfeasant legislators whose activities (or lack thereof) would not otherwise be known and therefore would prevent them from being sacked by their constituents.

On March 26, 2001, the Senate passed Sen. Paul Wellstone's, D-Minn., amendment to S. 27, which would outlaw many forms of political speech, including public discourse on the voting records of incumbents within sixty days of an election.

The Wellstone Amendment has indeed turned this bill into incumbency-protection legislation as Gun Owners of America had predicted. With good cause, GOA argues that the Wellstone Amendment would also prohibit many organizations from running television ads that mention a candidate's name in the 60 days prior to an election. According to GOA, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001, "outlaws free speech two months before an election for everyone but the media and federal candidates. Not only would this create a 'speech monopoly' for the media and incumbents, it would serve as a true Incumbent Protection Plan."

The John Birch Society knows about incumbency protection. In 1979, an ad hoc committee of the society was challenged by a group of liberal congressmen who did not want their voting records known to their constituents. The society publishes the nonpartisan, educational TRIM (Tax Reform Immediately) bulletins that do not endorse candidates but do disseminate the record of the 435 U.S. representatives' spending votes three times a year. After a long battle with the liberal congressmen and the Federal Election Commission, which sided with the legislators, JBS and TRIM prevailed in court.

The McCain-Feingold bill may change that.

Jim Toft, director of TRIM, is particularly concerned with the bill's use of the phrase, "regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates 'the election of a particular candidate.'"

Currently, federal election regs only apply to an organization like TRIM if it is expressly advocating for or against a particular candidate for federal office. The fear is that McCain-Feingold and its "regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates 'the election of a particular candidate'" clause is that the legal shield will be lifted and allow federal regulators to begin policing all political speech, not just speech that directly applies to candidates running in federal elections.

It would be a dark day for America if the McCain-Feingold legislation passes Congress and is signed into law by President George W. Bush, as he says he intends to do for politically expedient reasons.

Make no mistake about it. This piece of legislation would deny free speech to millions of Americans. Moreover, Americans should not be lulled into thinking it wouldn't survive a Supreme Court challenge. The bill is already being framed so as to minimize and restrict damage in case of a Supreme Court challenge. Thus, we can no longer rely on the pesky sections of the bill to cause the entire law to be struck down if the Supreme Court rules that a portion of it is unconstitutional.

No doubt in a possible bleak and dark future of collectivism and authoritarianism, historians will find this legislation to be a salient and sad step taken toward that destination.

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D., is editor in chief of the Medical Sentinel of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and author of "Vandals at the Gates of Medicine" (1995) and "Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine" (1997).

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Liberal Media Bias –The Miserable Carping Retromingen Vigilantes

The champion watchdogs of politicized, biased journalism in Washington D.C. were my relentless friends, Joe Goulden and the late Reed Irvine of Accuracy in the Media in the 1980s and 1990s. These gentlemen, assisted by citizens, amateur media watchdogs, critical readers of newspapers and astute writers of letters to the editor throughout the nation, fought tooth and nail to expose liberal media bias, a persistently leftist slant to the news, which flied in the face of mainstream journalists insisting on calling themselves objective news reporters.

The extreme liberal bias of the media is so pervasive that one must conclude that anyone who is not aware of this general slanting of news coverage may simply have eyes but cannot see, and may have ears but cannot hear! Not to be aware of it would be an extreme form of naivete, ignorance of politics or outright self-delusion!

The media elite, print or broadcast journalism, believe in their own partisan minds they are correcting social or economic inequalities that they as a professional class, the anointed ones, have been chosen to radically but subtly remedy those "problems." Old objective journalistic ethics have been dumped by the wayside. Listen to a media godfather, a liberal legend: 

"I'm no longer interested in news. I'm interested in causes. We don't print the truth. We don't pretend to print the truth. It's up to the public to decide what's true."---Ben Bradlee, Former editor of the Washington Post, Symposium by  Smithsonian Institute, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 18, 1993.

Reed Irvine in fact once received a letter from Ben Bradlee, accusing him of vigilantism in his dogged pursuit of objective media reporting. The accusation was turned into an award given to supporters of Accuracy in the Media (AIM): "The Miserable, Carping Retromingent Vigilante Award."

This humorous award was given by the late Reed Irvine to those readers who exposed media bias in their local newspapers. Mr Irvine continued to use the phrase until he died years ago. He wore the label as a badge of honor to the very end.

Who are some of the components of the mainstream media with a definite liberal bias to their news coverage as well as a liberal cultural slant to their popular programming? The opinion cartel of the mainstream media, namely CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and other "respectable" liberal media giants and their pundits, Dianne Sawyer, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Bill Moyers (PBS), not to mention pop icons, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, and even Jerry Springer at the cutting edge of polluted, societal evolution!

Conservatives only have FOX; in radio, Rush Limbaugh; and elsewhere, the internet. And these various sources admit they are conservative or entertainers. The liberal, opinion-molding, media cartel claims they are objectively reporting the news, if not the chronicling, "the newspapers of record!"

That the media have been shown to clearly possess a nagging penchant for liberal bias has been demonstrated recently by political science professors Tim Groseclose and the scholar Jeffrey Milyo, as well as eminent veteran journalists, William Rusher in the 1980s and Bernard Goldberg in the last several years. They corroborate the great work that was performed by my friends, Reed Irvine and Joe Goulden, to whom this post is dedicated.

And if more is needed to assert the obvious, below is a short sampling of documentation.


1) The Coming Battle for the Media, Curbing the Power of the Media Elite (1988) by William A. Rusher

2) Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News (2001) by Bernard Goldberg

3) Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite (2003) by Bernard Goldberg

4) Profiles of Deception, How the News Media Are Deceiving the American People (1990) by Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid

5) Visit L. Brent Bozell's the Media Research Center

6) Consider the work of UCLA Political Science professor Tim Groseclose and his University of Missouri colleague Jeffrey Milyo in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2005.

7) Even left-wing MSNBC has had to report the obvious. MSNBC went as far as to identify 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. "125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.”