24 January 2010

Corporations Limit Your Speech

A lot on this topic--Greenwald and Drum and Turley do the real work on this topic; this is a difficult issue and speech is (should be) sacrosanct to us under our Constitution. Organizations of all manner "speak" also and should be allowed to (this includes ALL organizations--corporations and labor unions, etc.); but beyond that, they argue that money talks no matter how much the congress has tried to (pretended to try to) limit it (lobbies and PACs do the heavy lifting here--ie, we've created a system to allow money to talk anyway).

The point I liked most was that GE and Fox talk to us all the time--these corporations as media corporations are protected and we all willingly say "of course"--but what's the difference between GE getting a free pass (as NBC, etc.) and Boeing or Goldman Sachs?

So, to the point I don't think I've seen yet that I find more nuanced--that corporations corrupt, limit, stifle the individual voices of their employees (often contractually); ie, corporations retard free speech by at least implicit and often explicit threat of the consequences of that speech IF it is in opposition to the corporation's speech. (Speak out against the bully, "and you're dead meat.")

Interestingly, it's at the individual level, the level that most of us revere as our primary freedom as citizens, that speech is at best "muted".
1. Your company likely has no issue with the $2k you send to a candidate (it's a drop in the bucket). In other words, your money really doesn't talk.
2. Your vote has been gerrymandered out of all influence--you likely live in an "all-in" district--and the R or the D is guaranteed. If you don't believe this, look at the rate of incumbent re-election.

How do we address the "unfairness" of the megaphone? I won't begin to argue with Constitutional scholars about what the Constitution and precedent sets out for us on this issue...but what do we do to counter the megaphone effect?

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