Wednesday, October 31, 2012

free speech

On television last night, two of my favorite things coalesced into a single sitting.

The news program "Frontline" is, for my money, as close as anyone is likely to get these days to what the word "journalism" means or once meant. Yes, it requires an attention span longer than a Tweet, and yes, it is not perfect, but for the moment, the show seems willing to expend resources in an effort to parse and present intelligent depictions of complex and sometimes infuriating subjects.

Last night's program, "Big Sky, Big Money," (sorry, I can't find a link that lacks the advertising clutter)  took up a second favorite thing -- the state of Montana and its ballsy challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that I wrote about in January. As I wrote then:

Montana seems to remember the impetus of their 1912 law ... the same impetus that is playing itself out today ... big time. In that year, "the State of Montana and its government were operating under a mere shell of legal authority." Copper barons wheeled and dealed and, as Mark Twain said of one of them, the man was "said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment."
Montana's law is a straight-shooter, stating among other things that a "corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party." Lawmakers these days might take an English lesson from those earlier times. Corruption was just too easy without some plain-spoken barrier.

"Frontline" and Montana -- two of my faves. And implicit within them is the question of free speech.

Sometimes I wonder why, on the Internet, I may be expected to believe a man or woman who has nerve enough to post an opinion or rejoinder and yet is unwilling to append his or her own name. Excuses may abound, but I think the "anonymous" or pen name assertions lose their oomph in direct relationship to the cowardice of those willing to express them.

Self-serving cowardice and manipulative corruption are not just for corporations.

I guess I'd better sign this .... adam fisher

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you have made it very clear how much you despise the use of Anonymous by posters to your blog.

    I can't speak for everyone, but I use it rather than my real name because, for the past several years, a schizophrenic (literally) acquaintance has been stalking me on the internet, sending threatening messages, etc. I have considered
    taking legal action, which would probably result in the guy losing his job; he posts from his employee account at the local university. That would probably piss him off even more and might lead to even bigger problems, so for now, I'm just trying to fly under the radar.

    Maybe you don't feel that is a valid justification for using Anonymous as a handle. If you really feel that strongly about it, I believe there's a way that you, as the proprietor of this blog, can remove the Anonymous option from the possible profiles. At least I know that there are other blogspots that don't offer Anonymous as an option.

    Or, if it would make you feel better, I could use an alias. How that's an improvement over Anonymous, I don't know. In fact, it seems even more cowardly than just admitting, via the use of Anonymous, that I don't want to be identified.