EditorialThe point of the law was to protect the news media’s freedom of speech and not the legal form that they happened to be organized under. While corporations make enormous contributions to society, they “are not actually members of it,” Justice John Paul Stevens said in his dissent. When the framers “constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind,” he noted, not that of corporations.
By James TarantoAs for the libel case, it was similarly styled New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Leaving out the “Co.” is a common journalistic shorthand, but in this case a misleading one. The editorial also omits that Times v. Sullivan concerned a political advertisement, the very sort of communication that the Times insists is not protected by the First Amendment.
By Paul BlumenthalWASHINGTON — During a money-in-politics conference at UCLA on Saturday, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, a leading critic of privately funded elections, declared that the longtime Washington dean of the campaign finance reform community, Fred Wertheimer, was part of the problem.
By Jonathan SorosMany pundits reached the opposite conclusion last week — that money didn’t seem to matter in the outcome of the elections. This assumption is dangerously misguided and ignores the more deeply destructive role that money plays beyond the outcome of individual races or the calculations of balance of power.
“Who do we trust to determine whether speech is true or false or hurtful or unhurtful or necessary? Ultimately, its got to be the voters and not a government official,” said West Palm Beach attorney James Green.
By Alan Suderman“Suppose they are,” says Barry, who says city contractors shouldn’t be barred from being charitable. He says he’s keeping his donors secret to protect them from the media.
Candidates and parties
By Aaron Blake and Sean SullivanThe suggestion some make, of course, is that these Libertarian candidates can — and in some cases might have already — cost Republicans winnable seats by siphoning off GOP votes.
By Mackenzie WeingerOn MSNBC, negative coverage of Romney jumped from 57 percent for most of October to 68 percent from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, while Fox News’s negative coverage of Obama increased from 47 percent to 56 percent in the last week, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism survey found.
By Craig Timberg and Amy GardnerIf you voted this election season, President Obama almost certainly has a file on you. His vast campaign database includes information on voters’ magazine subscriptions, car registrations, housing values and hunting licenses, along with scores estimating how likely they were to cast ballots for his reelection.
Lobbying and ethics
By Catherine HoLobbyists from Drinker Biddle’s government affairs team — including chair Ilisa Halpern Paul, Julie Allen and Erin Morton — share some of their tips for how business owners can most effectively lobby members of Congress and their staff.
By Daniel WoodruffThe Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the union picked up the costs of the fines and attorney’s fees for each former board member.