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Nancy Pelosi vs. the Internet 561

Posted by timothy
from the but-nancy-pelosi-was-in-the-other-room dept.
selil writes "A story popped up on the ChicagoBoyz Blog. It says 'Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would like very much to reimpose the old, so-called, "Fairness Doctrine" that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting, is scheming to impose rules barring any member of Congress from posting opinions on any internet site without first obtaining prior approval from the Democratic leadership of Congress. No blogs, twitter, online forums — nothing.'"
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Nancy Pelosi vs. the Internet

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:00PM (#24120781)

    "We know what's best for you"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      The Democratic and Republican parties are two sides of the same coin. Neither is there to help you. Both have a long history of trying to steal elections. Democrats claim to be liberal, and Republicans claim to be conservative, but both parties are actually populist. Both want to tell you what you can do in your home and what you can do in business, only in different ways (and honestly, it's not uniform across the parties either.)

      Perhaps it is overly paranoid of me to suggest that Democratic and Republican

      • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:57PM (#24121879) Journal

        Thank you for that; depending on how many states the Greens are on the ballot in, I'll vote for them or alternately Bob Barr, the fake Libertarian. From TFB:

        Fairness Doctrine" that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting

        What a load of horse shit. If the "liberals" said domething they had to counter it with a "conservative" stance. Apparently the submitter thinks it's OK to censor Dems but not Repubs. Actually it's the other three parties that are being censored; so much that I bet few of you even know who their candidates are.

        And the conrporate media wants to keep it that way so the corporations only have two candidates to bribe.

        The only thing the "liberals" want to be liberal with is my money, and the only thing the conservatives want to conserve is their own.

        • by indifferent children (842621) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:42PM (#24122733)
          so much that I bet few of you even know who their candidates are.

          Oooh, I know: Mr. Unelectable#1, Mr. Unelectable#2, and Mr. Unelectable#3!

          Has it ever occurred to anyone else, that the "third" parties are a ploy by the two big parties to siphon-off people who demand change, into irrelevancy, so that the big-two aren't forced to change at all to accommodate these 'extremists'?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tankko (911999)

          And the conrporate media wants to keep it that way so the corporations only have two candidates to bribe.

          What a load of crap. The media is more than happy to cover 3rd party candidates if anyone cared. Ross Perot got lots of coverage and so did Nader back in 2000. It's just that the 3rd party candidates this year are longer than long shots and no one cares.

        • by sponglish (759074) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:45PM (#24122809) Homepage
          The fairness doctrine does not apply to news media which is uniformly biased to Dems/liberals [contactomagazine.com]. What'll happen is that the obligation to provide "balance" to political talk radio and other venues where conservatives dominate will be so onerous that it will force those shows off the air. The libs already own the news media, hence conservatives won't have a voice, so yeah, you bring back the FD and you censor conservative opinion.
        • by DriedClexler (814907) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:11PM (#24123357)

          While I agree with your general point about the marginalization of third parties, I think this statement of yours is based on an insufficient understanding of the history of the Fairness Doctrine:

          What a load of horse shit. If the "liberals" said domething they had to counter it with a "conservative" stance. Apparently the submitter thinks it's OK to censor Dems but not Repubs

          What led to the submitter summary was this: Basically, virtually all talk show hosts capable of garnering an audience were conservative. So if a radio station wanted to have one of these guys, they'd have to have a liberal respond. At risk of sounding trollish (but this is just the history) the liberal response would be boring and lose listeners.

          Again, I'm not trying to troll: the fact that conservatives had more mass appeal on radio could just as well be due to their oversimplification of the issues.

          The upshot is, because radio shows couldn't justify the loss of listeners through the liberal response, via the gain through the conservative talk show hosts, the result of the Fairness Doctrine was much more detrimental to conservatives.

          So yes, in theory it applies equally, but as the saying goes, "The law forbids the rich from sleeping under bridges, just the same as it does the poor."

          See: any history of the Fairness Doctrine.

        • by tobiasly (524456) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:28PM (#24126193) Homepage

          Actually it's the other three parties that are being censored; so much that I bet few of you even know who their candidates are.

          Those other parties do just as much to marginalize themselves as they are censored by the "main" two. I consider myself a pretty libertarian kinda guy but I've never met a moderate capital-L Libertarian. I think there are a lot of people who would be receptive to a policy of personal freedom, personal responsibility, and reigning in spending but then every Libertarian candidate I've met starts talking about abolishing public schools and closing down federal parks.

          Yeah, I understand where they're coming from, but those positions are very unpalatable to most Americans and so they're not taken seriously. If they would actually try to get elected instead of relegating themselves to "principled opposition" status then I think the GOP would be in trouble. Same with the Greens and Dems.

      • by tuba_ranger (848915) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:09PM (#24122125)

        The Democratic and Republican parties are two sides of the same coin.

        More like two cheeks of the same horses ass.

      • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:28PM (#24122459)

        but every time I hear about something like this I get the same creepy feeling I get when I saw that commercial with George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton side by side. That could just be because I was being looked at by a sleazeball and a cold-blooded killer, though.

        And how do you describe George Bush Sr.? ;-)

      • by djh101010 (656795) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:00PM (#24124355) Homepage Journal

        I get the same creepy feeling I get when I saw that commercial with George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton side by side. That could just be because I was being looked at by a sleazeball and a cold-blooded killer, though.

        Yeah, I always wondered why Bush Sr. allowed himself to be seen with him.

    • Fraud Alert: The Slashdot story seems to be without support elsewhere. It may be a paid Slashvertisement.

      Also, if you read the PDF of the letter mentioned, it is about technical limitations of U.S. government support for internet access. The rules proposed seem very sensible. The letter says NOTHING about Nancy Pelosi.
      • by MikeURL (890801) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:06PM (#24122071) Journal
        If you read the PDF you'll see that members are already prohibited from posting official communications outside the house.gov domain. Is this really such a ridiculous restriction? I know I'm not allowed to post official work-related material on my personal website.

        Misleading title, incorrect description and bogus article. I must admit that this type of thing happens less frequently in my estimation. Back when it was happening constantly i would not even come here anymore (so I discovered Digg and then Reddit).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fred_A (10934)

        Also, if you read the PDF of the letter mentioned, it is about technical limitations of U.S. government support for internet access.

        Come on, we're reading the comments already, we can't read *everything*, what's wrong with you.

        If it's on /. it has to be true. They have editors after all. (cough cough)

  • The Hen or The Egg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eddy (18759) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:03PM (#24120815) Homepage Journal

    Does politics bring in the idiots from the streets, or does politics create idiots from sane stock? Discuss!

    • by oahazmatt (868057) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:04PM (#24120831) Journal

      Discuss!

      Without prior consent? I think not!

      • by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famousNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:23PM (#24121233) Homepage Journal
        Let's get real. Currently "official" congressional communications are limited to the house.gov site. If you read not TFA but the letter it cites, it discusses some *possible* ground rules to follow in approving additional sites as venues for hosting or disseminating "official" congressional content.

        Some of these ground rules are
        • that the site should be pre-screened to ensure it's not going to be running ads alongside the content that will harm or impugn the dignity of the congress.
        • that links to the content on the site should contain an exit notice so that surfers know they're leaving an official government site and going to an external site.
        • The content must be properly identified as official congressional content and meet existing rules and regulations regarding official content.

        The hyperbole by the obviously conservative-leaning original poster and the TFA is ridiculous and is just a prime example of alarmist propaganda, trying to blow this WAY out of proportion.

        It's simply a proposal for ground rules as the committee examines extending the ability of members of congress to post "official" content outside of existing official channels. Rather than being a "clamp down", it's actually broadening the number of venues members of congress can use for posting "official" congressional communications, but tries to ensure that there will be some level of decorum and good taste.

        • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@y a h o o . c om> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:30PM (#24121363) Journal

          but tries to ensure that there will be some level of decorum and good taste.

          But, these are Congressmen...?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PlatyPaul (690601)

          The hyperbole by the obviously conservative-leaning original poster and the TFA is ridiculous and is just a prime example of alarmist propaganda, trying to blow this WAY out of proportion.

          Why do the poster and TFA have to be necessarily conservative? They may simply have been misinformed (i.e., didn't read up on everything) or have some other reason to dislike Pelosi (i.e., she ran over their cat).

          Never forget Hanlon's razor [wikipedia.org].

        • by geminidomino (614729) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:37PM (#24121509) Journal

          content that will harm or impugn the dignity of the congress.

          See, you had me going there for a minute...

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:46PM (#24121675) Homepage Journal

          impugn the dignity of the congress.

          Do you know what to impugn [reference.com] means, or why prohibiting it is an infringement on free speech?

          • by NoodleSlayer (603762) <ryan@severe b o r e d o m . com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:56PM (#24123011) Homepage

            This isn't that a congress critter can't do something the "impugn the dignity of congress" they just can't do it and stamp it as an "official" congressional document. It simply is not an official opinion of the congress, but rather that of the individual.

            They're still perfectly welcome to post whatever bile they want on airportbathroomstalltoetappers.com, or whatever website they wish. This isn't terribly unique either, I can't go around posting whatever crap I want for the company I work for and label it an official company position. I can still say whatever I want, I just can't pretend that I'm somehow representing my company while doing it, and similarly a member of congress, working for Congress and our government as a whole can't state things and represent it as the official position of Congress and our government arbitrarily either.

        • by edmicman (830206) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:59PM (#24121941) Homepage Journal
          What constitutes "official" content? If a congressperson writes a personal thought or opinion in a public setting, is it only "official" if others deem it so? If a member of Congress says something, what does it matter if he says it in a public forum, or on the golf course, or in a pickup game of basketball, or in a bar? Why should anyone, be they elected officials or Joes on the street, need approval by anyone of their thoughts or opinions, no matter where they are made?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snspdaarf (1314399)

          Some of these ground rules are

          • that the site should be pre-screened to ensure it's not going to be running ads alongside the content that will harm or impugn the dignity of the congress.

          Could this little nugget be used to drop the hammer on an ISP that wants to reframe web pages to include advertising sold by the ISP? I am not going to hold my breath, but it would be nice for something accidental out of Congress to be useful.

    • Not "idiots". (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:16PM (#24121095)

      They just have very specialized knowledge. The knowledge of how to get themselves elected, keep getting re-elected and moving up the chain of authority.

      All of that schmoozing and such does not leave much time for learning anything else.

      So they rely upon "advisors" for their "information". And said "information" has to be communicated to them in the least technical terms. Which results in statements about "tubes" and "trucks".

      But to be fair to them, my CFO asked a little while ago if the power problems we had were a result of her sending an email to Iceland. After all, it must take a lot more power to push the message that far than to push it across the street.

      • by mr_mischief (456295) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:49PM (#24121729) Journal

        Well, then, tell her for a nice little raise, you'll route your network so that all financial transactions and email take the shortest possible routes. The savings will more than make up the difference, after all...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcmonkey (96054)
        Not for nothing, and having nothing to do with the topic at hand...

        But to be fair to them, my CFO asked a little while ago if the power problems we had were a result of her sending an email to Iceland. After all, it must take a lot more power to push the message that far than to push it across the street.

        And she was wrong? Does it not take more power to transmit data half-way around the globe than to send it acorss the street? The difference isn't enough to dim the lights in your office, but still, the i

      • by idiot900 (166952) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:17PM (#24123463)

        But to be fair to them, my CFO asked a little while ago if the power problems we had were a result of her sending an email to Iceland. After all, it must take a lot more power to push the message that far than to push it across the street.

        This is the funniest thing I've read all day. I can't blame the CFO for not knowing better; after all it's not her area of competence - presumably that's why she employs you. But still...imagine if she sent *two* emails to Iceland!

    • It's the fable from the bible.

      When all of the trees were picking a king, they asked a fruit tree, but he said "I'm too busy making fruit"
      They asked a shade tree, but he said "I'm too busy providing shelter for animals"
      Then they asked the thorn bush and he said "Sure thing, jerks. I got nothing better to do" and with his newfound royalty, he promptly burned the other trees to cinders.

      The efficient, productive members of society are too busy doing their jobs to devote their time to sit in endless, pointless

  • by kithrup (778358) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:03PM (#24120825)

    censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting

    Your epidermis is showing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Which is one thing I don't get. The "Right" is always complaining that the "Mainstream Media is Liberal!!11!1!11!elevetyone!!" is it not? So, in holding with that theory, if they're not lying the fairness doctrine would help them. Look at it this way, if the media were truly liberal, then they'd have to have more conservative guests to meet fairness doctrine rules.

      Then again, since the mainstream media is corporate (i.e. what sells ads) and not liberal, would it really matter?
      • Re:"so-called"? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JWW (79176) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:45PM (#24121657)

        Everything you said doesn't make the "fairness doctrine" less wrong. It has always been a perverse affront to free speech through the use of technical loopholes.

        It should never see the light of day again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PortHaven (242123)

        No, because the fairness doctrine as it's usually touted is really focused toward radio. In which the conservatives have a pretty fixed control. Versus TV/print media where the liberal thought is more dominant.

        However, attempts at having equal footing in those areas are often rebuttled or dismissed. So really "fairness doctrine" pretty much translates into "legislating 1/2 of conservative talk radio off the air and replacing them with liberals". And essentially forcing the conservatives radio listeners to

  • Here's a direct link [gopleader.gov] to the letter in question.
  • by weston (16146) * <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:04PM (#24120837) Homepage

    the old, so-called, "Fairness Doctrine" that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting

    [Citation needed [wikipedia.org]]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:16PM (#24121099)

      Reality has a well known liberal bias. Any law that forces news outlets to reflect reality as it exists rather than as we conservatives wish it were is UNFAIR. Thank God for Fox News.

    • Just to follow up (Score:5, Interesting)

      by weston (16146) * <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:06PM (#24122087) Homepage

      I was genuinely interested in seeing if anyone could reference actions attributable to the fairness doctrine that effectively suppressed any point of view. According to the wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org], the Fairness Doctrine:
      merely prevented a station from day after day presenting a single view without airing opposing views. The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows or editorials.

      It seems likely to allow broadcasters freedom to espouse any point of view they wish while simultaneously giving some access to minority or marginalized points of view, and I'm having trouble imagining how this would play out in such a way as to bury any point of view, conservative or otherwise.

      But I'm aware the law of unintended consequences has an amazing reach, and it does say the Supreme court found it had a "chilling effect" on speech. I just don't understand the mechanism and am unfamiliar with any specific case, so I figured I'd *ask* for incidences where the Fairness Doctrine was abused to the suppression of conservative views.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Detritus (11846)

        I think the problem was that you couldn't express an editorial opinion without opening the television studio's door to every wacko in town. While the original intent may been good, the result was that most stations avoided doing anything that was even mildly controversial.

        How would you like it if you owned a newspaper and you couldn't write an editorial without supplying equal space to anyone with an opposing view?

    • by cptnapalm (120276) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:14PM (#24122221)

      Quote One:
      Bill Ruder, an assistant secretary of commerce under President Kennedy, noted, "Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters in the hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue."

      Quote Two:
      In a confidential report to the DNC, Martin Firestone, a Washington attorney and former FCC staffer, explained,

      "The right-wingers operate on a strictly cash basis and it is for this reason that they are carried by so many small stations. Were our efforts to be continued on a year-round basis, we would find that many of these stations would consider the broadcasts of these programs bothersome and burdensome (especially if they are ultimately required to give us free time) and would start dropping the programs from their broadcast schedule."

      https://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-270.html [cato.org]

      Cited.

  • far fetched? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:04PM (#24120843)
    I'm a dedicated political centrist. This sounds so fanciful that it smells of bull-shit spin and politicking to me.
    • Re:far fetched? (Score:4, Informative)

      by faloi (738831) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:13PM (#24121033)
      Maybe a less "spinny" version would be in order? Basically, it's letter stating that House members should be allowed to use non house.gov areas to post things. But in order to use non house.gov resources, the materials and the site in question has to be vetted by a committee.

      It sounds more innocuous the way I spelled it out, but the end result is the same. A committee would have to give prior approval to anything that appears on a non-official site, and approve the site.
      • Re:far fetched? (Score:5, Informative)

        by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:18PM (#24121135) Journal

        The sites will be vetted to prove that it is secure, that not just anyone can post video "from teh US congrass." Horrors. And it mentions nothing about Nancy Pelosi.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Basically, it's letter stating that House members should be allowed to use non house.gov areas to post things. But in order to use non house.gov resources, the materials and the site in question has to be vetted by a committee.

        To post offical house things. There is a world of difference.

        I doubt you can post offical business things willy-nilly in your employers name either.

        And the site approval is to ensure that you don't get offical house messages next to partisan ads, etc, which it would look like the fed

  • by Champ (91601) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:05PM (#24120849)

    So, Submitter says that the right-wing Chicagoboyz blog says that Congressman Culberson says that Congrassman Brady says that Congressman Capuano says that Majority Leader Pelosi says she wants to stifle free spech?

    EVERYBODY PANIC!

    • by 4e617474 (945414) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:53PM (#24121811)

      So, Submitter says that the right-wing Chicagoboyz blog says that Congressman Culberson says that Congrassman Brady says that Congressman Capuano says that Majority Leader Pelosi says she wants to stifle free spech?

      Yes, and the blog post links to the document itself, which says that they're talking about ways to disseminate the exact same information that they publish now using outside hosting services, that everybody's behind the idea, they have some common-sense guidelines for hosting the content, and there's at least one site they can give the green light to right now. They're looking to make sure that when you look at official content of the House of Representatives, you know you are, when you're not anymore, you know you're not anymore. Now, the one possible sticking point:

      To the maximum extent possible, the official content should not be posted on a website or page where it may appear with commercial or political information or any other information not in compliance with the House's content guidelines.

      In light of the context of the letter, that's basically saying if you couldn't put it on the House website, you can't have it hosted next to content that you couldn't post on the House website. You can't have it looking like the House of Representatives is trying to sell you (crap - I've had like three web ads in four years escape my filters, what do they try to sell you these day? car wax, let's say car wax) car wax or wants you to click on a link to Food Not Bombs or your local "militia" after you listen to what they have to say. Even if this is the most draconian fascist nightmare you can imagine (if it is, go to your library, ask where the history section is, and grab three books at random) nobody's "scheming to impose rules". From the letter:

      As you are aware, current CHA regulations have been interpreted to prohibit Members from posting official content outside of the House.gov domain.

      Maybe Robert Brady was aware, but somebody needs to tell zenpundit and selil, and if John Culberson actually wasn't that fucking stupid, he should be ticked off at the words that have been put in his mouth. What they're out to do is go shopping for places where Representatives can post the media they want to, and give them a handy list of places they can post away without having to worry about their disk quota. I don't see how trying to find a content-neutral platform for offsite hosting of exactly the content disseminated now is "censorship", "nakedly partisan", or a move to "reimpose the 'Fairness Doctrine'".

      Seriously, if I want to be roped into reading an article with a bunch of total fucking bullshit hype that any fifth grader can see through once they sit down and read the damn thing, I'll go to the checkout line at the drug store. Nice one, Timothy.

      EVERYBODY PANIC!

      Yes, everybody panic. We were all sadly mistaken when we thought we'd seen the worst out of the editors here.

  • by grolaw (670747) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:10PM (#24120959) Journal

    This is a regulation of HOUSE MEMBERS usage of the Internet - not the general public. Look at the linked letter: http://gopleader.gov/UploadedFiles/Capuano_letter.PDF [gopleader.gov]

    The AS ASS above thinks that the Dems are manipulating the general public's right to free political speech, he is dead wrong.

    The limits are to be placed upon Members of Congress and their staff and merely require that the material is vetted (I approved this ....) and that limitation of the staff's right to engage in political speech is included, too (it already is restricted - See, the Hatch Act, http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm [osc.gov] ). RTFA.

  • Total Crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by loteck (533317) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:12PM (#24120987) Homepage

    From the PDF of the letter in question:

    "Please note that nothing in these recommendations should b e construed as a recommendation to change the current House rules and regulations governing the content of official communications."

    This is an attempt to deal with technical issues and update existing House rules to keep up with technology. There's a lot of FUD in the article summary and in TFA.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:12PM (#24120997) Journal

    Here is the actual letter they reference: http://gopleader.gov/UploadedFiles/Capuano_letter.PDF [gopleader.gov]

    I'm sorry, but I don't understand how they can draw those conclusions from the source they reference. And I don't see anything about Pelosi. The letter seems to say that people can post stuff on outside servers, provided there is a way of verifying it really came from who it says its from. Whoah! Scandal!

    Why is Slashdot posting links to crazy right wing/libertartian conspiracy theories? This is stupid.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:13PM (#24121031)

    I've read the PDF about the *suggested* changes.

    Currently there are rules governing the posting of *official* House of Reps material which includes the requirement that such posts are done in the house.gov domain.
    The suggested change allows that material to be hosted on external servers subject to the *existing rules*.

    It says *nothing* about prohibiting posting of opinions by house members on any web site. Nothing.

  • by Madball (1319269) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:14PM (#24121045)
    The actual correspondence: http://gopleader.gov/UploadedFiles/Capuano_letter.PDF [gopleader.gov]

    I read it three times, and it seems pretty standard. Basically, it's mostly about links to non-official websites and standards those outside sites must meet. It's no different than the rules that most corporations place on user-maintainable CMS systems.

    Note: it never discusses approval of any particular piece of content (except to the extent that official postings already have to meet certain standards), just having pre-approved sites.

  • (-1, Troll) (Score:5, Informative)

    by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:14PM (#24121055)

    Here is the letter linked as "evidence" of this "censorship" policy:
    http://gopleader.gov/UploadedFiles/Capuano_letter.PDF [gopleader.gov].

    Seems to me that it's referring to "official" House media... that is, representative of The House. Makes sense that if something's supposed to represent the body it ought to be approved by the majority, Democratic, Republican, or whoever.

    Any other sources that indicate that congress is being gagged in their personal speech?

  • by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @02:51PM (#24121757) Homepage

    The letter is avialable here [gopleader.gov]

    #1 - This is only concerning official House communications...not informal messages from House members.

    #2 - The letter is actually requesting to open up external sites (like Youtube) for official House communications since the current house.gov website doesn't meet the needs.

    #3 - The restrictions requested ask for similar standing on external sites as they have on house.gov. In other words, offical communication can't be posted along side an Obama banner ad.

  • by night_flyer (453866) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:12PM (#24122185) Homepage

    Remember Al & Tipper Gore's charge against "bad lyrics" in 1985?

    Remember Al Gore and his running mate, Senator Joseph Lieberman, threat to impose forms of state censorship on the film, music and video games industries should they win the November election in 2000?

    Remember Senator John D. Rockefeller's (D-W.Va) "Indecent and Gratuitous and Excessively Violent Programming Control Act." of 2005?

    Remember Hilary Clinton taking a public stand [slashdot.org] in favor of shielding children from game and other animation content that she deems inappropriate in 2007?

    The republicans arent the only ones taking away your rights...

  • by Concern (819622) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:19PM (#24122291) Journal

    The crack about the Fairness Doctrine is particularly illuminating because it is so ignorant.

    The Fairness Doctrine [wikipedia.org]. was a pre-internet rule supported by both Conservatives and Liberals, used because the government was controlling who could broadcast television and radio.

    Since broadcast mass media "speech" was already totally controlled ("non-free") on the airwaves via the FCC (though for reasons of technology rather than politics), the lucky (and very wealthy) few who had been granted the privilege to broadcast were required to provide time to both sides of any controversial issue. This rule was administered by the FCC, who still performs the same function today with regards to moral standards, language, etc... pretty much everything but politics, where they were instructed by Reagan and Bush (sr. and jr.) to stop (and not yet forced by congress to resume, despite several failed attempts).

    The Fairness Doctrine is as irrelevant on the Internet as it is to a newspaper or a public park, since there is no meaningful barrier for anyone to "speak" in these venues.

    It will not be thus forever, but today in 2008, TV and radio still have a substantial audience and influence (as evidenced by gross advertising revenues), and it is still only an exclusive, government controlled elite club who can broadcast on these systems. Repealing the Fairness Doctrine essentially allowed the broadcasters as a whole to skew farther to one side of the ideological spectrum or the other legally (where before it would have been very difficult to go too far and stay within the law). Those with wealth and power (and that changes in cycles) can thus use the broadcast media for propaganda purposes, a concept familiar in places like Russia, Italy, etc. and now increasingly familiar here in the USA.

    As Rupert Murdoch is now considerably warm towards Barack Obama (see the WSJ [wsj.com]), I wonder if Conservatives who previously thought this was a great idea are now beginning to reconsider.

    Murdoch himself has a history of switching the political orientation of his propaganda machine; in the U.K., for instance.

  • by bkr1_2k (237627) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @03:23PM (#24122381)

    Honestly, where in this link, embedded in the article, say anything about limiting members' capabilities to discuss anything?
    http://gopleader.gov/UploadedFiles/Capuano_letter.PDF [gopleader.gov]

    All the recommendations say is that members of the House should find suitable external sites to host their video content and try to maintain a modicum of their ethics by trying to find sites that don't have advertisements that will be associated with the video content.

    Nowhere do the recommendations suggest members of the House can't speak with their constituents or say what they want to. It only recommends that they use "official" house.gov channels to do so.

  • It ought to bring an end to the over-used "slashkos" accusations. If this site was half as liberal as some people have accused it of being, then the story would have been read (and discarded) by an editor, rather than being fast-tracked to the front page.

    You only need to read through the posts in this thread that came from people who couldn't bother to RTFA to see that slashdot has indeed been overrun by conservatives. Several good posts have already shown that the article in question is fud (and even that is stretching it). Yet there are many, many, posts here claiming this to be a sure sign of Nancy Pelosi bringing on the apocalypse.
  • by mopomi (696055) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:07PM (#24123273)
    When are we going to be able to moderate the editors?

    In this instance, either Timothy didn't RTFA or he did and chose to post this troll to the front page anyway.

    Either way, Timothy needs to lose editor karma.
  • by painehope (580569) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:34PM (#24123771)
    ...reminded off the Bill Hicks' skit about what happens when a new official is elected? It's basically like this :
    1) Official is elected.
    2) Official is escorted into a smoky room where the heads of the most powerful business interests sit.
    3) A screen lowers, plays the Kennedy assassination from an angle that no one has ever seen before (the shooter's angle, for the imaginatively-challenged).
    4) Screen retracts, the head of the "board" asks the official "Any questions?".
    5) Official responds "Uh, what's my agenda?"

    Yeah, that sounds about right. Republican (aka Coke - or cocaine, in Bush's case) or Democrat (aka Pepsi). Pick your sugar-water, America.

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