FOX, Lies & Videotape: debunking an internet myth

Much ado is being made about the supposed “war” between the Obama White House and FOX News. As the New York Times reports:

Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.

“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Her comments are only the latest in the volatile exchange between the administration and the top-rated network…

While some appear concerned that the White House feud with FOX News raises First Amendment concerns, we at the Center for Competitive Politics are not among them. Frosty relationships between administrations and the media are nothing new, as Thomas Jefferson’s quote that “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers” attests.  And who can forget ex-Vice President Spiro Agnew and his comment about the “nattering nabobs of negativism?”

What is of interest to CCP, however, is that the controversy has seemingly given new life, or at least a fresh story to attach itself to, to the claim that FOX News successfully went to court in order to get a ruling explicitly protecting a First Amendment right to “lie” in its programming. The story is often used to support demands for censorship of the airwaves under the guise of the so-called “fairness doctrine,” along with calls to extend it to cable among those who understand that FOX News is a cable news outlet.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Florida

Campaign Finance Legislation Headed for Vote

Filed Under: In the News

CCP files brief in N.H. free speech case

The Center for Competitive Politics filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case involving court-imposed punishment of political speech following a vote over where to place a cell phone tower in Wolfeboro.

“Fining a company millions of dollars for engaging in the most basic level of political speech is outrageous and threatens the First Amendment rights of all New Hampshire citizens,” said Stephen Hoersting, the Vice President of the Center for Competitive Politics and the brief’s author. “Speech by a company addressing voters on an issue is clearly protected by the First Amendment. This was not an advertisement for cell phones; it was an appeal to the citizen-legislators of Wolfeboro.”

The case, Green Mountain Realty Corp v. The Fifth Estate Tower LLC (GMR v. Fifth Estate), involved competing proposals to build a cell phone tower, and the matter was put to a vote after competing educational campaigns by the two companies: mailings, newspaper and radio ads, flyers and other advocacy efforts. Voters rejected GMR’s proposal on election day (after previously rejecting Fifth Estate’s proposal), and GMR sued, alleging that Fifth Estate’s advocacy was not protected political speech but false commercial speech subject to the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

Filed Under: Blog, New Hampshire

Congress Set to Take Aim at Judicial Recusals

Filed Under: In the News

Anatomy of a Failed Idea

This article analyzes the experiment with taxpayer financed elections in Wisconsin. Initially conceived as a way of ensuring that anyone could run for election, data from past elections proves that contrary to its intent, the program is achieving the opposite results. In his study, Mike Nichols points out the program’s failures and explains its shortcomings. Ultimately, the author demonstrates the failure of Wisconsin’s experiment with taxpayer-financed campaigns.

Filed Under: In the News, Wisconsin

Taxpayer financing not an end-all to corruption



Filed Under: In the News

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.