Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Media Rules: Michael Moore has been showing a lot of ads for movie Fahrenheit 9/11 now that it has come out on DVD. But there's something different from these ads compared to the ones he ran when the movie was in the theaters: No pictures of President Bush. As Election Day approaches, we won't get to see yet another clip of him standing on a golf course saying, "Now watch this drive."

That's because the McCain-Feingold law on campaign finance reform places strong restrictions on political ads. The law severely limits how groups can run ads close to an election that mention the name or show an image of a candidate.

While I don't agree with much that Michael Moore says, he should be allowed to say what he thinks about the president or any presidential candidate -- especially on television. But McCain-Feingold limits his freedom of speech.

The law puts more power into the hands of the media and less in the hands of people. We don't need to give more power to media powerhouses like Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which is forcing its 62 television stations around the country to run a movie that attacks Kerry's Vietnam record. Democrats want an investigation to see whether this violates campaign-finance law. But instead of restricting more speech, we should let more people participate in political debate by letting them air their concerns on television to set the record straight.

UPDATE: I originally overexaggerated my case. I fixed the language to make it more accurate.


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