Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Restrictions on blogs

with 2 comments

UPDATE: Totally bogus. As pointed out by the comment below, just read the letter—it’s just asking for a way for members to post more videos than the House.gov’s servers can currently accommodate. Rep. Bachman is speaking through her hat and totally distorting the facts, and I got taken in. My face is red.

Interesting development reported by Rep. Michelle Bachman from the 6th District of Minnesota:

A rule is making its way through Congress that will have a huge impact on our freedom of speech. This rule would prohibit Americans from getting information from their Members of Congress – about what they are doing in Washington, what they are saying, and what they are proposing – on websites that are not “approved” by the Committee on House Administration, the panel that creates rules governing the internal operations of the U.S. House.

This rule affects all of us regardless of political affiliation.

What this essentially means is that sites like YouTube that Members use to communicate with constituents would have to make their way through a complicated, arcane, and restrictive set of House regulations before Members could post videos on them. Under the proposal, the House Administration Committee would develop a list of “approved” websites, and Members of Congress could post content to only those websites.

This proposed rule could mean the end of blogs like this one that have become a real forum for conversation.

The rule has been proposed by the Democrat Chairman of the Commission on Mailing Standards, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), and is being considered for adoption by the Committee on House Administration, chaired by Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA).

Read Rep. Capuano’s letter to Chairman Brady.

If this rule is adopted, the free flow of information from Members to constituents and vice versa would be significantly stunted. Essentially, a panel of federal employees that are not neutral or independent would say what messages and formats are fit and unfit for circulation.

This rule accomplishes nothing except increased censorship of free speech.

Written by Leisureguy

11 July 2008 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

2 Responses

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  1. Have you read the actual letter linked? Nothing in it seems to censor anything. It only seems to discuss the requirements for having something covered by the Franking Commission, i.e using public funds in order to distribute official political announcements versus using public funds to support private political speech. Nothing in this letter suggests anything like censorship. I shouldn’t have to pay for Democratic or Republican propaganda mass mailings. It is reasonable that I pay so that my representative can tell his constituents what he is doing. That’s what this specific letter is discussing.

    Can you explain further what restrictions on political blogs you see in this letter?

    Particularly bizarre is the comment “This proposed rule could mean the end of blogs like this one that have become a real forum for conversation.” It is hosted on a house.gov website, which is explicitly covered by the proposed rules. The question is whether hosting *outside* of house.gov (such as on youtube), should be covered by the Franking Commission rules (and thus be treated as “official” speech rather than personal speech).

    Perhaps there is another link you could post that would explain the problem better?

    Like

    pantheophany

    13 July 2008 at 10:43 am

  2. You’re absolutely right, on two counts:

    1. I didn’t read the letter linked; and
    2. On reading the letter, what it asks is totally benign—indeed, it is asking for additional Web outlets for official government postings (mainly videos).

    Representative Bachman is totally in the wrong here—as I am for posting it. I guess I’ve been worried about government interference in Web postings, so simply leaped before I looked.

    I’m very glad you had me take a closer look at this. I would have realized sooner that it was a complete distortion if I had read the letter—or if I had just looked at the home page and seen the company Rep. Bachman keeps.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    13 July 2008 at 11:09 am


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