Wednesday, October 20, 2010
ADVERTISEMENTS - October 21, 2010
As we look upon the use that is being made of the recent decisions by the Supreme Court in the matter of political advertising by moneyed interests, we come to understand the potential of those decisions in licensing of purchasing elections by unaccountable forces. It is possible to place such an ad, even replete with false accusations, without their being traced to any source. It is not even clear that the medium involved can refuse to air the ad without risking suit for violating 1st Amendment rights. If an agent were willing to act for the advertiser, the harm of false accusations would not be fully answerable, especially in the late days before the election. Such a situation might actually apply today in the matter of foreign advertisers and the Chamber of Commerce. They have the foreign funds, and they have been inserting their ads in advancement of some candidacies and against others. They assert that none of the foreign money is involved in the payment for them, but we have only their unsupported word for that. They are not obliged to account for how they spend their money and they, or their cohorts, have voiced their constitutional right to say whatever they please without any obligation to be free of inquiry into the funding of the assertions they might put forth. And since those assertions might be in violation of the laws concerning foreign funding of political advertisements, they might also be protected by the 5th Amendment from having to make any such accounting. The laws on libel and fraud are hard to enforce, and the outcome would be after the election, as they were in the case of the Swiftboat lies against Sen. Kerry in 2004. The only defense against such abuses must be to assume that there is no compulsion to speak the truth, and that any rogue can say anything in the U. S. under the law as seen in the Supreme Court under the present leadership. It is a bitter pill for the People and our Democracy.We should have known this even before. No advertisement is fit for belief.