Citizens United (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Citizens United was where the little guy got a bit of a voice. I’ve listed four or five reasons below.
In the real world, incumbents re reelected something like 90 percent of the time to Congress, and the majority of times to the presidency. The reason?
The incumbent has a built-in billionaire advantage that comes automagically from (1) using the taxed and borrowed money, collected by taxation extorted from people of opposite sides of their positions and supporters all, for “official” communications, interviews, press releases, and (2) the payback from being a good “patron” for his sponsors’ causes, and (3) name recognition.
In today’s world, item (3) has a dollar value in the millions.
As relates to Citizens United, it is absolutely true that corporations are NOT people.
BUT free speech ensues from natural INDIVIDUAL rights, and one’s contributions to the efforts of an initiative to publicize the views shared by the contributors, provides the individual a way to compete for attention with the big money. Ironic that the excuse they use to protect special interests is that they want to stop the influence of special interests.
Now there are some people that want to throw a mud cover on that, to obscure the fact that people contributing to a corporate initiative with the purpose of supporting their own personal ideas, is a right that ensues from the free speech rights of the INDIVIDUAL doing that contribution. The corporation inherits the rights of the individual owners of that corporation, who have agreed to the terms thereof, and it is the collective voice of those individuals that bestows the right to express opinions.
It is preposterous to argue otherwise. If you do, for consistency you have to ban the corporate free speech of all the newspapers, broadcast studios, and Internet sites that belong to corporations! That means you have to muzzle NBC, CBS, MSNBC, FOX, huffingtonpost, and God forbid, oh my, NPR!
That is a major, blatant, self-contradiction in laws that restrict corporate speech, obvious when uttered explicitly. The corporate news industry is always “exempt” one group of corporations. This group gives voice to Sony, General Electric, and other such giants. Sometimes I suspect “it goes without saying”.
Another self-contradiction is that the subtler forms of support for a candidate are left untouched by these hypocritical initiatives. Hypocritical because exempted or regular newscasts, news stories, and so on.
Hypocritical also when you consider that a recent survey (1990s I believe) showed that as many as 97 percent of the editors in a recent survey were registered to vote with Democratic Party affiliation, and about 80 percent of the journalists. That may have gone down one or two percent since Fox seems like at least to have about an even mix between the two parties.
Those numbers probably help explain why it’s the Democratic Party that pushes for shutting the mouths of others. Us poor people and middle class cannot pay for a full-page ad to explain our views or influence opinions.
But then there are gobs of independents, and a big part of those independents are people like me who hold to ideas vehemently and brutally opposed by the two-party cartel that holds power right now.
The special-interest group with generally the most influence anyway is the collection of companies that own broadcast and cable networks and print newspapers, and don’t forget corporations with massive Internet presence. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, HN. And remember that NPR is no obscure news source, as shown by the fact that one of its own moderated the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign.
And remember that those news sources subsist from advertising almost exclusively. NPR has subscribers, and many of the Citizen United contributors may have heard about it from alternate media. Little-guy media.
NPR is a corporate entity, yes it is, and the fact that much of its funding comes from the current incumbent that has the elected office, along with the strings that come along with it. It also outlasts each Congress and presidency with their change in personnel. The effect is that their perspective influences them to favor the idea that government is a benevolent animal, simply because they view themselves as benevolent.
In other words, NPR’s government funding goes hand in hand with the philosophy that government should influence favorably the public’s view of government.
See here a diagram showing much of the interconnections between media corporations and their “cousins” in other industries: