There are good things coming from bloggers who have become a threat to traditional media outlets. Blogs are becoming part of the media itself, but here's the downside to running with the big dogs
Blogs Face Possible FEC Regulation
Friday, June 03, 2005
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
WASHINGTON — The Federal Election Commission is considering whether to require political bloggers to disclose whether they are receiving funds from a political campaign, the latest step in a larger debate over whether political activity on the Internet should be regulated by the government.
Friday is the deadline set for the FEC to receive public comments on a number of proposed regulations dealing with Internet activities. The commission will hold hearings on June 28-29 in Washington, D.C., before deciding on final action.
One of those new rules, the disclosure requirement, has many bloggers bristling, accusing the government of unfairly targeting them and impinging on free speech. But other political activists say that blogs can act as secret cover for political smear campaigns and create a Potemkin village of grassroots support. They say if that's the impact, then the Web logs should be required to disclose whether their operators are on a campaign payroll.
"I think there is a benefit for voters when they find out that something they find on the Internet is more of a paid advertisement than independent analysis," said Rick Hasen, a Loyola Law School professor who has been one of the more vocal proponents for disclosure requirements. "We have all sorts of rules regarding television advertisements; I don't think this is going too far."