Ann Althouse has disturbing news — President Obama believes in the nearly unlimited censorship of artistic works put out by corporations!
Lawyers even saw fit at that time to argue that movies shouldn’t get free-speech protection at all because “their production, distribution, and exhibition is a large-scale business conducted for private profit.”
Oh, wait, the President of the United States today argues that corporations don’t have free-speech rights, and many Americans, including highly educated lawyers, are saying the Constitution should be amended to delete those rights.
This is indeed disturbing. While, as every other liberal democracy in the world has concluded, I do not believe that “free speech rights” entail an unlimited right to contribute to political campaigns, if Obama really believes that corporations “don’t have free speech rights” even when it comes to the dissemination of artistic or political works, this would indeed be profoundly disturbing! I am outraged!
But, just for fun, perhaps we should see if the characterization is accurate. Here are president Obama’s remarks, in their entirety:
Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.
Oh, OK, so in fact Obama didn’t say anything remotely resembling what Althouse attributed to him, and indeed Althouse’s characterization reflects levels of hackery normally reserved for her friend Glenn Reynolds. But I’m still outraged by his imaginary arguments!