Super–PACs Even Playing Field for GOP
I read with interest the articles in the October and November issues concerning the influence of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The articles fail to mention a key reason for the Citizens United decision to remain unchanged. Those on the left, such as U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin (D–Ill.) and Bernard Sanders (I–Vt.), who are quoted, frequently inveigh against those of a conservative nature being able to express their views through support from super–PACs.
The real issue is that without such vehicles as super–PACs, conservative voices would be close to excluded from the ability to convey their views at all, a vital free speech problem. The popular media is overwhelmingly liberal (of course, there are a few conservative voices, e.g., Fox News and The Wall Street Journal), but the likes of NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC are clearly liberal oriented. Throw major newspapers into the mix, and the left-wing bias deepens.
But for Citizens United, casino operator Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers could be excluded from making substantial contributions to see their views expressed when individuals such as Donald Graham and Arthur Sulzberger Jr. could use their control of multi–million–dollar media empires (The Washington Post and The New York Times, respectively) to advance the liberal agenda. Do Senators Durbin and Sanders also want to limit Mr. Graham and Mr. Sulzberger? This raises interesting questions.
For instance, if a wealthy individual wanted to publish something promoting a conservative candidate, throw a few sports scores on the back page of it, and call it a newspaper, who is to say it is not a newspaper? Would the expenditure be subject to campaign spending limitations if Citizens United were overturned? Would there be some federal agency defining newspapers?
But the liberal media bias does not stop with the news. Numerous situation comedies gratuitously throw laugh lines (canned, of course) into programs that denigrate conservatives, but rarely liberals. Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show makes fun of Republicans much more than Democrats. During the recent presidential campaign, David Letterman mocked Mitt Romney practically every evening, but not President Obama. How much would liberal candidates have to pay for this kind of message during a comedy show if they did not get it free from the media?
Thanks to the Citizens United decision, conservatives have an opportunity to get their message before the public, despite the barrage of liberal views put forth in the popular media.
—James A. Calderwood
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Giving Youths a Second Chance
It’s refreshing to see articles such as Thai Phi Le’s “Youth Interrupted—and Restored,” which ran in the November 2012 issue.
As a former social worker who specialized in working with kids, I understand how important it is to make the community aware of the programs available to help youths rebound from troubling times. If we don’t grab them while they are young, many of these youths will become adults who will spend time going in and out of the judicial system. The D.C. Superior Court’s program, and others just like it nationwide, provides a way of steering these children in the right direction and catching them while they are young.
After all, a mistake made at 12, 13, or 14 should not derail a teen for life. Thankfully, programs geared toward teens can provide some hope.
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