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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

You Can Say Anything You Want ... Just Don't Dare "Coordinate" With Somebody Else

New York Post editorialist and Tech Central Station columnist Ryan Sager was mystified by a Seattle Post-Intelliencer editorial that defended a Washington state county judge's assault on the First Amendment rights of a couple of Talk Radio hosts.

So Sager - who is also proprietor of the fine Miscellaneous Objections blog - called PI Editorial Page Editor Mark Trahant and asked him about it. Sager describes Trahant's response:

"'We're not participants,' Trahant said. 'We have no vested interest, other than as citizens.' Trahant went on to note that one of the hosts, Carlson, had given money to the I-912 campaign. 'They actually coordinated on air, telling people where to get petitions.'"

The I-912 campaign was a tax hike effort ginned up by the local politicos who were being criticized by the two Talk Radio hosts.

Note the last line of Trahant's remarks. What seemed to get his goat was less the fact that the Talk Radio hosts were talking but that others were listening and acting on what they heard!

Observes Sager:

"The speech regulators, almost always on the political left, are happy to let you talk
all day -- so long as what you say doesn't actually have any effect on anything. But if what you say starts driving fundraising or getting people out of their chairs and on the street collecting signatures, then you may well be an enemy of the state."

Especially if you happen to be opposing a tax hike proposal! How about we call this Sager's Law?