September 29, 2004
Has Joe Barton Heard Of The Constitution?
What happens when full-time legislators have a part-time workload? Drudge links to a Variety article that provides the answer:
In the wake of CBS News' "60 Minutes" controversy, an influential Republican on Tuesday said he wants to convene a Capitol Hill hearing on TV news operations after the Nov. 2 election.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chair of the House Commerce Committee, told a meeting of the TV engineering trade group MSTV in Washington that broadcast network news divisions "need to have safeguards to prevent reporters from infusing their opinions into news reports."
The lawmaker said he wanted to hear from execs of all the nets -- not just CBS -- and threatened to introduce legislation requiring TV news operations to impose safeguards against partisan bias seeping into reports.
Clearly, Joe Barton has plenty of spare time. So he should stroll over to 700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW and have a look-see at the Constitution of the United States. Hopefully, this passage from Amendment 1 will catch his eye:
Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ...
The text is so clear and concise that Joe Barton is either (A) a simpleton or (B) an enemy of freedom.
If it's (A), someone should carefully explain to Barton (preferably via a puppet show) that reporters have the constitutional right to put "their opinions into news reports" even while falsely claiming objectivity, and Congress is explicitly forbidden from stopping them. Even if CBS News chooses to do everything in its power to get Kerry elected and skews its news coverage to that end, the Constitution prohibits Congress from doing anything about it.
And if it's (B), well, then Joe Barton should become a Democrat. After all, the party of slavery would surely embrace such a tyrannical mindset.
When it comes to Rathergate, the free market has beaten Barton to the punch. As CBS News' plunging ratings prove, television viewers are already exacting a price far more punitive than any unconstitutional congressional sanction Joe Barton can conjure up.
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