Sunday, July 04, 2010

I Know You, Al

It still comes as a bit of a surprise to me to find Al Franken being taken seriously as a Senator -- and more than that, having a substantive and serious effect on that body and its deliberations. Al Franken? The comedian and humor writer? Franken and Davis? Saturday Night Live?


On the other hand, I don't think he's always on mark. As in this, from the Kagan heaings:

"If Comcast and NBC merge, I worry that AT&T and Verizon are going to decide that they have to buy ABC or CBS to compete," resulting in "less independent programming, fewer voices, and a smaller marketplace of ideas. That's a First Amendment problem. It's also an antitrust problem."

Antitrust, yes. But I can't see it as a First Amendment problem. If I do not have a broadband medium with which to propagate my views, but I can still put them out in another medium, that's not a restriction of my First Amendment rights. If I don't have one at all -- and no one else does, either -- that's not a restriction. A constraint, yes - but one that exists any time a free medium isn't universally available. Not a problem.

I'd like very much to agree with him, but not, I think, in this case. Not entirely.

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