Damon Root at the Hit & Run blog at Reason.com has an excellent post today taking the New York Times to task for its hypocrisy on the question of free-speech rights for corporations.
When the issue was the Citizens United ruling and the resulting ability of corporations to directly spend money on political advertising, well the Times worried about the supposed corrupting influence of the practice and the drowning out of the common man's voice, which is not amplified by hordes of corporate cash.
But fast-forward to this week and it's a far different story. Here's the blog excerpted in full:
Five years ago, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United decision, the editorial board of The New York Times denounced the very idea of allowing for-profit corporations to engage in robust political speech. If we the people allow corporations to use “their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding,” the Times declared, democracy itself will be imperiled.
I was reminded of that anti-corporate editorial today when I read the latest editorial from The New York Times’ editorial board:
Big corporations like Walmart, Apple, Salesforce.com and General Electric and their executives have done the right thing by calling on officials in Indiana and Arkansas to reject “religious freedom” laws designed to give businesses and religious groups legal cover should they deny service to gay couples.
The Times then urged those big corporations to use their vast treasuries to help elect candidates who support gay rights, gay marriage, and the expansion of anti-discrimination laws.
In other words, according to the Times, it is a threat to democracy when corporate power is used to “intimidate elected officials,” but it is both beneficial and applaudable when several of America’s most powerful corporations throw their weight around in the hopes of influencing elected officials to take a particular side in a contentious political dispute.
Got it? Me neither.
Actually, I do get it. The New York Times editorial board is not at all concerned with intellectual consistency but with a) promoting a left-wing agenda and b) opposing competition in the marketplace of ideas that undercuts the legacy media's previously long-held monopoly on political speech and campaign agenda-setting. When corporate America's interests fall in lock-step with the former, the latter is a moot point.