Twitter recently announced that they will not be hosting any political advertising for the 2020 election season.
Some claim this is an infringement of free speech or some claptrap. No, this does not affect freedom of speech. The candidates can still have their own pages, they just cannot pay to promote those pages.
Yes, Facebook and all media should be following the same policy. So should Google. This is the absolute best, most fair system possible at this time.
There is no question that we are not going to get corporate media to cover all candidates equally or objectively. We once had the Fairness Doctrine which enforced equal coverage. Now we have neoliberal media on one side and Conservative media on the other. Corporate media intentionally conducts blackouts of Progressive candidates when not directly attacking them.
What elimination of political advertising does is even the playing field slightly. It means that the campaign with the least money has more chance of visibility, while campaigns with the most money cannot shove their campaign down your throat.
No political advertising also means PACs (Political Action Committees) will not be able to promote their favored candidate or agenda on any media that adopts this policy.
It also basically eliminates any more discussion about “Russians” paying for political ads on Twitter. Or Ukraine or China or whomever else. There can be no accusation of indirect influence via NRA funding, Planned Parenthood or whomever you care to name.
Yes, we will deal with claims that some media coverage is “Russian influenced” but then that has to be quantified more thoroughly. It has been a constant claim for years that RT is Russian propaganda. Yet when challenged to present one specific example, the claimants consistently fail to even attempt to present proof. I have asked Russiagaters if they think Larry King, Chris Hedges, Ed Schultz, Jesse Ventura, Abby Martin or Lee Camp are Russian propaganda because each and every one is or has been a regular on RT at some point. Jimmy Dore has been a guest anchor on several occasions.
The ultimate effect of such a policy would be the reduction of influence of money over elections. It’s a far more difficult battle we face to completely eliminate corporate money from politics but if we demand that social media and all media in general refuse to carry political advertising, we make the entire issue a moot point. It also reduces the chances that corporations and corporate media sources will invest massive sums into campaigns. The sum total effect would be a huge reduction in the amount of corporate money spent on campaigns. So no more $1.2 billion campaigns.
The only real concern I have with this is whether they will consider posts or videos by candidates to be advertising. As long as that’s not the case, it lends more power to individuals who share posts among ourselves. However, remember Correct The Record (CTR)? Paid trolls who posted for Hillary and attacked other candidates in all venues of social media? That is absolutely something we will see happening again. The advantage we have with them is that we can block them. So get ready to do that. They’re easy to spot and I will be posting methods through 2020 on how to identify them easily.
Right now we all need to write, post and petition all corporate media to follow the example being set by Twitter. If a corporate media source insists on hosting political advertising, we can organize mass boycotts of that source.
This is a very strong step toward what truly needs to be our ultimate goal for campaign finance reform- Federally funded elections at all levels, bottom to top. Equal funding for the top 4 parties (at least). No ballot access fees. We have many other steps we should push for but they are separate from campaign finance and advertising.