Thursday, June 24, 2004

Can the Right use McCain-Feingold to ban TV and radio ads for Fahrenheit 9/11? Well, maybe:

Michael Moore may be prevented from advertising his controversial new movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” on television or radio after July 30 if the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today accepts the legal advice of its general counsel....

In a draft advisory opinion placed on the FEC’s agenda for today’s meeting, the agency’s general counsel states that political documentary filmmakers may not air television or radio ads referring to federal candidates within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election....

The proscription is broadly defined. Section 100.29 of the federal election regulations defines restricted corporate-funded ads as those that identify a candidate by his “name, nickname, photograph or drawing” or make it “otherwise apparent through an unambiguous reference.”...

I can't see why this has to happen. Surely ads can be made for this movie that don't mention Bush and don't make "an unambiguous reference" to him.

If those ads are banned, then it's war. If the FEC rules, in effect, that any ad for Fahrenheit 9/11, with any wording, is ipso facto a campaign commercial, just because of the content of the movie being advertised, then every TV and radio ad for a right-wing talk-radio host should be pulled from the airwaves, starting a month before the Democratic convention.

If Moore has to pull all his ads, then, two days from now (i.e., a month before the Democratic convention begins), WRKO in Boston shouldn't be able to run any ads that say, "Coming up at three this afternoon, Howie Carr" -- because that would be given airtime to an ad for a full-time Kerry hater. MSNBC shouldn't be able to interrupt Headliners to run a plug for professional Democrat-hater Joe Scarborough's show. Fox News shouldn't be able to run any ads for any of its shows.

If Moore really does take the big hit, let's sue 'em all and make sure this ban extends to everyone it applies to.

(Moore story via BuzzFlash.)

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