TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Free Speech and Corporations

Re: Free Speech and Corporations

John Smith (
Sun, 24 Oct 2004 16:48:50 GMT

Lisa Hancock wrote:

> As another poster correctly pointed out, it is Sinclair's network and
> he is free to do as he wants (he controls the majority stock)
> regarding showing the film.
> The right of free speech is very important. But it is not unlimited.

And Sinclair should be taught that fact.

> Free speech is not mob rule, nor compelling someone else to pay or
> provide your platform to speak from.

You're quite right, but you're arguing against yourself. By allowing
Sinclair to use the public "airwaves" without restriction (which are
not his, but are in fact public property, a finite resource licensed
to him by the people for use in the public good) I am being compelled
to provide him a platform to speak from. Who do I see about that?

> Another poster stated corporations exist for the good of the public.
> I don't know where that came from.

It's clear you don't. I chalk it up to a private education.

So let's enlighten you. Where that came from was the fact that
corporations exist by state charter, and these charters are issued
under the proviso that the corporation shall operate in the public
good, in exchange for liability protection. If corporations accept
this protection, they must abide by the terms of the offer. They are
no longer "free". If it's freedom they want, they can do it on their
own without this, the oldest form of state welfare.

You can be excused for not knowing, of course, because it is so rare
for a state, on learning that a corporation has not lived up to its
charter, to do anything about it. In fact though, a state could
revoke the charter of a corporation for cause -- an act that has been
referred to as the "corporate death penalty" -- if it found that the
corporation was acting against the public good.

Now you know.

Lisa Hancock further wrote:

> Frankly, it bothered me that some people asserted it was somehow
> "wrong" for Sinclair to show his propaganda....

Oh, and P.S.:

People can "assert: things, but they can also do a lot more than that.

Sinclair has since announced that it will not be airing the show, and
will instead present a different one-hour news show entitled "A POW
Story: Politics, Pressure, and the Media" which will include some
clips from "Stolen Honor" but not the entire film.

The company denies that grassroots protests, including those of
stockholders and advertisers, which have caused it financial damage
running into nine figures since their original announcement, had
anything to do with the change. In fact they are now claiming that they
never had any intention of airing the whole of "Stolen Honor" from the

Yeah, right.

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