Movies as a Campaign Finance Law End-Run

Daily Kos says,

Farenheit 9/11 will one day be the subject of a thousands acedmic papers, especially if Kerry wins the White House. The movie's first trailer is already the most effective anti-Bush commercial ever made.

Of course, that trailer won't be shown on TV. It's a 2-minute piece designed for movie theaters, not television (though it'll bear watching whether theaters show the trailer). The real fireworks will hit, I'm sure, when this movie's ad campaign hits television.

Done right (and I do trust Moore to do it right), those 30-second movie commercials, run nationally, could be some of the most effective political advertising of the season (without being, legally, political advertising). Watch stations try to block the ad, in the face of a concerted GOP effort to suppress its showing.

Meanwhile, Digby points to the trailer of The Hunting of the President, which I see as another example of the same phenomenon. This movie is apparently only showing in a few cities, but the DVD is promised to be out by election time.

Kos again:

If the movie has a measurable impact on the elections, watch the concept become a new CFR loophole. Say we have President Kerry in office. A bunch of rich Republicans (the “haves” and the “have mores” or, as Bush likes to call them, his “base”) make an anti-Kerry movie in 2008, and release it, oh, at about this time. Then they run $100 million in ads promoting the anti-Kerry bit, all outside the reach of campaign finance laws and the FEC.

A loophole it will be next to impossible to close.

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5 Responses to Movies as a Campaign Finance Law End-Run

  1. If John Kerry launches a pointless, preemptive war in violation of international law, attempts to forestall social spending by bankrupting the federal government, and authorizes an interrogation program that violates the Geneva Convention (and, in so doing, destroys the international reputation and credibility of the United States), then let him be the subject of scathing documentaries.

  2. Brett Bellmore says:

    Why impossible to close? The current Supreme court seems ready to ditch the First amendment, given just how little justification, (The possibility of the appearance of corruption? Gimme a break!) they needed to authorize control over admittedly political speech, right in the face of that explicit “no law”. I certainly wouldn’t want to make any bets about what further violations they’d sanction.

    Now, since most of the impetus for campaign censorship comes from Democrats, I don’t think this year’s crop of campaign commercials disguised as movies is going to trigger a law… But you can bet that there will be a bumper crop of Republican campaign movies two years from now, and THAT will do the trick.

    In fact, I’d wager that the law prohibiting them is being drafted right now.

  3. Hudson says:

    It’s not a campaign finance loophole, it’s free speech.

    Define it any other way, and every artist and writer in the country would start being regulated by the F.E.C.

    Don’t worry about it so much: Republicans are bad at art, including movies.

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  5. Brett Bellmore says:

    “It’s not a campaign finance loophole, it’s free speech.”

    Right. And so are the explicit, openly acknowleged campaign ads current campaign “reforms” regulate. It’s not just artists and writers who have free speech rights. It’s everyone, even if they’re talking about a candidate for office with 60 days of the election.

    Campaign “reforms’ are ALREADY crushing free speech. What’s left but to finish the job?


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