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Thursday, July 10

"YouTube et al threaten to bring openness to the House:" Update on Democrat Politicians Move to Control Congressional Internet Content

I don't have Trackback. (Let's face it, Pundita is a disaster when it comes to being a proper blog; most of the time my lazy assistant Tiffany even forgets to add keywords.*) And I rarely give an accounting of all blogs that link to one of my posts.

But on this occasion I want to give special thanks to all concerned for making room in their busy schedule to quickly respond to ZenPundit Mark Safranski's request, which I forwarded them, to help publicize moves in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to control how Congress interfaces with the public on the internet.

Thanks to Riehl World View, Gates of Vienna, and Free Mark Steyn! for linking to my post on the topic. And thanks to The Real Barack Obama for cross-posting my entry yesterday.

Thanks also to Hang Right reader Suek and OldCoastie reader at Firedoglake for linking to my post in those blogs' comment section.

Also, thanks to John Batchelor for snatching moments from his very hectic schedule to look into the issue.

If I've missed anyone, my thanks to you!

Also, ZenPundit and The Real Barack Obama have updated their own posts on the topic to include lists of other bloggers who have been writing on the topic.

An important post on the topic is found at a social networking site called Mashable. The comment thread is also illuminating. It's encouraging that Web tecchie sites are taking an interest in the issue.

Clay Shirky, a widely respected pundit/thinker for the Web 2.0 sector, has also weighed in on the topic; on Wednesday he made a comment (see second comment) for the Google Group discussion about The Open House Project. (The project is dedicated to using the internet to bring more transparency to government.)

Shirky answers skeptics who ask how the House Administration Committee could possibly enforce its proposed rules requiring outside websites, such as YouTube, to comply with House regulations before Members of Congress can post videos on them:
Don't make the mistake of assuming an unpoliceable rule is also unenforceable.

They can enforce it the way we enforce parking rules, which is to miss most violations, and then bring on draconian enforcement of enough violations to create a chilling effect. This would also allow the Rules committee to use enforcement as a selectively wielded stick.


YouTube et al threaten to bring openness to the House, and to normalize a channel in which franking privileges create no advantage for incumbents.

In a social environment as tight as the House, the threat of unlikely but serious punishment, for an activity that Members may not be in a hurry to embrace or defend anyway, will be enough to make discussion with constituents out in the open an edge case.
Of course the YouTube "threat" applies to both sides of the political aisle. So anyone who believes that Republicans are making a mountain out of a molehill about the issue is poorly informed.

This is one issue on which all Americans, no matter their political ideology, need to link arms. To reference the Hang Right blog's banner quote of Benjamin Franklin: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."


* Someday I really must find a way to thank Mark Steyn for recommending Tiffany so highly.
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