Free Markets, Free People


Breaking: Government Figures Out How To Shut Down Blogs

The Federal Trade Commission has just released a ruling (PDF) that requires bloggers to disclose anything–and I mean anything–they receive as a result of their blogging.  Free review copies of books.  Trips to oil rigs.  Payments.  T-shirts.  Whatever it is, you better disclose it, or you get slapped with a fine of $11,000 per infraction.

In other words, the government is now putting all web sites, professional or personal, under its thumb for failing to disclose everything they receive from any source.  And what are the guidelines for disclosure?  Why, none at all.  So, assuming you receive a free copy of a book–even if you don’t review it–you must disclose that you received it.  How do you disclose it?  I dunno.  How do you you know if your disclosure is sufficient?  I dunno.  The FTC, you see, will make those decisions on a “case-by-case” basis.

<sarcasm>I’m sure they’ll be quite fair about it, too.  And I’m quite certain that the FTC will never, ever selectively enforce these new rules so that more scrutiny is given to opponents of the current regime than to its supporters.</sarcasm>

The main thing to remember here is that free speech is not nearly as important as protecting the public from some blogger who doesn’t disclose that he got a free review copy of the book to read, in order to write the review.  And, of course, you’re all too stupid and venal to protect yourselves from the danger to the republic that freebies to bloggers represent.

But, we already knew that.

More info and quotes here.

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28 Responses to Breaking: Government Figures Out How To Shut Down Blogs

  • I’ve already got my response prepared. The FTC can get in line behind the FEC.

  • But of course, these same rules apply to mainstream media…..

    And they also require MSM broadcasters to disclose whenever they’ve been approached by government representatives (the “usually reliable sources”) with advice about a story.

    There’s no doubt that they will go heavily against the spammers, like the ones so concerned about the kind of watch I wear – these are clearly “endorsing a product”.

    (I did a word-search of the pdf for “fine” and for “penalty”, and fond neither. Is the “$11,000″ in another document?)

    Where’s the EFF on this issue? And where’s PJTV?

    • The EFF is staffed by lefties. They know that only the bad people (us) will be singled out

  • This has ticked me off my response is similar to Phelps’ and can be viewed at my new Blog. I am going to try and keep poking my finger in the eye of those imbeciles that do not comprehend the document known as the Bill of Rights.

  • Well, I’m in the clear. I haven’t even received so much as a solicitation to receive any money or product in exchange for a nice-nice post. I’m pretty sure offers to sell me various sexual aids via e-mail don’t count.

    I know. I’m doing it wrong.

    Oh, and the FTC can suck my penile enhancement product.

  • Keep track of this and let us know.

    Is this bureaucracy creep or something more sinister?

    • Its about burdening lone operation “I still have another life” bloggers.

      The left tends to have mega blogs with actual staffs which will now include legal/accounting staffing paid for by probably Soros.

      The right tends have more people in the hobby to 2nd job category. If we pass enough laws and regs, they’ll quit. And if we can throw a few who’ve made an accounting mistake here or there in debtors prison, we’ll scare off even more.

      I seem to recall Obama’s czar of Something (hard to keep track) saying regulations should be used to affect change.

      Here ya go.

      • Blogs, the avenue of mass media for the common man who’s reach is based primarily on the quality of their work and some luck will now be regulated out of their reach into the hands of the few.

  • But we can’t know who donated money to Clinton’s library.

  • Time to immediately use it against change.gov’s blogs, Huffington Post, Kos, etc. Wield their infrastructure against them. Aren’t tweets blogs too? I’d expect every congressperson that has tweeted is now subject to this regulation – let’s see the lists people. Jails are waiting to be filled.

  • Hey, maybe Clinton’s library has a web blog or something, right?

    Heh heh

  • And that stuff will go on your income taxes to be audited as well.

    • jpm and retired military nailed it.

      The will tie this in with the IRS. Your trips to the oil rigs (if they don’t like your politics) will need to be declared as income on your taxes, then they will really hammer you. Since you have been required to disclose it on your blog they have the proof needed to use against you.

  • There is another, more amusing way to play this. Spam the system. Do they require disclosure of everything? Have every blogger in the country “report” multiple items every day. Report a pencil. Report an eraser. Report advice. Spam the system – make sure it is recieving millions of reports per year, much much more than can ever be categorized or dealt with by any organization. Make the system break down under the load of nonsensical reports – let every individual blogger file 1,000 reports a year. Let every blog poster file 1,000 a year.

    Load the system down until it sinks.

    • good idea.

      We can send you pencils and erasers every day :)

    • I’ll admit, I’m interested to see the disclosure statements for Oliver and Kos. Arianna also.

      How about access? Does “access” in exchange for slobbering posts count?

  • And just how do these mental midgets think they’re gonna enforce this exactly? There’s how many blogs, how many posts per day to “monitor”?

    It’s a non-starter on the face of it.

    What a disgrace- you’re 100% correct that this is set up precisely so as to be able to take dead aim at opponents of the administration (hey lefties, don’t get too comfy, at some point the GOP will be in control also)

    Lets see which dogs don’t bark at this one

    • “(hey lefties, don’t get too comfy, at some point the GOP will be in control also)”

      The GOP doesn’t do this sorta thing. Clinton’s enemies were audited by the IRS. Bush’s weren’t.

      For all their screaming, the left very well knows that Bush and Reagan, et al behave and do not single out citizens for abuse. Clinton and Obama? Different story . . .

  • So what happens if your blog host is located in a foreign country, or if you are a foreigner blogging on an American host?

  • What about a job? What if Reason Magazine stumbles across my blog, and offers me a position at the magazine? (Just run with me on this.) Do I have to declare my salary twice? Once because I received compensation as a result of my blogging, and once as an employee?

    Why do I see this regulation being trotted out to kill stories that would otherwise break on some picayune blog somewhere? Maybe the guy behind “Joe’s Beer Goggles” blog finds a couple of the mythical video of Michelle O lambasting “whitey.” Before he can run with it, he gets a knock on his door, and a trip to club fed for failing to report that copy of Roger L. Simon’s book he received for review.

    It doesn’t seem universally enforceable, but it sure as hell could be used as a club against targeted individuals.

  • You really have to wonder how “Liberals” are going to reconcile these attacks on free speech as being consistent with liberal core values, or the Constitution.

    Add to that being for restricting speech against a religion, and you’ve got the makings of the need for PC police with enforcement powers.

    http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/043ytrhc.asp

    The Obama administration has marked its first foray into the UN human rights establishment by backing calls for limits on freedom of expression. The newly-minted American policy was rolled out at the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council, which ended in Geneva on Friday. American diplomats were there for the first time as full Council members and intent on making friends.

    President Obama chose to join the Council despite the fact that the Organization of the Islamic Conference holds the balance of power and human rights abusers are among its lead actors, including China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. Islamic states quickly interpreted the president’s penchant for “engagement” as meaning fundamental rights were now up for grabs. Few would have predicted, however, that the shift would begin with America’s most treasured freedom.

  • Welcome to the party, my fellow bloggers. This is just the latest installment in our serial, How Government Works. The previous chapter was CPSIA. Congress says “Hey, let’s write a law making everybody test all children’s products for lead!” How do we test? CPSC will figure that out. What has to be tested? CPSC will figure that out. How often do we have to test? CPSC will figure that out… Oh, and CPSC is underfunded and understaffed and just also had every public swimming pool put under their jurisdiction and required to retrofit their drain covers, and they’ve only got six months to work all this out, but surely they can do it, because actually working out details is beneath us Senators and Representatives.

    This is the trend in government now: write a sweeping feel-good law, leave the nitty-gritty of how it’s going to be enforced to the federal agencies (they can handle it, right?).