Can blogging be lobbying

November 23, 2008

Washington state is considering.

Blogger beware? State regulators are wondering whether online political activism amounts to lobbying, which could force Web-based activists to file public reports detailing their finances.

In a collision of 21st century media and 1970s political reforms, the inquiry hints at a showdown over press freedoms for bloggers, whose self-published journals can shift between news reporting, opinion writing, political organizing and campaign fundraising.

This is a very frightening proposal.  I’ll set aside the discussion of the un-Constitutionality of campaign finance reform laws in general, but suffice it to say that requiring bloggers to file financial reports would be a big, wet towel on the blogging fire.

But, of course, that’s precisely the point.  The one blogger quoted in the story runs a web site named  Now, I haven’t visited it, but based on the name I’m guessing he criticizes the government occassionally.  And that’s precisely what the government is trying to stop.

Blogs are pure, unadulterated, citizen activism.  Granted, unless you’re really good at it you probably don’t have much effect on anything, but it’s still a mechanism for “Joe Average” to vent his frustrations with his government.  We all know the government doesn’t like it when you vent…