“It is not the corporate structure of media companies that makes them deserving of constitutional protection,” a November Times editorial asserted. “It is their function–the vital role that the press plays in American democracy–that sets them apart.” That function is a combination of information and advocacy. As we’ve seen in the gun debate, it’s sometimes very heavy on advocacy. The Daily Caller notes that journalists took to Twitter to “slam” the NRA during a presidential press conference.
Well, the National Rifle Association also has a corporate structure. Like Citizens United, its divisions that engage in politics are nonprofits under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Unlike the New York Times Co., the NRA does not seek to make a profit. But its structure, according to the Times, is irrelevant. What matters is its function.
The NRA’s function (and Citizens United’s) is a combination of information and advocacy–the same as a media corporation’s function. But before Citizens United, the NRA was legally forbidden from engaging in certain types of core political speech. The Times’s view is that itself and a few other government-approved corporations deserve a monopoly on free speech, and that the government deserves a monopoly on the possession of firearms…
It must be hard living in a country whose very constitution you loathe.