The Citizens United Ruling, Once More

Matt Welch points to a few paragraphs from a David Kirkpatrick article arguing there is little evidence that regulating political money lessens corruption. Tim Lee's post from last week, which contends there is no way to limit corporate speech and not limit speech from groups like the ACLU, is also worth pondering. Julian Sanchez sees those who disagree with the ruling as paternalistic:

Why is it that so many people who clearly do think books and magazines and talk radio shows enjoy unambiguous constitutional protection, despite being corporate funded or operated, are simultaneously absolutely sure that paid broadcast spots are in an utterly different category?

If one is above all concerned with exacerbating the translation of economic inequality into political inequality, it seems rather odd.  In effect, it means you only get to use your corporate money to get your agenda on the airwaves if (like GE or Time Warner) you’re big enough to buy them wholesale. But that’s OK, because you can pump money into all those other means of trying to influence voters; it’s just broadcast advertising that’s out. So I’d like to flip the reductio question around and ask: Given that people seem to mostly agree that all this other stuff constitutes protected political speech, why do so many people have such a different attitude about paid ads? 

My hunch is that it has something to do with the imagined audience.

Greenwald responds to his critics on this issue.