Aug 7, 2007

Bishop caves to pressure over censorship of the press but still does not get it

After four days of solid pressure from both the left and right side of the political spectrum and those that truly understand the intent and importance of the First Amendment, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, relented and stopped the illegal censoring of a liberal blog for daring to call him out on his foot-dragging and attempt to hold the state budget hostage for his political gain.

Late last Friday Bishop blocked access to the liberal blog “Blogging for Michigan” and only BFM from Senate computers. Bishop and his staffers blamed, depending on who asked and the time of day, that BFM was banned for saying mean things about Republicans or political staffers should not waste government time by reading political content.

Bishop’s office just released a statement that said:

"I stand by the position that Senate employees should be not be using taxpayer equipment to view political blogs pursuant to Senate Rule 1.401(c). These blogs are of questionable content and employees who are paid to conduct the business of the people of Michigan should not be interacting with them during business hours.”

He just does not get it. He further went on to blame Senate Democrats for correctly pointing out that he was doing exactly what the Founding Fathers were protecting against when they wrote the Bill of Rights: stopping the government from censoring political speech and writing and trying to hinder a free press.

"Senate Democrats seem intent on making this a debate on censorship and their right to view questionable political content during business hours. Senate Republicans believe this a discussion of the proper use of taxpayer resources and appropriate conduct during business hours and establishing strict guidelines on employee use of the Internet and websites.”

Again, he just does not get it. The debate is exactly about censorship. Perhaps someone should send Bishop a copy of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Also, thanks to rightwing bloggers like “RightMichigan” for supporting the Constitution and recognizing the debate was exactly about censorship.

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