Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bishop yields to the First Amendment

In an about face, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop capitulated today and agreed to restore full access to Blogging for Michigan. (See previous post.) He released the following statement:
"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.

"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.

"Access to the site in question has been restored. Given the evolving nature of the Internet in politics and the emergence of blogging in political commentary, I am directing the Secretary of the Senate to perform a full review of the Senate's current policies concerning employees' use of the Internet."
Senate Democrats were right to make this a debate on censorship. Bishop didn't block access to blogs on all sides of the aisle. He only blocked access to one, Blogging for Michigan, a liberal site that holds his feet to the fire and keeps him accountable. It also bears noting that Democrats weren't the only ones crying foul, Nick De Leeuw who runs the blog Right Michigan also said blocking the liberal website was censorship.

Our constitutional rights are too sacred to be taken lightly, Sen. Bishop. Next time you have an issue with a partisan site, stop, step back, and ask yourself how you'd feel if the shoe was on the other foot and Democrats were blocking a conservative blog.


Johnny C said...

I have to admit being in Detroit I'm not to update on the various knuckle draggers that make up Michigan Republicans in the state senate. But Bishop has prove to be a fool because this opens a door to get senate Republicans or their staffers in trouble because Bishop can't say with a straight face that they don't look the right wingers that blog in Michigan.

This reminds me of the story from Ohio, when the Democrats won alot of state and federal offices the following month after the election the progressive stations there were taken off or just change formats all of the sudden. The cons know our message is starting to catch on to the majority of Americans so they're going to do their best to crush it one way or another.

CEW said...

I'm going to beat this drum once more: Bishop keeps referring to employees, does that mean support staff or senators? Bottom line does the majority leader have unilateral authority to restrict what fellow elected officials read at the office? This cannot be right.

Kathy said...

Johnny, I think you're right that the cons are worried their propaganda is being exposed. They don't control the message anymore.

CEW, my understanding is that all computers were blocked in senate offices for staff and senators alike, which is why Schauer had to send his letter to BFM from his home computer. I agree, that was not right. Bishop stepped on the toes of his fellow senators too. So much for wanting to working together for the good of Michigan.