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A SMOKING RULING THAT ISN’T (ENTIRELY) ABOUT SMOKING

A federal judge is ordering cigarette companies to run a massive advertising campaign in which they admit that they lied to the public.

The ruling – issued by liberal Washington, D.C. judge Gladys Kessler – will force the companies to run a two-year nationwide campaign across multiple media (and multiple markets) in which they admit that “smoking kills” and that they “deliberately deceived the American public” as to its health risks.  This massive campaign – the precise breadth and cost of which has yet to be determined – is on top of the billions of dollars the government has already sucked out of this industry.

Obviously we think this ruling is ridiculous … but not for the reason you might suspect (everyone knows smoking is as deadly as it is sexy).

But this ruling isn’t just about smoking … or an overreaching government extorting more money out of an easy mark.  It’s about government buying off the press to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The longer we’ve been in the media business the more we’ve realized (the hard way) that our competitors in the mainstream press preserve their advantage over us in no small part thanks to government assistance (for a national example of this, click here … for a South Carolina example, click here).

Of course it’s not just direct payments and tax breaks that help keep the MSM’s competitive advantage intact, they are propped up by all sorts of other government-dependent mechanisms – like federal, state and municipal laws which require legal notices (like foreclosures) to be printed in newspapers.

And let’s not forget direct government advertising – like the $50,000 spent in Richland County, S.C. earlier this year to “educate” voters about the “benefits” of a $1.2 billion tax hike.  And that’s obviously just a small sliver of a much larger pie.  According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2010 the federal government spent roughly $1 billion in direct advertising – and the agency acknowledged that this total did not include all of the executive branch of government.

“It is unclear how much the executive branch, let alone the federal government as a whole, spends on communications each year,” the report found.

It’s amazing what happens when you follow the money, isn’t it?

And so while this ruling is certainly about smoking – and about government overstepping its bounds to demonize a convenient enemy – it’s also about government steering another massive pay day to the liberal press.  And of course the liberal press will reciprocate by continuing to promote the virtues of big government – while at the same time ignoring any candidate who dares to criticize the big spending bipartisanshit that enables such largesse to flow into their pockets in the first place.

Remember that the next time you ask yourself “why is the mainstream media so liberal?”

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