In the 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court solidified the media exemption dilemma in campaign finance law. When attempting to address concerns about corporate campaign expenditures (i.e., corporate political speech), legislatures are now stuck between a rock and a hard place. Regulate media corporations, and they violate press freedoms. Exempt media corporations from the regulations, however, and they are accused of speaker discrimination.
Thus the question of how to treat the press in campaign finance law can no longer be ignored. Can legislatures, without running afoul of the First Amendment, ever regulate the political speech of nonmedia speakers? The answer is, quite simply, “yes.” The unique textual, historic and functional role of the press establishes that the Constitution both allows and requires the press to be treated differently.
Sonja R. West,
The Media Exemption Puzzle of Campaign Finance Laws
, 164 U.Pa. L. Rev. Online 253
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/1116