Time Warner CEO Says Democrats Worse for First Amendment Than Donald Trump

Jeff Bewkes said push to overturn Citizens United decision would “restrain multiple voices”

Time Warner’s CNN has been one of President-elect Donald Trump’s main media punching bags, but the company’s boss isn’t worried about any First Amendment threat posed by the man who has talked about wanting to “open up the libel laws.” He’s more concerned about what the Democrats might do.

“I thought the real threat to the First Amendment came from the Democrats’ side more,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York. “There’s not going to be a serious effort on the Republican side.”

Bewkes singled out Hillary Clinton’s campaign promise to push for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, a 2010 Supreme Court decision that essentially allowed corporations and interest groups to spend money unfettered in the name of political advocacy under the argument that money is speech.

Bewkes seemed to agree with that in his remarks at the conference, saying that Clinton and the Democrats “had a campaign plank to change the First Amendment, and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform.”

He also blamed the political leanings of the mainstream media for their failure to perceive the consequences of a Citizens United reversal.

“Therefore they were supporting what they were viewing, I think overly charitably, as something in cleaning up money in politics, when in fact what it would do is restrain multiple voices,” he said.