Democrats were a bigger threat to First Amendment than Trump, Jeff Bewkes says


Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Tuesday he thought the threat to the First Amendment came more from the Democratic Party than from Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

He argued at Business Insider's Ignition conference that the Democrats had planned to "change the First Amendment and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform." Critics argue that campaign finance restrictions amount to an unconstitutional restraint of free speech.

Part of Hillary Clinton's platform was to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, which nullified federal laws that prevented corporations from using profits to buy political campaign ads. Clinton said she supported a constitutional amendment to "limit influence of money in elections."

"That was worrying me more because the press tends to miss that — because they tend to lean that way and therefore they were supporting what they were viewing, I think overly charitably, as something cleaning up money in politics — when in fact what it would do is restrain multiple voices," Bewkes said.

The CEO said he didn't think the president-elect and the Republicans will make a "serious effort" to pursue changing the First Amendment. On the campaign trail, Trump threatened to open up libel laws to intimidate the news media. Bewkes said, however, the public should remain wary of any party that attempts to infringe upon freedom of speech.

"We should all worry if anybody is going to change the First Amendment," Bewkes said.