In years to come historians might see 2003 as the year the US government manipulated the free market system to help out average consumers for political reasons, as opposed to manipulating the free market system with economic subsidies to help out large corporate interests (oil, timber, and auto industries for example). That is because in late 2003 the FTC started a national do not call list and President Bush signed the can SPAM law.
The truth is government regulation is not needed (and just adds more bureaucratic red tape), because for years it has been possible to opt out of telemarketing and junkmail lists and lessen the amount of SPAM, but few individuals have taken the initiative to do so. Few people also ponder or acknowledge that special interests like business, environmentalists and politicians all have their own agenda. Because freedom of expression is one of the great liberties individuals have in a democracy, each group distorts the truth to show their point of view in a favorable light since it is all about winning the hearts and minds of voters, consumers, etc.
In a democracy there is an overwhelming amount of information and it is only human nature that people tend to gravitate toward taylor made news and entertainment sources. Watching selective media sources becomes an ideological hall of mirrors, with right-wingers for example reading only about the latest abuses by unions and the ACLU, and left-wingers seeing nothing but stories about corporate greed. Too often people buy into the images and sound bites created in advertising (like the slick marketing champaigns for alcohol, tobacco and SUVs), or mistake entertainment for insightful news, dare I mention talk show host Rush Limbaugh or an even better example the Bill O'Reilly "no spin zone" (love the irony of the title) all because the message is slickly packaged. Walt Kelly pretty much summed it up, "We have met the enemy and it is us."