NAB says it’s likely to prevail on political file case


NAB / National Association of BroadcastersThe FCC just announced that broadcast television political advertising info is expected online as of 8/2/12, but NAB wants a stay on grounds that its court case is likely to prove NAB has challenged the new FCC rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“This case satisfies the requirements for a stay,” wrote the NAB. “NAB is likely to succeed on the merits because the Commission engaged in arbitrary and capricious decision-making by disregarding the competitive harm that is likely to result from the Order, rejecting an alternate proposal that would largely avoid those harms, and departing from provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002.”

NAB continued, “NAB’s members will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay because the Order compels television stations to post the prices for specific advertisements to a public website immediately after the sales occur. This will place NAB’s members at a disadvantage to non-broadcast competitors, who are not required to post rate information on the Internet. The balance of hardships and the public interest also favor a stay because the likely harm from requiring immediate posting of detailed price information about specific advertising sales outweighs the benefits of such a requirement.”

NAB notes that while BCRA directs the FEC to maintain online political advertising information, there is nothing in it directing that political advertising information be posted online.

NAB was even able to cite FCC precedent: “In 2007, the Commission adopted a requirement that television broadcasters place their public files on their websites.The Commission’s rule expressly exempted the ‘political file’ portion of broadcasters’ public file from this requirement, finding that ‘the burden of placing this material on the Internet outweighs the benefits.’”

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s not often you see this type of petition. The NAB comes right out with argument #1: You should not do this because as sure as the sun rises in the east we are going to get a court to tell you not to do it.

RBR-TVBR has stated from the outset of this nonsense that regardless of your views on political advertising disclosure, it should either be required of all advertising venues or no advertising venues. This singling out of TV is utterly unfair and therefore nonsensical. The arbitrary and capricious label tagged to it by NAB is absolutely correct.