Panel seeks to analyze rather than block online TV political files


Political AdvertisingA House Appropriations subcommittee inserted language into a bill that would have denied FCC authority to enforce its online political TV advertising proposal. Instead, it will instruct the GAO to do a cost analysis.

The bill that the measure was attached to was unrelated to the public file issue – it was about budgeting for Financial Services. The blocking provision was inserted in subcommittee on a party line vote that included howls from Democrats that their counterparts across the aisle were trying to hide the identities of their fat cat donors.

According to The Hill, one key Republican said it is likely the FCC can set up its online files before Congress can get around to approving the bill, rendering useless any attempt to deny the FCC the money its needs to pursue the project.

The measure is being challenged in court by the NAB.

Watchdogs have widely criticized broadcasters for objecting to the online requirement, since the material in question is already available in the public files housed at their studio locations. All the bill would do, they argue, is make the material more easily accessible.

Broadcasters have countered that it makes it too easy for competitors to access the information and use it for general competitive purposes. They also wonder why broadcast television and only broadcast television is singled out for this rule.