Watchdog mobilizing to keep TV political posting alive


Political AdvertisingFree Press was thrilled when the FCC moved to have television licensees post political advertising information online. It is less than thrilled as broadcasters try to prevent it.

The watchdog is enlisting its supporters to try to stop a measure inserted into an appropriations bill in the House that would prevent the FCC from enforcing the political posting requirement.
It’s asking people to sign a petition:

“Some of your colleagues, working at the behest of the broadcast industry, want to keep the public in the dark. The House Appropriations Subcommittee recently passed a draft budget that strips the FCC of its ability to enforce popular new rules that require broadcasters to post online their political advertising files so anyone can see them.

“Voters have the right to know who is trying to influence their Election Day choice. I urge you to support media transparency in the age of Super PACs and massive ad spending. Please put people before broadcast lobbyists and oppose this budget provision. Our democracy demands it.”
The online form includes blanks for the signee to provide personal information and make additional comments if desired.

Free Press notes that NAB spent $14M to lobby Congress in 2011 and is spending millions this year in the form of campaign contributions to members of Congress.

RBR-TVBR observation: NAB spending is not at all out of line with what any national trade association spends. If anything, $14M looks a little light to us, given the many high profile, high stakes issues that have come up on Capitol Hill involving broadcast during the past few years. As far as political donations go, NAB’s giving has always seem to be based more on committee assignments than party or ideology – and that is completely fitting, given how many time broadcast issues fail to conform to straight party line policy inclinations.