The National Association of Broadcasters is asking the DC Circuit Court for relief from new FCC rules requiring the posting of political advertising information online. Media watchdog Free Press says the NAB is just stalling for time.
Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Corie Wright stated, “This is nothing more than an attempt by the NAB to stall an important and overdue transparency initiative. The FCC decision to put the political files online will bring broadcasters into the 21st century, and will make already public information more easily accessible to everyone. The FCC made the right decision and is on firm legal ground.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Here’s the kind of watchdog statement on this topic we would like to see:
“The FCC is right to use its authority to shine a spotlight on political expenditures, and Americans have a right to know who is behind the attempts to sway their opinions and their votes. But hitting television with a requirement to post pertinent information online is only a start, and only provides part of the picture. Citizens have a right to know who is spending how much on cable, satellite, newspaper, internet, social media, radio, outdoor, direct mail and any other platform used for political messaging. Only then will Americans have an accurate understanding of political spending.”
Of course, the next question will be the extent of the FCC’s authority, and the input that should be coming from other government agencies, including the FTC, which often deals with advertising issues, and FEC, which is the go-to agency for electoral issues. Congress and the judiciary also are part of the equation, all of which leads us to believe this is one tangled mess that is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.