Behind Closed Doors, Broadcasters Battle Online Disclosure of Political Ad Buys - ProPublica
In the internet age there really isn’t an excuse to not have immediate & automatic full public disclosure for political ad buys on a Federal website, with archives maintained by Library of Congress. That’s what I would like to see.
Right now we only know the broad thrust the proposed FCC rule: That broadcasters would have to electronically send the commission updates to its political file — in other words, information about what political ads are being purchased, by whom, and for how much money — instead of merely maintaining paper files at the stations, the current practice. The information would be made public on an FCC website.
The rule would apply initially to affiliates of the four major networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX — in the top 50 markets. All other stations would have another two years before they’d have to begin filing electronically.
But the FCC won’t release the exact text of the rule until after the panel votes to finalize it later this month. Meanwhile, the wording is subject to change based on input from interested parties.
That’s why the National Association of Broadcasters has been paying visits to key FCC officials this month. A group of influential Republican senators has also told the FCC they oppose the proposed rule.
On April 3 and 10, National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith met officials, including all three FCC commissioners, to make his case against required online disclosure of the public political ad information.