Broadcasters actually believed they were doing academics, reporters and other interested parties a favor with a proposal that would also provide them some protection in this sensitive matter. The proposal was to summarize the political spending they ran on their station on a weekly basis.
Rather than having to wade through page after page of information on individual spot buys, researchers would be able to find the amount spent and the entity spending it, allowing them to quickly calculate the pertinent facts concerning political air wars in each and every market in the US.
That proposal was rejected, leaving television broadcasters as the only medium that is saddled with this requirement.
NAB’s Dennis Wharton commented, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying.”
Wharton continued, “By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the Internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell’s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.”