Congressmen Ask GAO To Probe Broadcasters' Advocacy Spots
April 30, 2012 at 4:17 AM (PT)
Reps. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA) and MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL) have asked the GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE to look into broadcasters' use of advertising time to promote their position against the Performance Rights Act and other legislation.
BROADCASTING AND CABLE reports that a letter sent last week to the GAO listed several questions to be answered "on an expedited basis," including the number of spots aired in opposition to the Performance Rights Act in 2007-10, which spots were aired intending to influence other legislation, the value of the spots, disclosure details, what spots with opposing views were accepted and aired, and whether the fair market value of the sport aired was properly disclosed as lobbying expense for stations obligated to make such disclosure.
The NAB issued a statement in response saying that it "believes appropriate disclosures were made on these messages. When free and local broadcasting is threatened by bad public policy proposals, we have a First Amendment right and responsibility to educate our millions of listeners and viewers."
FCC Orders TV Stations To Put Political Files Online
The letter comes as some TV stations are being required by FRIDAY's FCC ruling to post their public files online, a move that will require the stations affiliated with the Big 4 networks -- CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX -- in the top 50 markets to comply by posting their political files online within 30 days of the rule's effective date, and all stations to post their complete public files within two years (with a review of the initial stage at the one-year mark). The requirement includes spot prices, which broadcasters have noted puts them at a disadvantage against all other media (which are under no obligation to publicly disclose their ad rates).