... what they're paying for political ads. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75601.html
You do your taxes online. You get driving directions online. You’re likely reading this article online.
But if you want to see the “public file” every broadcaster is required to maintain, you have to drive down to the TV station and dig through filing cabinets.
It’s hard to believe such an antiquated system exists in 2012. But a Federal Communications Commission vote on Friday may finally push broadcasters into the 21st century. After a decade of dragging its feet, the FCC seems poised to force stations to put this public information online — where the public can actually find it.
This move is especially important now because the files are supposed to include information on who’s buying political ads and how much they’re paying. These political files provide information you can’t find anywhere else about the super PACs and front groups already clogging the airwaves with attack ads.
Political ads mean big bucks for broadcasters. Driven by the influx of super PAC spending, TV stations are expected to rake in far more than $3 billion this election cycle. The sources of this windfall should not be kept secret.
Stations are required by law to maintain public files on who buys political ads and what rates they pay. Files must also include the names of executives and directors of the groups buying the ads.
Moreover, unlike the Federal Election Commission, which collects information only about ads concerning federal elections, the FCC files cover all political advertising — including issue ads and local and state elections.
But while the public has the right to see this important information, broadcasters have kept it largely out of reach for people who don’t have the time to root around in TV station basements.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been right to push for greater transparency. But his proposals have faced significant opposition. “Some in the broadcast industry,” Genachowski said to the National Association of Broadcasters last week, “have elected to position themselves against technology, against transparency and against journalism.”
For the larger context of this editorial...
FCC weighs putting political ad data online; broadcasters balk
Even though such information is already technically public, broadcasters fear that putting that level of detail on the Internet will undermine their own businesses.http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-c ... 6221.story
Here's the irony of all of this. The law already mandates that stations keep this information and make it available to the public. But you have to go visit the station to see it!
All the FCC wants to do is to make that same info available on the interwebz. But, it seems the broadcasters don't want that - due to the windfall of money they make from selling political ad airtime, and them not really wanting you to know how much - or who they're getting it from (i.e. super PACs.)