The FCC has recently proposed requiring broadcasters to post the names of those that buy political ads and the purchace prices of those ads on a website run by the agency. With campaign ad spending expected to top $3 BILLION this year, all of the major corporate-run networks (CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC) are pushing back on behalf of thier local affiliates.
Their rationale for resisting the transparency shows what the power of unlimited money funding Super PAC ads can buy. A March 18, 2012, Washington Post article shows how the critics of the proposal are framing their opposition:
- It would “impose significant new administrative burdens”.
- “The FCC lacks power to make the change.”
- The proposal is “likely to be a jobs destroyer” because stations will devote resources to complying.
- Gathering and distributing that information may result in price collusion “and would put the government’s thumb on the scale during advertising negotiations”.
- Placing the files online “would ultimately lead to a Soviet-style standardization of the way advertising should be sold as determined by the government”.
Our favorites are “jobs destroyer” and “Soviet-style standardization”. Both phrases sound like they come directly from a Super PAC ad transcript. In the end, (as usual) we expect the forces of unlimited corporate money to win over attempts to inform the public about the source of funding for these negative ads.