Local TV Stations and their "public interest obligations"
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - 01:27 PM
A few weeks ago we spoke with former Federal Communications Commission adviser Steven Waldman about the FCC's proposed regulation that would require local television stations to disclose political ad buys online. Although the information is technically available to the public (interested citizens can physically view the file at the station), the move to online would make it far more accessible. But the National Association of Broadcasters didn't seem too enthusiastic about the proposed changes.
In a recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Waldman discusses how the local broadcasters reacted to the FCC proposal:
A comment filed by the stations owned by the major TV networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and Univision) suggested that researchers should not expect their task to be made easier by the Internet. “Research by its nature requires the expenditure of effort,” they wrote. And for reporters, “a certain amount of leg work is eminently practical.” (One almost expects them to next blurt out, “in my day, we didn’t have no new-fangled Intertubes; we had to go to the damn library and they should too!)
It’s almost as if these companies—did I mention that they’re news organizations?—believe their first obligation is to offer creative character-building obstacles to getting information, not to better inform the public.
You can read Waldman's full article here.