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Intro: "Sometimes in a dumbfounded moment the only response to the news is to rub your eyes in disbelief. Both of mine are quite irritated today at the audacity of corporate broadcasters as reported in a story online at The Washington Post. The headline sums it up: 'Broadcasters Fight Plan to Post Names of Political Ad Buyers on Web.'"

Bill Moyers discusses broadcasters fight against a plan to post names of political ad buyers on the Web. (photo: blogcritics.org)
Bill Moyers discusses broadcasters fight against a plan to post names of political ad buyers on the Web. (photo: blogcritics.org)



The Enemies of Campaign Ad Transparency

By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

22 March 12

 

ometimes in a dumbfounded moment the only response to the news is to rub your eyes in disbelief. Both of mine are quite irritated today at the audacity of corporate broadcasters as reported in a story online at The Washington Post. The headline sums it up: "Broadcasters Fight Plan to Post Names of Political Ad Buyers on Web."

That’s right: The mega-media giants CBS and News Corp. (Rupert Murdoch’s minions), enriched beyond the imagination of Midas by money pouring into their local stations from political advertising in an election year, are stamping their feet like spoiled children and shouting: “No! We will not!”

They are defying the Federal Communication Commission’s request that they post on the Web the names of billionaires and front organizations — many of them super PACs — paying for those ads. That’s all: Give citizens access online to find out who’s buying our elections. Advocates of transparency in politics say that this is most efficient way voters can know “the true interests” behind all that money pouring into elections. Reasonable, no? Good for democracy, yes? And why shouldn’t CBS and NewsCorp oblige such a modest request, given the tremendous wealth they accumulated from their privileged use of airwaves that belong to all of us?

They should, but won’t, because they don’t have to as long as we let them get away with it. What to do? First, read the story. Second, sign up for email updates from the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Free Press and the Media Access Project, some of the public interest groups fighting for the FCC proposal. Then be in touch with Flackcheck.org to follow up on our conversation with Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center who is asking citizens to challenge the negative and deceptive political ads running on commercial stations where you live.

Let stations know that the poison they’re pouring into our political bloodstream has to stop, and so does their obstinate refusal to keep us from knowing who’s paying for it.

 

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+11 # PGreen 2012-03-22 08:53
It would probably be argued by those individuals and groups closely involved in analyzing their actions, that these major media companies are simply acting in their own self-interest (and what could be wrong with that?), but this kind of analysis misses the big picture. First off, the claim of "administrative burden" is so ridiculous it hardly bears a response. What is behind this opposition to transparency is an ethos or ideology that celebrates selfish financial (material) advancement at any cost-- be it changing laws, disregarding them, or even engaging in open warfare with another country-- designed primarily to maintain (and increase) power for the select few who enjoy it. In support of this ethos, all manner of lies and justifications are told, often in a convincing way, though this is hardly necessary given the indoctrination of the audience. Establishment media companies are at the front line in managing this indoctrination; every bit as much as reporting notable events, this is their function.
What makes this overview difficult to understand is that it need not indicate an active conspiracy (though they do happen). Wealthy proponents need not sit in back rooms hatching out plans. They collaborate to serve their common ethos like a group of spiders strengthening a web. When the web is damaged they work together to repair it; their only communication is the web itself.
 
 
+10 # amye 2012-03-22 10:30
No surprise from CBS better known as the Criminal Broadcasting Station, and of course Murdock is very obviously a criminal who should be in prison about now!!
 
 
+6 # AMLLLLL 2012-03-22 13:54
When I look back at the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, the word 'press' jumps out at me. The PRESS. The 4th Estate. Our protection against an overbearing government. A part of the checks-and-bala nce system that keeps the citizenry informed.

The FCC should be admonished for their general wimpiness.
 
 
+5 # AMLLLLL 2012-03-22 14:07
"If I had to choose between newspapers without government or government without newspapers, I would choose the former." Thomas Jefferson

"The most important office is that of the citizen." Justice Brandeis

Time to wake up, kids, and get to work.
 
 
+4 # PABLO DIABLO 2012-03-22 14:51
And, why was it we gave them the airways?
 
 
+3 # southpaugh 2012-03-22 20:30
It's pretty simple, really. Just like how on the internet, the intrinsic anonymity of avatars and nicknames induces come people to shed decency, logic and social skills, the cloak of secrecy emboldens buyers of broadcast time to claim whatever the hell they want without fear of retribution. Corporations rely on their customers for their profits, regardless of how dismissive they are of those same customers whenever they can get away with it. Nobody can boycott a franchise if nobody knows which multinational is involved in trashing and thrashing reality for selfish gain. Remove the shade of anonymity, shine the light of revelation on corporate miscreants, and suddenly, ad dollars dry up like so many morning glories. Information cover ups are self serving all the way around, and it's only we collectively who own the airwaves, not those who benefit most from their use at our expense, who suffer the consequences.
 

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