Big Media Executives Take To FCC To Fight Political Advertising Disclosures

By Alex Weprin 

Have you ever wondered exactly how much the Mitt Romney or Barack Obama campaigns are paying for their television advertising?  If the companies that own most of those TV outlets get their wish, you won’t.

Executives from News Corporation, NBCUniversal, the Walt Disney Company and the National Association of Broadcasters met with officials at the FCC on Monday to express their displeasure at proposed public interest rules, according to FCC filings obtained by TVNewser.

The rules in question would force TV networks to share details online about political advertising, including the rates that political campaigns pay for ad time. The executives argued that by posting the rate information in their “public files” and posting those files online:

“[C]ompetitors in the market and commercial advertisers may anonymously glean highly sensitive pricing data, which, by law, will represent the lowest rates charged by the station to its most favored commercial advertisers,” adding that they were “[O]pen to discussing other options for keeping sensitive rate information out of the online public file.”

They also argued that other forms of media do not have to share rate information for political advertising buys, so forcing TV networks to do it would be inequitable.

What do you think, should TV networks be required to share how much campaigns spend on advertising? Let us know in the comments.

Read the FCC filing here:

Fcc Public Access