Meet the Media Companies Lobbying Against Transparency

Meet the Media Companies Lobbying Against Transparency

by Justin Elliott ProPublica, April 20, 2012, 10:50 a.m.

News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.

But now many of the country’s biggest media companies, which own dozens of newspapers and TV news operations, are flexing their muscle in Washington in a fight against a government initiative to increase transparency of political spending.

The corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism 2014 NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and dozens of local TV news outlets 2014 are lobbying against a Federal Communications Commission measure that would require broadcasters to post political ad data on the Internet.

As we have recently detailed, political ad data is public by law but not easy to get because it is kept only in paper files at each station. The FCC has proposed fixing that by requiring broadcasters to post online the details of political ad purchases, including the identity of the buyer and the price. Continue reading