News of the movement for April 27, 2012
Media Policy at the FCC
TV stations have been making a lot more money from campaign ads since the Supreme Court helped lift the limits on contributions to political groups. The public, though, has been kept in the dark about how much these groups and so-called Super PACs are spending, because the stations don’t want to make it easy to find out how much they are being paid for those ads. The FCC will have an opportunity to make this murky process far more transparent.
New York Times
The FCC should embrace new rules to require broadcasters to post online data about political TV ads. Bring this political ad data into the bright light of day.
It’s not often the FCC has before it an item that is so easy to decide. The agency tangles regularly with complex technical issues regarding broadcast spectrum and telecom policy. But today it gets a pass. The FCC’s three acting commissioners face a simple question about broadcaster transparency: Should they vote to require television and radio stations to post data about their political ad sales in a publicly accessible online database?
Timothy Karr, Huffington Post
Will the nation’s airwaves receive a needed dose of sunshine this week? That is entirely up to the FCC. Transparency advocates are watching the FCC closely as it prepares to vote on whether to require broadcasting companies across the U.S. to post information about political ad buys in a public online database.
Evan Mackinder, OpenSecrets.org
With the FCC set to vote on whether to require broadcasters to post political ad data online, the industry has been scrambling to water down the proposed rule.
Justin Elliott, ProPublica
The FCC is scheduled to vote on a proposed rule that would require broadcasters to post online their “public file,” a list of all the political ads that run on their channels, who bought them and what they paid. The rule would also enable the agency to build a central website compiling all the data in an easy-to-search portal. Right now you have to literally visit each TV station in person to access the paper records.
Micah Sifry, TechPresident
Government regulators will take up a rule with wide political implications. The FCC is expected to vote on a proposal requiring TV stations to post online information about the campaign ads they air. Stations are already compelled to keep those records in public files. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says it’s time to make that information available on the Internet. But TV stations are resisting.
Brian Naylor, NPR
Save the Internet
Despite a growing storm of resistance to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, CISPA has cleared its first legislative hurdle. But the battle over the widely criticized information-sharing bill is just heating up. In an earlier-than-expected vote, the House of Representatives voted 248 to 168 in favor of the bill, which was originally designed to allow more sharing of cybersecurity threat information with government agencies.
Andy Greenberg, Forbes
The U.S. House of Representatives surprised the tech industry Thursday by voting on, and passing, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) after having originally scheduled a vote for Friday. The bill was amended several times prior to the final vote, most significantly to include a sunset clause.
Tom Krazit and Jeff Roberts, GigaOM
In an unexpected evening vote, the House of Representatives voted 248-168 to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), the controversial bill that would give the government and companies virtually unlimited power to track people online. The bill faced major bipartisan opposition. Prior to the vote, the Free Press Action Fund, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, Avaaz.org, Demand Progress and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, collected more than one million signatures petitioning House members to vote against CISPA.
Up until Thursday afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be held Friday. Then, abruptly, it was moved up — and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.
Mike Masnick, TechDirt
In a sneak attack, the vote on CISPA (America’s far-reaching, invasive Internet-surveillance bill) was pushed up by a day. The bill was hastily amended, making it much worse, then passed on a rushed vote.
Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
New cybersecurity legislation that passed by a vote of 248 to 168 in the House of Representatives permits Internet service providers (ISPs) to share information back and forth with government agencies to identify and defeat cyberattacks. But amid concerns the bill does not sufficiently protect individuals’ privacy, the legislation ran into a significant pushback at midweek that portends further wrenching adjustments before a final bill can emerge.
Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor
Future of the Internet
Comcast is a great American success story. It’s not an evil company; its motives just don’t necessarily align with the greater good. Reed Hasting’s full-throated attack on Comcast can be read as either self-serving or as a defense of consumers. However it’s read, it’s likely that very few people in power in Washington will step forward to join Netflix in this fight against arbitrary, unregulated power over an essential consumer utility — the high-speed wire to our homes and businesses. That’s a shame.
Susan Crawford, Wired
Verizon and AT&T reported their quarterly earnings in the last week, and they told nearly identical stories: Both are making a lot of money just from mobile data — the fees customers pay to reach the Internet over their networks. Some numbers shared by AT&T make it clear why.
Brian X. Chen, New York Times
Journalism and Beyond
Did you know that Viacom owns 160 cable channels that reach more than 600 million people worldwide? Or that the Hearst Corporation owns 31 television stations and 20 U.S. magazines? Or that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. owns (seemingly) everything? To learn more about which companies are currently dominating the U.S. media landscape, check out our updated media ownership chart.
Amy Kroin, SavetheNews.org
During the second day of Rupert Murdoch’s testimony in London during a British inquiry into media ethics, he took a question about new regulations on the press to expound at some length on the future of journalism. It was a rare glimpse into how Murdoch, the world’s biggest media mogul as head of the $60 billion News Corp., views the rapidly changing media landscape and the effect of technology on journalism
Jennifer Preston, New York Times
Rupert Murdoch expressed regret for his failure to halt what he called “a cover-up” at his News of the World tabloid over the phone-hacking scandal that continues to engulf his media empire.
Karla Adam, Washington Post
Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest technology companies reject suggestions they are now news organizations. But they nevertheless think they have the prescription for what news media must do next.
Robert Andrews, paidContent.org