A Media Matters report showed that in the run-up to Jan. 18, when Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and other big sites joined millions of Internet users in one of the biggest online protests to date, only CNN mentioned SOPA and/or PIPA in its nightly news coverage. Now another Media Matters report shows how much these corporations spent on lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2011 — just as the SOPA/PIPA fight was heating up.
Josh Levy, SavetheInternet.com
A few weeks ago a sleeping giant woke up when the Internet — average users and Silicon Valley companies — united in protest against two bills before Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which would have severely limited online freedom of expression and privacy. But all is not yet well: Another threat to a free and open Internet is in the works.
Alexander Furnas, The Atlantic
In 2008, during a presidential election year, campaigns spent $1.5 billion on political advertising on television. Two years later, they spent $2 billion — and more than 80 percent of that amount went to local TV stations. Projections on how politicians and political groups will spend on TV advertising in 2012 vary, but it could go as high as $2.6 billion.
Peter Downs, Commercial Appeal
With a contested primary in only one party this year, fewer Americans are closely following news about the presidential campaign compared to four years ago. As a consequence, long-term declines in the number of people getting campaign news from such sources as local TV and network news have steepened, and even the number gathering campaign news online, which had nearly tripled between 2000 and 2008, has leveled off in 2012. The one constant over the course of the past four elections is the reach of cable news.
Pew Research Center
TV ad buys are typically the single largest expenditure of a presidential campaign. Using data provided by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, this graphic tracks weekly and total ad spending for the 2012 presidential race by candidate, PAC and interest groups. The data is based on ads that have hit the airwaves, not total buys announced by campaigns or other groups.
President Barack Obama is signaling to wealthy Democratic donors that he wants them to start contributing to an outside group supporting his re-election, reversing a long-held position as he confronts a deep financial disadvantage on a vital front in the campaign.
Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times
Conservative complaints about a liberal bias in the media do not hold up, at least not when it comes to the free-spending groups known as “Super PACs.” News companies and their executives donated more than $350,000 to conservative Super PACs in 2011, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Corbin Hiar, iWatch News
The FCC is commissioning a study of how the current communications marketplace meets the critical information needs of the American public. The FCC will conduct this study with an eye toward collecting evidence to support boosting media participation, including by lowering entry barriers to entrepreneurs and small businesses, including those run by minorities and women.
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable
The FCC announced that it will solicit ideas for new research on barriers to entry for small businesses and underrepresented groups to participate in the communications and media industries. This request is an important step in the media ownership review process.
For the second time in five years, the FCC is considering what seems eminently logical: Move these so-called “political files” online. The result could be a searchable database that vastly improves citizen analysis. However, TV broadcasters say their profits outweigh public empowerment. In effect, they contend demand can be served by reporters.
David Brauer, MinnPost.com
M.I.A’s bird-flipping at her Super Bowl performance could cost Comcast’s NBC a multi-million dollar fine. Or maybe it won’t. The Supreme Court is currently considering whether the FCC can fine broadcasters for failing to cut out dirty words or images during live broadcasts.
Joe Palazzolo, Wall Street Journal