I don’t what’s more offensive about this piece by Bill Moyers that appeared in today’s Huffington Post: that he uses scare-tactic rhetoric such as “plutocrats” and “media monolith” in an effort to get people to make a little trip down to their local TV stations and request copies of those stations’ ad buy invoices, or that he believes that the broadcasting industry should be fully regulated under government control due to its status as an economic common good.
Here’s what you can do: Under current law, local television stations still have to keep paper files of who’s paying for these political ads, and they have to make those files available to the public if requested. You can even make copies to take away with you. So just go down to your nearest station, politely ask for the records, and then send the data online to the New America Foundation’s Media Policy Initiative or to the organization of investigative journalists ProPublica. Both have mounted campaigns to get the information online.
The reason Moyers is requesting this action is because television broadcasters have balked at the suggestion that they make this information available. Because for all intents and purposes, despite Moyers chicken-little rhetoric, it already is. (See above excerpt. Moyers seems to be suggesting that local stations “still” have to keep paper files because they don’t have to keep anything else. Bill — they’ve been keeping paper files before there was anything else to keep…).
I guess it’s wise at this point to recognize that efforts to enforce more regulation mandating donor disclosure will be coming from several different agencies in a coordinated effort to do what, so far, Congress hasn’t deemed necessary.