An effort to require television stations to make records about political ad buys available online was blocked Thursday by Republicans on a House Appropriations Committee panel.
The proposal, which had cleared the Federal Communications Commission in April, would require TV stations affiliated with the four top networks in the 50 largest markets to post political ad sales records online. Stations are already required to make the records available to the public upon request, but most stations keep them in paper files, making it difficult to compile and track the information.
Broadcasters, who are expected to reap as much as $3 billion from political ad sales this year, had lobbied heavily against the proposal, arguing that it would cost too much money and would force them to reveal information that would make them less competitive.
The House Appropriations Committee’s financial services subcommittee voted Thursday on a party-line vote to approve a funding bill that included a rider blocking the FCC from implementing its proposal.
Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, one of the organizations that has been pushing to have the files put online, said the argument was “contrary to existing laws that have been on the books for decades,” because the information is already available to the public. She said the argument that switching from paper would be a burden for stations “is ridiculous on its face.”
Meanwhile, some in the media have sought to make the files public on their own. ProPublica has asked people to visit their local TV stations and submit the paper files for publication here. And a group of journalism students from Kent State University, responding to a similar challenge from Bill Moyers, made a video illustrating how cumbersome the task can be.
David Frum notes that: "The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country's challenges."
Bill Moyers talks with conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, who wrote "the bible" for the Reagan Revolution, worked on domestic policy for the Reagan White House, and served as a top treasury official under the first President Bush.
I prefer the old Republicans to the current ideologues. One measure of the country's drift is reflected in this interview with Reagan's Budget Director David Stockton. He notes that: “What they’re saying today is foolish, it’s irresponsible. How can anyone believe with the kind of deficit that we have — a trillion dollars, year after year after year — that we can keep taxes as low as they are?” "The original tax cut at '81 was too big. So Reagan raised taxes in 1982 by the equivalent of $150 billion a year in today's economy. He signed that bill.... We didn't say at the White House we can't do this because it's going to impact some job creator. We said we have to do it because on balance it's going to hurt the economy to continue to borrow at these rates... And where the Republicans come off today sort of reinventing a kind of a revisionist history of the 1980's is beyond me."
David Cobb, founder of Move to Amend, (http://movetoamend.org) spoke (6/2/12) about corporate personhood and the threat to democracy. The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending on elections and focused more attention on the threat that corporate personhood poses to real democracy. Cobb, an attorney and organizer for the Move to Amend coalition, examines the history behind the recent decision and explains current organizing efforts to change the law.
"Thanks to the Citizens United ruling, strategists, pollsters and billionaires are discovering that they can have a much bigger impact on the election through outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money."
A great crowd showed up outside of the offices of Grover Norquist's lobbying organization in NW Washington, DC. There were compelling speeches given by members of the 99% and the patriotic 1%. This is a bit of a rough cut - more editing will come later.