Encouraging Campaign Ad Transparency

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The Issue: Media Reform

The Initiative: ProPublica, the New America Foundation and Free Press are asking people to help them make information about who’s paying for those negative campaign ads more accessible by uploading collected data to the Internet.

Bill Moyers urges viewers to go digging.

Background: Local television stations are required by law to keep paper files of who’s paying for political ads, and they have to make those files available to the public if requested. The FCC recently approved a new rule requiring TV stations to post their ad data online. But the rule has some limitations: it only applies to four networks — ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC — in the top 50 markets for the first 2 years. That means that millions of people in smaller markets, many in key swing states, will not benefit from the ruling in this election.

Some groups — such as the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, the Media Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation and Free Press — have brainstormed a way to help broadcasters with the “onerous task” of making their records truly accessible to the public. But they need help to make it work. They’re asking that people go down to their local TV stations, politely ask for the records and make photocopies, and then upload the data. All three organizations have mounted campaigns to get all the records online.

Essential Links

If you're interested in learning how you can make campaign ad data more accessible, visit the following pages.

Updated: May 1, 2012

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  • Geri

    What about radio stations?

  • Rick Louden

     Dear Organization Leaders,
        I believe that this is the most democratic prospect ever. Please tell me what you think and if you will pass it on.     This might be a good idea for every democratic country. It asks the simple questions: What do we need representatives for anymore? Don’t we have computers and the Internet? Have “they” done a good job? Please forward this to your members. It may just give the power back to the people. Please hurry as there are only four weeks left for signatures. I need 25,000 for the administration to have to deal with this petition. My personal goal is a million signatures. Please help. Here is a copy of the letter that I have been sending out:  Hello all,      This is a plea for everyone to sign my petition at the White House. It calls for the elimination of the house of representatives and to split the senate. What do we need representatives for anymore? Washington is not two months journey away now, it is two minutes. Why not take the money spent on representatives, their offices, their staffs, their travel expenses, electricity, communication, their residences, (and let’s not forget) their life time pay and benefit packages and spend it on computers and limited free access to the internet for all voting age citizens to vote their own minds. It could be monitored by three outside sources like Price Waterhouse super computers, the un or world court departments that already watchdog voting around the world, and a third outside super computer monitoring system. These could work to make sure our votes are our votes. This would truly be the first real government “for the people” and “by the people.” The senators (half for the people’s bills and half for their own bills ) are still, in my mind, needed to make us flexible as there may be times when an emergency vote must be made. We could always undo it later. The idea is that for every bill presented (no more than a few per week) one senator would make a video (no longer than one hour) for and another against it. The President could also make a video stating his views on the bill. After a citizen views all three videos, they can vote on it personally or add a comment or both. The senate and the president could still block or veto bills that their better judgment said was no good, but they better have a boat load of good reasons why. This would totally eliminate or greatly reduce: big money influence, pork barrel politics, lobbyists, special interests, and partisan politics. I believe that this is the wave of the future and will happen somewhere sometime. Why not here? Why not now? If you agree please go to the link below and sign the petition calling for this change in government. You will have to create an account at the white house web site, log in, log off then use the link below.   http://wh.gov/neHI believe that this is the only way we will ever reclaim our country. It would eliminate a lot of the things that are wrong with our country and create a true democracy. Thanks to computers and the internet we could truly have a democratic society that is “for the people” and “by the people.” So, please sign this petition and share it with everyone you know.                                                        Thank you for your time to read this and for signing my petition if you chose to do so.                                                                                                                                                Rick Louden 

  • WhoAreYou

    We still need full and real-time disclosure of Super-PAC contributors. Just knowing which Super-PAC funded which ad isn’t enough info.

  • Julogue1

    Thanks for the pages you list above, “FreePress” etc.   We all have a few minutes a day between tasks. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/carolec.daugherty Carole C Daugherty

    Thank God for the watch-dogs of our world! May their tribe increase until all can see just who supports who and how we are being influenced. There is so much info. out now that sorting it all out for the “truth” is a very difficult task for most of us. Money can and does buy away our freedoms.

  • David

    Ongoing Mexico Revolution – Ignored by the Media

    Mexico, July 11, 2012. The largest protest in human history. USA and UK governments pushed the press not to publish. Google censored videos on youtube and restricted keywords on this event.