FCC Political Ad Database is Online Now – Sort of

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50 biggest media markets

Click the map to see whether your city or town is included or not.

As previously reported here, the FCC’s new rules requiring online disclosure of who’s paying for political ads on commercial TV – and how much they’re shelling out – go into effect today, August 2, in the top 50 media markets.

You can keep track by going to this new FCC webpage.  At the bottom, where it reads “Find a Station,” enter the call letters or channel number. But give them some time: we did a random check of several stations in different cities, and while some of the file folders are prepared — say, for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney — there’s nothing in them yet.

In the meantime, Liz Bartolomeo at the non-partisan watchdog Sunlight Foundation, tells us that “to ensure that we know what political ads are airing in every media market across the U.S.,” the foundation  has  started the Political Ad Sleuth project. She writes:

“Our goal is to create an easy-to-use, searchable and sortable online database on political TV ad buys — both those posted by the FCC and those that are not. We are seeking volunteers — journalists, citizen journalists and interested citizens — to help with this project.”

More information on how to help and access training is available at the Sunlight Foundation website.

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