Box Score: Cable One, Disclosure 0
As far as I can tell (which meant going to the company’s web site, The Washington Post still owns Cable One. And according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Cable One is the tenth-largest cable operator in the country.
According to a big graphic on Cable One’s Web home page, it offers a bundle of cable, Internet and phone service. If it is like every other cable operator out there, it has invested heavily in upgrades of its plant to meet the growing demand for those services.
That being the case, it seems to me that the newspaper should have made its Cable One ownership clear somewhere in its lead editorial Monday, which took the side of ISPs and criticized FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposal to add a fifth, nondiscrimination, principle to the FCC’s open access guidelines.
It’s not that the paper didn’t have a point, and one that squares with the editorial page position of our own magazine. But its cable holdings are as germane to this issues as, say, its broadcast holdings are to the issue of cross-ownership, which if I recall the paper has been good about mentioning when weighing in on that subject on the editorial page.
The irony was that Monday’s editorial did support more transparency, another new ISP principle being proposed by the FCC.
It may simply have been an omission rather than a decision that the info was not germane, which would be a tough call to justify in my humble opinion. With media companies diversifying all over the place, it may be tough sometimes to remember just what issues might raise the perception of conflicts. But this seems something that begged for disclosure.
I had not heard back from the Post’s editorial page editor or ombudsdman at press time for their take on my take on the paper’s decision/omission.