FCC Asked to Investigate Williams Incident


Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein has urged the Enforcement Bureau to investigate the Armstrong Williams pay-for-play scandal, saying that payola is "alive and well" and on the rise.

Adelstein said Thursday the commission had received numerous formal and informal complaints about Williams, a conservative commentator and columnist who conceded that he was paid $240,000 by the Bush administration to promote its No Child Left Behind education policy.

Adelstein pointed out that FCC rules require anyone who is paid to broadcast information to disclose that fact to the licensee.

One of the groups filing those complaints is Free Press, which wants the Congress and the FCC to investigate. "This is not about liberals vs. conservatives. It is about the law and media industry ethics," Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, said Thursday.